Ken (K.C.) Gillis 1902 - 1996
Inducted 1999 Baseball - Athlete/Coach
K.C. Gillis was born in Indianola, Iowa and came to Canada in 1911 with his parents and settled on the farm on the south side of Gray in 1915. Ken participated in all the sports that were available in the community at that time. He lost all of his front teeth as a teenager playing hockey and was always active in curling – son Bill remembers the ‘prizes. He played baseball from 1920-46. For Ken, a walk was as good as a double. He would nonchalantly stroll off first base and the pitcher would think "he's not going anywhere", but somehow Ken ended up on second base - every time! There are no references to the number of stolen bases, but all agree that Ken's record was never threatened.
In 1946 he began coaching along with Wylie Lafoy and John Lafoy. World War II had just ended and there were a few returning veterans and a few new rookies. They managed to build this team into a well-respected opponent. One of the team highlights during this time was playing 30 games in the month of July in 1949. Ken continued to coach until 1961. As a coach he was very patient. Often taking a player aside and quietly suggesting moving forward in the batter box or some other coaching tip. Not concentrating on the error, but how to improve.
Ken helped to build the first closed-in rink in 1926. In 1974 he witnessed the building of the new arena that reused some of the materials from the old rink. Ken and Jo were the first “official” skaters when they participated in the opening ceremonies in 1977.
In 1969 Ken was recognized as the “Sportsman of the Year” for the Catholic Men’s Club in Milestone.
Ken was a faithful armchair manager and was there from opening day till the final playoff and could give you the replays the following day.