R. Bruce Gillie, MD

November 21, 1945 ~ October 21, 2023 (age 77) 77 Years Old


It is with immeasurable sadness that we announce the passing of R. Bruce Gillie, MD, Ph.D., FACP—physician and noted naturalist— on October 21, 2023. Dr. Gillie served the Westerly-Pawcatuck community as a family physician and endocrinologist for over 40 years until his retirement in 2015. In addition to his private practice, he served for many years as Medical Director of the Westerly Nursing, Watch Hill Manor, and Apple Rehab Clipper Home.

Dr. Gillie was born in New Haven, CT on November 21, 1945, to Marjorie Elizabeth Gillie (nee Kennedy) and Robert B. Gillie. His love for science and medicine started in elementary school, where he spent weekends and afternoons shadowing a local veterinarian, and his love for anatomy and physiology continued throughout his life. Following a successful high school career at the Trinity-Pawling School in Pawling, NY, Dr. Gillie was admitted to Brown University where he graduated with a degree in sociology in 1967. He later pursued a Ph.D. in anatomy from the University of Utah College of Medicine (1973) and an MD from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in 1974. He completed his internship and residency at Tufts New England Medical Center from 1974-1977.

In his time outside the office, Bruce was a renowned naturalist and he lectured widely on a variety of subjects including whale diving physiology, mammal-like reptiles, Darwin on evolution, and many more. His research took him around the world and his patients knew him as an intrepid explorer with the reputation of a modern day “Indiana Jones”. His research articles can be found among the most respected scholarly journals, including Scientific American and Nature Magazine. In his passing, Bruce left an impressive collection of unpublished monographs, research notes, lectures, and original photographs, many of which will be donated to his alma mater.

Perhaps most importantly, Bruce was a consummate family man. He enjoyed nothing more than spending time with his family on Damariscotta Lake in Maine. He leaves behind his wife of 41 years, Polly Dubuque Gillie, his son R. Bowen Gillie, his daughter Anne Gillie Pytka and her husband Zach, two grandsons, and his brother, R. Brian Gillie. Donations to The Blue Door Foundation in Gales Ferry would be gratefully accepted in his honor.

Calling hours will be held at the Congregational Church of North Stonington on Saturday, Nov. 11 from 11 to 2. A brief celebration of life will begin at 2pm.

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