Thomas Gillach, Aurora, MN passed away at age 89 on Sunday, September 19, 2021 with family by his side and prayer in his heart. Tom is survived by his loving wife, Laurie McCauley; daughters: Christine (Chad) Bartz, and Catherine (Rachel) Gillach Aure; son James (Deb) Gillach; stepdaughter, Heather (Mike) Moriarity; grandchildren Nathan, Natalie and Caroline Bartz, Alex, Tanner, Mary, and Josie Gillach, Marin and Mya Aure, and Aidan, Finn, and Taryn Moriarity; brother Joe Gillach; special family: Bobby Jo and Dean Mineheine; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Tom was preceded in death by parents Joseph and Rose (Cashman) Gillach; sisters: Rita Otte Paschal and Theresa Miklausich; and brother, Jim Gillach.
Born to parents Joseph and Rose (Cashman) Gillach, Tom graduated from Aurora H.S. in 1950; earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota, Duluth in 1955; and acquired a Master’s Degree in Education in 1958.
Tom was a teacher and coach through and through. He began his educational calling at St. Bernard’s Catholic School in St. Paul, MN, and later retired after a long tenure at Aurora-Hoyt Lakes/Mesabi East High School. He was the Athletic Director at both schools for a period of time and a head football, basketball, track, swimming, baseball, and softball coach at various stages in his career. Tom found it an honor to serve as Athletic Director. Football was his passion, and sports were viewed as a perfect venue for teaching young people hard work, dedication, and teamwork. He also coached with Pepper Lysaker at the Mesabi Community College for over twenty years and took great pride in his associations with coaches and players at both the high school and college levels.
Above it all, family and faith came first. Tom was a devout Catholic throughout a well-lived life filled with love, friendships, and service. He lived each day to its fullest, laughed often, loved greatly, and served as a mentor and role model to countless individuals. Proud of his upbringing, Tom served as a staunch community advocate for the City of Aurora and the Iron Range during his retirement years. He often reminded his children “we are here to serve,” and exemplified service throughout his lifetime. Tom will be missed dearly by his family, friends, and the community. Words cannot express the loss we feel, yet we know it’s his wish to simply celebrate his passing to the Lord. May each of us carry forth his great legacy through faith, action, joy, and service.
Charity was important to Tom, and he asked that in lieu of flowers the Mesabi East Foundation be considered first for persons inclined to donate (mesabieastfoundation.org or send to the Bank of Gilbert, Gillach Memorial in the memo). Other favorite organizations to consider include Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church, and the Northern Lights Music Festival.
Visitation will be held from 2-4 p.m. with a prayer service at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, September 26th at the Ziemer-Moeglein-Shatava Funeral Home in Aurora, MN. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 AM Monday, September 27th in Aurora, MN, at Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church, Father Kristoffer McKusky, Celebrant. Interment will be in the Forest Hill Cemetery in Aurora. A celebration of life will be held immediately following the burial at the Aurora American Legion.