JP "Bob" Gill Fund for the Poor and Needy
JP “Bob” Gill was born on August 31, 1906 to Edith (Carnes) and James Gill. Although born on a farm, Bob’s family moved to town when he was a child, so he knew little of the “farm life.” Bob’s nickname came from his sister, who stated that when he was little he looked like a “bob” in the water. The nickname stayed with him his entire life.
Bob attended New Albany Commercial College and received a two-year accounting certificate. He then enrolled at Hanover College and received a teaching certificate.
Bob’s first teaching assignment was at a one-room school in Old Pekin. Among other innovative ideas, he developed a football team and a school lunch program, allowing the eighth grade girls to cook soup for the other students. From there, Bob moved on to Mitchell High School, where he taught bookkeeping and then returned to New Albany Commercial College. He taught there part time, coached the basketball team and worked part time in a law office. He was admitted to the bar on June 6, 1928. He then moved to Chicago. There he worked for Marshall-Field and Company, which was one of the nation’s largest department stores. Bob married Helen McCosky on February 15, 1939.
Bob was also an inventor and enjoyed experimenting with innovative ideas. He was one of the first hog farmers to use electric heat lamps at farrowing time and then studied whether this was economically feasible. He also designed special feeders and feed mixes and was featured in several national farm magazines. He was an accountant, a lawyer, and a farmer. He could use surveying equipment, he could fix anything and he was an avid ham radio operator.
At the time of his death, Bob made provisions for his favorite charities. Because of this, the Washington County Community Foundation now holds the following funds: The Washington County Food Bank Fund, The JP “Bob” Gill Fund for the Poor and Needy, (to provide support to a local chapter or council of the St. Vincent DePaul Society, and to St. John’s Center, Inc.,) and the St. Patrick Church Cemetery Fund.