Batavia - Russell E. Gillett, 87, formerly of Byron and Perry died Friday, November 20, 2015 at the New York State Veteran's Home, in Batavia following a brief illness.
Mr. Gillett was born January 27, 1928 in LeRoy, the son of the late Clayton F. (Pete) and Maysel Beth (Boatfield) Gillett.
In 1952 he joined his father in operating Gillette Hardware Store in South Byron, purchased the business in 1958 and moved the store to Byron where it is presently located.
He was a graduate of South Byron High School and was the point guard on the South Byron Varsity Basketball team that was Section V, Class C Champions in 1945. He played basketball with both the South Byron and Byron town basketball teams until 1955.
Rusty, as most people knew him, was the youngest person to be elected Supervisor of the Town of Byron in 1955. Supervisors, at that time, were not only the chief fiscal officer of the town, but represented the town at the county level as a member of the Genesee County Board of Supervisors. Rusty served as chairman of that board for 2 terms and as supervisor for 12 years until the Board of Supervisors became the Genesee County Legislature. He then served 9 years as a Genesee County Legislator representing the towns of Byron, Bergen and Elba. During his tenure at legislature he served two terms as it Chairman.
A veteran of WWII, he served with the US Army from 1945 to 1947. Rusty belonged to many community and civic organizations. He was a Past President and life member of the South Byron Fire Department, member of the International Order of Odd Fellows, member of the Sackett, Merrill, White Post #575 American Legion, past master of Hesperus Masonic Lodge #837 in Bergen, 32nd degree Mason and member of Damascus Temple of the Perry Shrine Club.
In 1968, he and 36 other men from Byron formed the Kiwanis Club of Byron. He served as Chapter President and was Past Lieutenant Governor of the Genesee Division of New York District of Kiwanis International. He attended both the Congregational Church of Perry and the South Byron Methodist Church. He enjoyed bowling and golfing at the Silver Lake Country Club.
He is survived by his wife, Mary L. (Churchill) Gillett whom he married in 1993. Also surviving are one son, David R. (Sue Ann) Gillett; two sisters, Barbara (Robert) Bedson and Sandra (late Glenn) Elliott; Step-children, Mary Jo (Carl) Penna-Cook and Stephen (Michelle) Penna; grandchildren, Brent (Bree) Gillett, Peter (Becca) Gillett, Meghan (Josh) Bromley, Kari Psomas, Emma Psomas, Nicholas Penna, Daniella Penna and great-grandchildren, Mia & Madox Gillett.
Friends may call on Sunday from 2 pm to 4 pm at the H. E. Turner & Co. Funeral Home, 403 E. Main St., Batavia, where services will be held Monday at10:00 am. Burial with military honors will follow at the Byron Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Kiwanis Club of Byron.
Please leave a condolence, share a story or light a candle at www.bataviafuneralhomes.com.