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July 30, 2014

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Originally published: 2013-07-09 09:42:01
Last modified: 2013-07-09 14:05:29

Robert Franklin Gilley

Robert Franklin Gilley, 78, of Blowing Rock, passed away at home on July 5, 2013, after a brief battle with cancer.

Known as a determined southern gentleman at 6'4", he achieved national recognition as a top producer in the insurance industry as a Certified Life Underwriter.

He is survived by wife, Sarah J. Gilley; and son, Sean Gilley of Winston-Salem; sister, Sheila and her husband, Gerry Brown, of Hickory; sister, Donna Maye of Hickory; sister, Vicki and her husband, Eddie Williams, of Hickory; brother, Graham and his wife, Ann Gilley, of Lenoir; and grandson, Joseph Schrader of Charlotte; along with stepson, Noah and his wife, Kellie Burgess, with granddaughters, Kayla and Sophie of Greensboro; in addition to numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Betty Jo Perkins Gilley; daughter, Erin Schrader of Charlotte; his mother, Alice Nichols Gilley; and father, Robert Gilley of Boone.

He earned a B.S. and Masters in Music at Appalachian State University. Bob entered the life insurance business in 1962 and was a member of the Million Dollar Round Table and a Chartered Life Underwriter since 1966. He was among top producers nationally. He was a former faculty member of the Purdue University Life Insurance Marketing Institute. He was also former president of Habitat for Humanity in Charlotte.

Philanthropic services included serving on the Advisory Board of the Hayes School of Music of Appalachian State University and lead donor of the Robert F. Gilley Recording Studio. He offered a generous land grant for founding of the ASU Gilley Field Station located near the New River. He also served as advisor on the National Committee for the New River.

Recently, he donated a Steinway Concert Grand Piano to Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, where he was a deacon and member of the congregation for more than 20 years.

Bob sang professionally, beginning as a cast member of Horn in the West outdoor drama in Boone during college days. He also hosted a local radio program in Boone for WATA. Later in life, he sang as an oratorio soloist with the Charlotte Symphony and was a featured vocalist at Myers Park Baptist Church.

During the past year, he began duplicate bridge and earned his Junior Master status. He will be greatly missed by friends and family.

Memorial services for Robert F. "Bob" Gilley will be conducted 11 a.m. Saturday , July 13, 2013, at First Baptist Church of Boone. Officiating will be Dr. Phillip Reynolds.

The family will receive friends following the memorial service.

Memorials may be made to ASU Hayes School of Music or The Gilley Recording Studio at ASU, 813 Rivers Street, Boone, NC 28607.

On-line condolences may be sent to the Gilley Family at

Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service is in charge of arrangements.

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