WHITE MOUNTAINS — As evidenced by the outpouring of comments by members in the White Mountain community and beyond, both Troy and Trent Gillespie impacted the lives of many. Their absence in this world is noted.
The last post by Troy Gillespie on Facebook was on Aug. 14 at 7:20 a.m.: “Hey guys FYI we have a few more spots open for the 2nd annual VGM Classic golf tournament. Annual scholarship fundraiser for local students ... Come on out and support the local kids. Pass it on and help us out Godspeed yall — Troy.”
The last thing on Trent Gillespie’s Facebook page was the cover photo he added of him lovingly kissing his wife.
Troy Gillespie was the CEO and owner of Western Grade and Western Materials in Show Low. Trent, his cousin, was a principal of the company.
These two men were related and worked and played together and spent their last moments together.
On Aug. 15, the annual Verl Gillespie Memorial Golf Classic was taking place at Silver Creek Golf Course at White Mountain Lake to raise money for scholarships for local youth. Troy and Trent Gillespie had been organizing and promoting this event to honor their grandfather, Verl Gillespie. In fact, this was the norm for these two cowboys. It was one event after another to help someone in need.
At 6:45 p.m. Troy and Trent Gillespie’s lives ended in a tragic head-on accident on a private road behind the golf course.
They had a big day and enjoyed every minute of it.
Good friend Shawn Palmer, who is vice mayor of Taylor, said, “Trent and Troy were good guys. Trent loved to team rope and be around friends. He loved his family and his wife, Kim. He loved them dearly. Those two guys loved to socialize. Trent and Troy and family were heavily involved in their grandfather’s memorial and other fundraisers for their grandfather, Verl Gillespie. They would raise $25,000 to $30,000 a year, just to help someone in the community. Those dollars alone were just from the team-roping event and auction they put on. It was food and fun for them, which just boils down to large amount of dollars to help someone.”
John Leech Jr., vice mayor of Show Low and good friend to Troy and Trent said, “Those two guys never knew a stranger. When they left the room everyone was their friend. Never seen Troy in a bad mood. They both lived life to the fullest. I know that is always said, but with those two it is a true statement.”
Ezra Borrego and Don McMasters of the Autism Foundation said Troy Gillespie was a great supporter of their efforts.
“From day one, Troy was a huge supporter. When we did the Rendezvous event for autism, Troy showed up at 5 a.m. with a truckload of straw, just out of the blue to help so we wouldn’t have to go buy it. He was crazier than a bed bug, really colorful, but he was also spiritual. He always said to me something I will never forget, ‘To him who has much, much is expected,’” McMasters said.
Borrego added, “We saw him last Friday and he gave us a $100 check and $700 worth of materials to auction off for the kids. He did this every year.
Over the years, he and I played racket ball together at the gym. He was always goofing off. He would get serious when we played, but never mad if he lost. He played for fun. He just enjoyed playing.”
Sharyn Hathcock, former owner of the WME Theatres in Show Low and Lakeside, knew both Gillespies well.
“Celebrating their amazing lives and yet so saddened by the Gillespie men’s tragic passing. When we opened our first movie theatre in 1989, Troy and Trent’s Aunt Clarisse was our concession manager,” Hathcock recalled.
“Now, rejoicing in Troy’s philanthropy which created a wonderful magic of its own. My son Ian shared how seeing Troy one day with a truck load of really nice bicycles, he asked after them. Troy was thrilled how they were on sale for just $70 each and some kid, somewhere would really love one. In fact, Ian’s co-worker had recently remarked of saving for her son to have such a bike. Immediately, Troy handed one over to Ian ... Yes, the lady (in tearful appreciation) and son were overjoyed!
“Troy’s Foundation hosted rodeos which paid off hundreds of thousands of dollars in hospital bills for folks ... And beyond the veil, it is certain when asked how he is, with his big smile and familiar reply, ‘Great, and better than I ever should be!’”
Hundreds of testimonies just like the foregoing were posted on Facebook and tweeted, and items of remembrance were placed in front of the sign at Western Grade & Materials. Even if you did not know Troy or Trent Gillespie, the rumble of their loss permeates the White Mountain community.
Troy Gillespie, 43, of Lakeside, is survived by his wife, Joy, and their two daughters, Autumn and Saige, his mother Bonnie Owens of Taylor, and his sisters Evvie (Dan) Turley of Thatcher and Kelly Gillespie (Robb) Hatch of Snowflake.
Trent Gillespie, 43, of Shumway, is survived by his wife Kim and children Damian Scott, Quentin Scott, Calvin Scott, Cody Gillespie and Abby Gillespie.
A complete list of family survivors will be available in their obituaries (Troy’s is in today’s edition of The Independent).
Owens-Livingston Mortuary is handling the funeral arrangements for both Troy and Trent Gillespie. There will be no viewing or visitation. The double funeral service will take place Friday, Aug. 28, promptly at 10 a.m. at the Pinetop-Lakeside Stake Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1520 Church Lane, in Lakeside. The concluding service and interment will immediately follow at the Lakeside Cemetery.
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