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
Surely we have experienced the love and care of our wondrous community and Jack and Judy over these many years. Gratitude, Grace and Peace,
~~ Ellen Howie with Dick in my heart
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.
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)
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)
The Ashes and Planting, Jack, Jeanne, Mindy, Dave, Jon
Benediction, David Scott
Song, For All the Saints
More on Jack
Jack Gilles was the spirit of authentic exploration and service to the mission. Always exploring how to articulate the edge of transforming in this moment. He was always ready to discuss the next leap especially when he thought I should leap first or he was already leaping and was looking for company. In India as part of the economic development team we helpfully fought most of the time. As part of the Organizational Transformation Network in Asia, we grew together forcing the discipline of knowing doing and being into everything we were developing connecting spirit, community development, leadership to organizational transformation. He will be missed and will be on my meditative council with so many others. With love and respect,
~~ Larry Philbrook
I mostly remember Jack and Judy from our Global Gathering in Lonavala in the 90s. Both of them were so kind to the three Croats I brought with me. They stood tall among the other Giants of the Movement.
~~. Susan Fertig-Dykes
A remarkable life. Care is everywhere.
~~ John Patterson
John and my memories are of working with Jack in Byculla, India, and beyond, profound and memorable indeed. We give thanks for Jack’s completed life.
~~ Robyn Hutchinson
Journey on Jack! What a life of deep care and service!
~~ Blasé Sands
Blase and I visited Jack and Litibu colleagues in August. I pulled out the courage to Lead book which had the Other World charts in them. We had one more go at doing an other world journey. Jack and I both felt this understanding was was one additional gift we had to fully give to the world. Journey On Jack.
~~ Jan Sanders
I only worked closely with Jack in Operations Centrum in Chicago when he was mostly gone teaching LENS. He was such a smart man and deep thinker. We were all blessed by his passion and engagement.
~~ Sunny Walker
Thanks be to God for the life of witness and service Jack gave. Remembered with affection for his depth and taking on any challenge. In gratitude,
~~ The Bishop family
Jack, I remember the magician you brought in to add spice to one of our gatherings in Lonavla, near Pune. And you were a magician yourself at 13 Sankli Street, Bombay, when we would trudge in from the villages after our treks there. You are now a part of so many memories around the globe. Grace and peace,
Journey on Brave Heart.you are walking with Judy once and forever now🧘🙏🧘 peacefully in the light.
According to Jack’s strongest wishes, he died peacefully at his home at the Litibu EcoVillage in Mexico.
I first encountered Jack in 1971. Once I met Jack I found the encounter unforgettable. Several times he was a guest at our religious house dinners, every time my impression was the same. First, here was a guy whose life was turned upside down by the Gospel. Second, there was no question that when you met Jack you met intensity. Even in those early days there was something wild about him. Thirdly, it was easy to grasp, that this was a guy gifted with an impactful big brain.
When in later years, Jack found himself in the Cleveland Religious House, next to Case Western University, Jack discovered that Kenneth Boulding, the author of The Image paper which fundamentally changed how we all understood education, was lecturing. Afterwards, Jack approached him, introduced himself, and said, “Whatever you have planned for the rest of the evening, I have a better offer for you.” Many of Jack’s Order colleagues have commented the Jack had brass balls. This is certainly an instance of that. Boulding agreed to come for refreshments with members of the House. According to Jack, Boulding was astonished by the concept of Imaginal Education; his response was, “But it only took me a couple of hours to put this on paper.”
Jack once shared with me that his greatest satisfaction was his work in India. It was more than undertaking of the Human Development Projects in one of the toughest places in the world. What Jack understood was that the very mindset and operations of how businesses worked had to fundamentally change. So Jack promoted, recruited, and presented the LENS course with every opportunity. Jack’s passion was in the belief that India could not move ahead without the transformation of business from its’ heavy-handed top-down operations to one which was more egalitarian and human. Jack was fully on board with Peter Drucker’s idea, “Work no longer can just make a living, it must make a life.”
Whenever, over the years, students approached Jack for career advice, he would share with them an unusual perspective. “The first thing to do,” he would say, “is to ask yourself if there is anything you would want to experience or undertake that if you missed the opportunity, you would regret it for the rest of your life.”
The one thing that was true for Jack was that you could take the man out of the religious order, but you could not take the religious out of the man. Whether the Order went out of being or not Jack always understood himself to be the religious.
In Jack’s later life his ambitions were twofold. One was to make a go of the Litibu Ecovillage which he helped found and second to share with the world our Institute colleagues’ knowledge, experience and works. Jack helped formulate the framework of the archives collections and shared his vision about its values and direction.
Jack was entranced by water, and yearned to be around it. In this case the Pacific Ocean. When he died he was exactly where he wanted to be.
~~ Ed Feldmanis
That’s a great tribute to Jack. Ed has grasped his true essence.
~~ Randy Williams
One of my enduring memories of Jack was his gracious hosting (in Litibu) of Joe and me, Ken and Clare Whitney and another clergy couple from New England who were traveling with us. The meal was bounteous and of gourmet quality. He was the head chef, as at that time Judy was serving as sous chef, carefully following his lead. Tables were set up in the great room of their beautiful home overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We were joined by Donna Marie and George West, and the conversation and reminiscing was rich. And yes, his gentle and loving care of Judy for the many years of her illness was iconic. Jack was able to share “our methods” effectively within the corporate world in India long before US business organizations awakened to the importance of “spirit” in leadership development. As folks in Mexico would say, “Jack Gilles, Presente !!“
~~ Marilyn Crocker
Rich memories of Jack have been rushing in all day. It was indeed the deeps of the world of spirit which ignited his passion and where he preferred to dwell. In recent years, he was synthesizing the profound connections across the New Religious Mode,the Other World,the Profound Humanness work and maybe more. I found that an impressive but daunting task; being Jack, he was on fire about it.
A favorite memory is of him convening and opening the Millennial Order Reunion in Denver to fulfill a promise made to Lyn Matthews Edwards. His commitment to his beloved Judy’s quality of life over her last years was something to behold. Many thanks to his devoted Litibu community of care who assured his ability to live out his final chapter in his “place just right.” Jack has now indeed “mounted up on wings as eagles.” I’m thinking we will continue to receive messages from him.
~~. Susan Erickson Craver
I love the idea that we will continue to receive messages from Jack. The image really grabs me. I think it applies to many of our loved ones who have journeyed on from ‘this world’ and yet have had such a powerful effect on our lives and our work through their passion and their intelligence — that I need to be more open to hearing & seeing such messages from them. I suppose it’s the same as our meditative council, but I’m going to start listening harder for these messages. Jack Gilles, such an incredible friend and colleague.
~~ Nancy Trask
Jack was assigned to the Indiahoma HDP when our family was reassigned to Jamaica. Much later, I enjoyed working on the ICA archives with Jack. I loved his passion, self confidence, and total commitment to world service. I was touched by the way he cared for his wife as she declined. In his final years, he continued working on a Wayside Inn in Litibu. I miss his physical presence and know that his words and deeds will continue to touch many lives.
~~ Robertson Work
Hey Jack, thanks for being such a profoundly caring pain in the butt. I remember a Cleveland Metro cadre meeting where you we assigned to set the context… you were standing looking out the window for about two minutes while the 20 colleagues waited in silence for the meeting to begin. Then you turned and delivered a stunning witness / context…wondering about the people in the westside neighborhood near the church, what suffering they were enduring from air pollution and discrimination in many forms. And the role we had to play in their lives in bringing the Word of Possibility through every encounter including the upcoming RS-1 seminars. You made the “Why” of our recruitment plans clear and compelling. We got our team assignments and hit the road with our pre-GPS paper maps 😊 and spirit fuel for the task at hand. Many more stories to share, but for now from that place of deep gratitude, Grace and Peace, my friend – Journey on!
~~ Sherwood Shankland
He chose the chance to do life in the deeps…. Bidding you farewell as you join the other Blue Shirts in the great collegium of eternity. Well done, Jack. 💙
~~ Joyce Sloan
My first encounter with Jack was on a small team in Summer 1970, working on the tactical system for renewing the local church. I was just out of university, planning to join the Order in the fall when I would start teaching school. Jack was a very rational team leader with firm opinions. One day we were assigned to the preschool. What an adventure. I saw an entirely new side of Jack and appreciated him in a different way after that day. Journey on is an appropriate send-out.
~~ Jo Nelson
Linda and I are so thankful for the opportunity to work with Jack and Judy in India and so many places across the world. He was a scientist coach, spiritual giant and great friend who was committed to leaving a better place than what he experienced
~~ A.M. Noel
Jack was a leader in the early Cleveland cadre of which we were a part. We have treasured his friendship and direction all these years. We are thankful for his life, wisdom and care.
~~ Fred and Marian Karpoff
You never forget your first RS1 teacher so I can never forget Jack. We both came out of the Cleveland Region. We have journeyed together, shoulder to shoulder for many years. Journey on.
~~ Joan Knutson
I, too, came out of the Cleveland region with Jack and spent many hours in other locations with him, including Chicago. Every hour spent was a delight.