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Judy Gilles

July 14, 1943  –  October 19, 2014

Service for Judy


Prelude:  Judy’s favorite music

Welcome: Jack Gilles

Invocation:  David Scott

Reading:  We come from a dark abyss, we end in a dark abyss, and we call the luminous interval life. As soon as we are born the return begins, at once the setting forth and the coming back; we die in every moment. Because of this many have cried out: The goal of life is death! Bus as soon as we are born we begin the struggle to create, to compose, to turn matter into life; we are born in every moment.  Because of this many have cried out: The goal of ephemeral life is immortality! In the temporary living organism these two streams collide: the ascent toward composite, toward life, toward immortality; the descent toward decomposition, toward matter, toward death. Life startles us af first; it seem s somewhat beyond the law, somewhat contrary to nature, somewhat like a transitory counteraction in the dark eternal fountains; but deeper down we feel that Life is itself without beginning, an indestructible force of the Universe. Otherwise, from where did that superhuman strength come which hurls us from the unborn to the born and give us – plants, animals, people – courage for the struggle? But both opposing forces are holy. It is our duty, therefore, to grasp that vision which can embrace and harmonize these two enormous, timeless, and indestructible forces, and with this lions to modulate our thinking and our action.  ~ Nikos Kazantzakis in Saviors of God.

Act One

Song,  All Creatures of our God and King

Remembering Judy:  Jeanne Evenoff, Susan Craver, Diane Zetina

Beauty of the Dancer:  Jack Gilles

Poem:  A Prayer for the Journey – Helen Heal and Salvatore Caruso (back of song sheet)

Act Two

Song, At the Center, Tranquil

Scripture and Contemporary Reading, David Scott

Life Celebration Homily, David Scott

Amazing Grace, Jesse Lopez on harmonica (community processes to Peace Garden)

Act Three

The Ashes and Planting, Jack, Jeanne, Mindy, Dave, Jon

Benediction, David Scott

Song, For All the Saints


Judith Darlene Gilles Biography


Judy was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the first of five children: Jeanne, Shawn, Russell and Malinda (Mindy).  She was raised in Calumet, Minnesota, on the iron range, where her father worked in the local mine.  She was an avid student of dance, winning several local contests and graduated from Macalester College n 1965 where she studied both dance and theology.  Deciding to forgo a dance career, she attended graduate school at San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo.


Judy joined the Order Ecumenical in the early ‘70s and became a staff member of the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA).  During her forty plus years of service she worked in Human Development Projects in villages of the world, including Egypt, Brazil, Chile and rural California.  She married Jack Gilles in 1982.  Together they served the ICA in Chicago, Mexico, Detroit and twenty-two years in India, where they worked on enabling private sector companies in developing leadership and corporate cultures.


Judy never abandoned her love of the dance and body work and became a certified yoga instructor through the Bihar School of Yoga.  During that time Jack and Judy helped to establish the Litibu EcoVillage in Playa Litibu. Judy and Jack moved full time to Litibu in 2007, where she resided with Jack until her death.  




The January 6, 2015 Liltibu event celebrating Judy’s life was profoundly meaningful to all. –  from the service led by David Scott, with witnesses to Judy by four people, including her sister and myself, the procession to the Peace Garden to plant the flower with some of her ashes. Later in the afternoon our community processed to the sea to share her ashes with the Mystery. This was followed by a celebrative dinner with music, singing, stories, laughter and incredible joy. A great gift was the surprise presence of Louie Pierce and Joyce Bonafield. My cup runneth over! And perhaps the greatest gift to me was the presence of my son Jon. Words have no power to communicate what that meant to me.

          ~~  Jack Gilles