April 17, 2023

A Tribute to John L. Gillis

Washington, D.C.
John Lawrence Gillis (1951-2023) posed the question that began the journey to create the Breadcoin food token. He passed away last night after a long battle with severe dementia. If you knew John, you knew four things about him:
(1) He loved God. He would often remind me that there were two great commandments, the first being to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your strength. He encouraged me and others to do so with moments of hourly sabbath and to anticipate God “Making All Things New”.
(2) He loved the Beatles. He knew every Beatles song within the first 3 beats. The songs always brought a smile to his face.
(3) He loved to write. John was an amazing writer and poet. He wanted to make an impact in the world through his written stories and poetry. Cary Campbell Umhau commissioned him to write something in advance of the first Flash Table event. He did just that with an incredibly beautiful piece called A Table in the Wilderness. I’d encourage you to read it today.
(4) He loved to ask the right questions. From the first time that I was introduced to John, he framed his intellectual pursuits toward asking the right questions. During a breakfast meeting in 2011, John asked me “How do you meet the world’s needs when the needs are the greatest?” That question began a lifelong journey for me. My answer to his question in the moment was to create a counter-cyclical asset. A response that eventually became the Breadcoin food token.
I was glad to know John and his brother Don Gillis. I’m glad Don could be here this weekend to visit. I’m also incredibly grateful to Rachel Gillis, John’s niece, an incredible nurse who provided such loving treatment to John in these last few weeks. To all the folks at St. Brendan’s in the City, I’m incredibly grateful to you as we journeyed with John together.
John had an incredible impact on Sarah and me, and he will be profoundly missed. Love you JLG! May your smile be wide as the picture above as you hear the great chorale music of heaven that you craved so much to listen to while you were here on earth.