BLACK RIVER, NY — Michael Charles “Mike” Gillette died unexpectedly May 18, 2022, at his home.
He was born in Watertown on Jan. 21, 1960, to the late Harry Gillette, Jr. and Jeanne Burnham Gillette. Mike graduated in 1978 from Copenhagen Central School as Class Salutatorian and received an Associates degree from Jefferson Community College.
He was an insurance agent since 1981, licensed for Life, Health, Property and Casualty insurance. Since 1994, Mike was employed by Fuller Insurance Agency, Inc. in Carthage. One of the primary areas of his practice was municipal insurance and he was particularly fond of serving many north country towns, villages and fire departments.
Mike was also a licensed insurance Continuing Education provider, instructor and monitor for the New York Department of Financial Services since the mid-1990s.
Beginning in 2008, he wrote and taught his own courses, and since then, had written eight State-approved courses, including textbooks. All of the profits from his classes were donated to various charities.
Throughout his life, Mike was involved in many organizations. Mike was an active member of First Presbyterian Church, Watertown. He served as a Deacon from 1999-2005; an Elder from 2007-2012 and 2017-2019; He also served as Lay Reader and counter as well as past service on the Pastoral Nominating Committee, Stewardship Committee, Finance Committee and Worship and Music Committee.
Mike also was a member of the Rodman Lodge F&AM where he served for a time as a Past Master. After their merger with Bellville-Henderson Lodge, he transferred his membership to Bethany Lodge F&AM in Black River. He was especially proud to follow in his father’s footsteps as a Mason and Master of a Lodge.
Also like his father, Mike was involved in local politics. He was elected to the Rutland Town Council in 2007 and served two terms from 2008 to 2015.
Mike was steadfastly fiscally conservative in both his public and private life.
Mike was a member of Carthage Elks Lodge #1762 BPOE and a past member of the Black River Valley Club, Watertown, where he served on the Board of Governors and Secretary. He was a member of the Black River Valley Chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America, holding various offices and helped organized many car shows and fundraisers. Mike also helped organize fundraisers for the American Cancer Society and the local Crop Walk.
Probably one of his fondest works was as a musician- having played guitar since his youth. At the time of his death, he was playing in a duo with Michelle Gaeta. They performed at several local venues where they were always welcomed back.
Although most of his adult life was spent alone, he spent the majority of his time on Earth doing things he loved. He loved music and playing guitar; loved his home and did several building and remodeling projects; and loved donating the profits from his teaching to charities. More than anything else, Mike loved kitty cats and spending time with them. He is survived by three cats, Stanley, Dot and his newest friend, Scaredy-Cat.
In addition to his parents, Mike was predeceased by his brother, Steve.
Mike is survived by his sister, Susan Young of Falmouth, Massachusetts and his brother, Scott of Watertown. He also leaves two nieces Sara O’Toole of Boston and Rebecca Brushell of North Syracuse, and a nephew Andrew Gillette of Cicero; and several grand nieces and nephews.
Calling hours will be held 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, June 2, 2022, at the Lundy Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Inc., 500 State St., Carthage, with The Elks conducting a memorial service at 6:15 pm followed by a Masonic service. His Funeral will be held 12:30 p.m. Friday, June, 3, at the First Presbyterian Church of Watertown with burial to follow at Maple Hill Cemetery, Rutland Center.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Mike’s memory to Lewis County Humane Society, the NNY Community Foundation or a charity of one’s choice.
Online condolences may be made at www.lundyfuneralhome.com