Adrian F. Gillen, age 92, of Faribault, MN, passed away peacefully on Saturday, December 11, 2021, at Mill City Senior Living.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, December 18th, 2021, at 10:30 a.m. at Divine Mercy Catholic Church in Faribault, MN, with Fr. Louis Floeder officiating. Burial will follow in St. Lawrence Cemetery, with military honors provided by the Rice County Central Veterans Association. A celebration of life visitation will be held at Parker Kohl Funeral Home in Faribault on Friday, December 17th, 2021, from 4 to 8 p.m. and one hour prior to the service at Divine Mercy on Saturday. For those unable to attend, the service will be livestreamed through a link found on Adrian’s obituary page.
Adrian Fabian Gillen, son of Sebastian & Cecilia (Wagner) Gillen, was born on March 26th, 1929, on the family farm just north of Faribault in Cannon City Township. He graduated from St. Lawrence School & began his 9th grade year at Bethlehem Academy, leaving school that year when his brother was drafted to help his father with the family farm. His lifelong work in the cemetery began when he and another brother would help the maintenance man from St. Lawrence with burials. He remembers the first burial he did on his own when he was just 19. In 1954, at the age of 25, he was drafted into the Army and served in Germany in the 79th Engineer Battalion. Following 2 years of service and an honorable discharge, he returned home to resume his work on the farm and in the cemeteries. On August 29th, 1956, he married his forever sweetheart whom he met in Faribault while home on leave, Jeanne Goar at St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Faribault. Following their marriage, the couple lived and farmed in rural Faribault where they raised their six children.
He was a devout Catholic and lived his life in humble service. His years of farming ended in the late 80’s but his work assisting in the cemeteries continued until his retirement in 2018. He was the Cemetery Superintendent at Calvary Cemetery & assisted in that role off and on through the years at St. Lawrence Cemetery as well. Throughout the years he assisted with burials at 40 cemeteries throughout Rice, Steele & Goodhue counties. Always in the background, serving to help families through their most difficult days. He was a member of and served as the Treasurer & later Secretary for the St. Lawrence and St. Anne’s society for a combined 60+ years of service. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus, Faribault Aerie 1460 Fraternal Order of Eagles, the Faribault Moose Lodge 1476, the American Legion Post 43 and The Last Man’s Club. He served on the Rice County Fair Board and raised money for every cause possible. He will always be remembered as the best raffle ticket salesman in Rice County. He proudly donated over 25 gallons of blood through the American Red Cross. He loved to spend time with his family and friends playing softball, bowling, and playing cards or watching and discussing any of the MN sports teams latest accomplishments or failures, whichever was the case at the time.
Adrian is survived by his 6 children – Sebastian (Becky) Gillen, Christopher Gillen, Lisa Barta, all of Faribault; Karla Lutzi of Rochester; Brenda (Terry) Probst of Medford; Sandy (Brian) Drache of Pickwick, MN; 12 grandchildren & 10 great grandchildren; one sister, Joanne (James) Cortese of Ellensburg, WA, along with countless extended family members. Adrian was preceded in death by his wife Jeanne, parents Sebastian & Cecilia, siblings & in-laws, John & Florence Gillen, Greg & Varian Gillen, Ambrose & Ruth Gillen, Edward & Barb Gillen (Josephine Matthies Gillen), Joseph & Lorraine Gillen, Ann & Alex Thissen, Rita & William Franke, Luella & Bernard Heim, son-in-laws Steve Barta & John Lutzi, in-laws Ruby Edwin & Patti Goar, brothers & sister-in-laws Jasper & Phyllis Goar, Steve & Fern Goar, James Henry & Nelda Goar, Margaret & Don Weinberger, Ruby & Kenneth Swanson, Tess & Arnold Wilkowske and Evelyn & Harold Johnson.
The family would like to extend a sincere thank you to all the staff at Mill City Senior Living and St. Croix Hospice for their endless support and assistance over these last months.
Memorial gifts may be directed to Divine Mercy Catholic Schools, Disabled American Veterans and St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital.