In memory of Samuel M. Gilman and for his lifetime of service in the Quad Cities. Sam Gilman was known by many as an amazing man, adoring father/husband and friend. The latter was true even for those who did not know the 96-year-old Rock Island attorney but reaped the benefits of his deep investment in community, philanthropic, charitable and commercial activities.
“Sam was a model of servant leadership for me,” Mr. Swanson said. “He didn’t need to be in spotlight, but his guidance, vision and wisdom were essential to more community initiatives than I can count.”
Contributions so often given quietly are hard to catalog. But here are a few that we do know about:
— Founding member and director emeritus of Doris & Victor Day Foundation, which has contributed $19 million to the Q-Cs.
— The Rauch Family Foundation Board, where fellow board member Mark Schwiebert said, “His love of this community and deep abiding concern for helping those in need were evident in all our conversations. The lives he touched through his legal and charitable work will provide an ongoing testimonial to his life of service to Rock Island and our Quad-Cities region. I wish we had more like him.”
— Co-founder of WQAD and WQPT.
— Co-founder and board member of the Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities. To executive director Allan Ross, Mr. Gilman was both a friend and a mentor “who had an incredible dedication to Jewish communities locally, in Israel and around the world.” For example, even traveling with Rep. Lane Evans to the then-Soviet Union to loosen restrictions on Jewish “Refuseniks” who were forbidden to emigrate from the Soviet Union, especially to Israel.
At home, he helped to found the Quad Cities Holocaust Remembrance Committee. Mr. Swanson said his own service on that committee “was made more meaningful for me both by the insightful questions Sam would ask, and by the confidence he exuded in the simple belief that if you work hard today, you can make tomorrow better for all of us.”
His life of service offers an excellent road map for how to get there. Our condolences to his loved ones and to a community enriched by his life but made poorer by his loss.