Nicholas Gilman, Capt USAF, “Headed West” on January 30, 2023.

Nicholas Gilman, Capt USAF, “Headed West” on January 30, 2023.

Nicholas Gilman, 84, passed away on January 30, 2023, surrounded by close family. Nick was a decorated U.S. Air Force pilot, an accomplished lawyer, and a beloved husband, father, and friend. He and his loving and devoted wife Deborah were married for 47 years.

Nick was born on June 8, 1938, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the eleventh generation of his family to be born in that city. He was brought up in Eugene, Oregon, going to Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire for high school. After graduating from college and before entering the U.S. Air Force, Nick studied classical and flamenco guitar in Madrid, Spain.

Nick served honorably in the USAF as a pilot achieving the rank of Captain. He graduated from Air Force pilot training (Squadron 2H) and performed Weather Surveillance flight duty by flying into the eye of typhoons in the Pacific. He flew in the New Jersey and District of Columbia Air National Guards and with the US Air Force Tactical Fighter Squadron in Vietnam flying the F-100 Super Sabre. His name is on the F-100 Super Sabre Society plaque on the Wall of Honor at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport. He was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses, six Air Medals, and a Purple Heart and earned the Army Parachutist Jump Wing Badge.

Nick’s academic achievements include a BA in international relations from Stanford University, an MA in geography from Columbia University and a JD with Honors from George Washington University. In addition, he attended classes at the Sorbonne in Paris, and the University of Madrid.

Nick had a long and accomplished legal career. In the 1970s he served in the Assistant U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia and was then a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Aviation Tort Section. For the rest of his career, he was in private law practice. He authored several papers on aviation law and safety and was selected to be on the Plaintiff’s Committee for investigating and presenting evidence for the families of passengers on Pan Am 103, the Lockerbie bombing flight.

On his maternal history line, Nick had a New Jersey ancestor who was an officer in the Revolutionary War under George Washington and was a proud and long-standing member of The Society of the Cincinnati and past president of the New Jersey Society. On his paternal side, the Gilman family arrived in the colonies in 1647 living in what is now Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Nick is survived by his wife, Deborah, a daughter, Margaret Gilman married to Christopher Titus, and three grandchildren, Woody Gage (Hannah), Emerson and Bennett Titus. He is also survived by great-grandchildren Felix and Viola Gage. His elder daughter Victoria passed away in September 2022. Nick’s family also includes his sisters, Valerie Gage and Charmian Abel, nephews Lindsey and Chetwood Gage, sister-in-law Susan F. Cobin as well as half- brothers Roger, Edward, and John Gilman. Nick has many other family members and a lifetime of dear friends who will miss him.

Nick loved flying (as a general aviation pilot, he flew a single and a twin engine Piper Comanche and a sea plane), watching football, sitting on a porch with family in New Hampshire, and picking blueberries with his grandkids. He loved traveling with his family and friends to Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas. He had a sharp sense of humor and an active intellect. He passed away after a full and adventurous life.

There will be a gathering when Nick is interred at Arlington National Cemetery. Family and friends will be informed about that date as well as about a Celebration of Life in the next few months.

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