Following an unexpected health event, Carl A. Gilson, age 78, of Kyle, TX, joined his Lord and Savior on April 7, 2021, as the last notes of “Amazing Grace” played from his daughter’s cell phone. This kind, generous, wise man who enjoyed people and was gifted with a great sense of humor – sometimes a bit quirky – had served his Lord in countless ways and lived a life of adventure, of enjoying children and working alone or with others to make life a bit better for someone else.
Born October 12, 1942, in Sioux Falls, SD, to William E. and Olive (Petersen) Gilson, Carl lived his early years in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, where his dad fished and ran charter boats. He and his two brothers lived a life exploring the Everglades, sailing the nearby lakes and were always active in scouting. When his dad became the yacht captain for a wealthy Texas landowner, the family moved to Port Lavaca and, following college and military service in the Marine Corps Reserves, Carl ended up in Houston. Agreeing to a blind date set up by his younger brother, Dick, Carl met transplanted Yankee schoolteacher, Peggy Pruett, with whom he would share a marriage of 53 years. Nine years later, to that marriage entered the blessing of a darling little girl, Shannon Leigh, who was always the apple of her daddy’s eye.
As a young man, Carl was employed by First City National Bank of Houston for 18 years where he rose to the position of Assistant Vice President of Operations in the Real Estate and Mortgage Banking Division. While at FCNB, he served two years at President of the Employees Club. From FCNB, Carl accepted a position as a Vice President at River Oaks Bank of Houston where it was his joy to serve. During the early years of the development of The Woodlands, TX, Carl served as the President of the Joint Powers for all The Woodlands Municipal Utility Districts. Accepting an offer with the Resolution Trust Corporation during the banking and savings and loan problems of the 1980s, Carl worked out of Dallas, commuting home to Houston on weekends. It was important to him to be with his family and be in church and Sunday school every week. His later years until retirement were with the law firm of Barrett Daffin Frappier Engels & Turner, L.L.P. He treated all around him with respect and a caring heart while at the same time expecting faithful and accurate accounting in all respects.
Having grown up around water, Carl loved to sail, canoe and kayak and enjoyed camping in some fairly rugged areas where he was making breakfast tacos over a campfire long before it became a morning restaurant menu staple. Life with him took you to great white-water on the Nantahala River in North Carolina, the Upper Rio Grande Gorge in New Mexico, northern Saskatchewan, Canada, the White River of northern Arkansas and more. Loving water pulled him into the Reeking Regatta races on Buffalo Bayou of Houston where he served as race director and helped transition that to the annual Buffalo Bayou Regatta with 500+ participants. When at home, Carl loved hunting for a good deal and great find as he poked through every garage sale and auction barn. That was often where he found the many treasures he loved to bestow upon friends and strangers and that led him to organize the huge garage sale in downtown Houston for Hands Helping Houston. Carl had a deep respect for the military, local and county police forces and all things related to love of country. In retirement, he was active in the Kyle Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association, Kyle Area Senior Zone where he was president for two years, the VFW and always active in his United Methodist Church. When it came down to it, nothing was more fun than spending time with his family, cooking at holidays, attending every sporting event, dance recital and spoiling his grandchildren while on an overnight visit.
Carl was preceded in death by parents, William E. Gilson and Olive Gilson; brothers, Richard A. Gilson and William E. Gilson Jr., and half-sister, Valerie Irving. He is survived by his wife Peggy Pruett Gilson; daughter Shannon Hightower, son-in-law Travis Hightower, grandchildren, Tanner and Caitlin Hightower; sisters-in-law, Terry Howard Gilson and Linda Diane Sopko Gilson, Patricia L. Provart (Robert); nephews: Richard Gilson (Karen), Jeffrey Gilson (Charity), William Gilson (Melanie), Lance Gilson (Erika), Michael Gilson, Mark Provart (Kelli), Bruce Irving (Betty), Douglas Irving (April), Glen Irving (Dodie Sanzone), and Kevin Irving (Brenda); nieces, Michelle Provart Menefee, Celeste Gosnell (Raja), Gina Shackleford, Karin Jankowski and Lisa Runkle (Karl) and many great nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life for Carl A. Gilson will be held at 1 p.m., Sunday, May 2, 2021 at Texas Old Town (1205 Roland Lane, Kyle, TX) at the Sage Hall and Lawn Venue. Fellowship and refreshments will follow the service.
In lieu of flowers, suggested donations are to First United Methodist Church of Houston for mission ministry, The Journey United Methodist Church of Kyle, TX, Kyle Police Department for the Blue Santa program, Kyle Area Senior Zone of Kyle, TX, Sunshine Kids or any preferred charity.