Roy Gill

After graduating from SHS, I went to work for Winn-Dixie full-time in Sarasota. I became one of their youngest Produce, then Asst. Managers, all before 1966. During that period, Ardel Price and I were married in July, 1963. We built a house down on Beneva Road which, back then, ended at Proctor Road. As you may remember, the Vietnam War was ramping up, so who do you think was one of the first married men in Sarasota to be called for a physical? Yep! In order to hopefully avoid the A-hole of the world (Vietnam-in case you weren’t there), I joined the Army in January, 1966, hoping to get a good, safe MOS, teletype repairman, and avoid you-know-where. Guess what-September, 1966, I was there! After 360 days of “foreign travel, sightseeing and horizon-broadening duty,” I returned, in one piece to the US. During my one year absence, Ardel and I had a son, Tracy (now an electrical engineer with NASA), in March, 1967, so I missed all that early childhood fun. I was then stationed, for the last 18 months of active duty at Fort Bragg, NC. While there I was made a Supply Sergeant and helped other companies in our Battalion get ready for their trip over the “pond.” I also helped get the 82nd Airborne ready to deploy to Vietnam. That was lots and lots of fun. NOT! The whole time at Fort Bragg, I was really concerned about having to go back to the AH of the world, but finally got the heck out of the Army in January, 1969.

I went back to work at W/D, but after about a year, decided I did not want to be buried in a grocery cart when I died. I used the GI Bill and got a BSBA-Accounting at the University of Florida, where my brother, Ray, was in law school. In 1972, I began my career with a CPA firm in Punta Gorda. Our daughter, Jennifer (an attorney currently in Tampa), was born in April, 1974. (What other month would you expect from a CPA?) In 2005, after more than 30 years of worrying about other people’s stuff, correcting their missteps and generally trying to educate them to “ask before you do something financially”, I told my partners I wanted to retired. Enough was enough! I used the 2006 tax season as a transition, retired in July, 2006, then worked the 2007 tax season. That was it! I have consulted with them occasionally, but I have tried my best to stay away from the stress and worry that goes with being a CPA. Maybe that is why what little bit of hair I have left is all gray or white, depending your perception.

Since retirement (I don’t know when I ever had time to work!), Ardel and I spend our time burning up the highways, between Bradenton, Ocala, Gainesville, Tampa and Orlando. While in school in Gainesville, we built a cabin on a lake at the edge of the forest in Ocala. That’s where we have taken vacations for over 40 years and where we stay on UF football weekends.

Speaking of Gainesville and the University of Florida, our immediate family has a few degrees from UF; Ardel and I both have degrees from there; Tracy has 2 degrees (BSEE and a Masters in Aerospace Engineering to go with a Masters in Space Sciences from FIT); Jennifer also has 2 degrees (BSBA and Masters in Tax from the Levin Law School-to go with a BA in Law studies from UCF and JD from Stetson Law School). Tracy’s wife, Michele, has a Masters and PHD in Educational Psychology from UF and is a tenured professor at UCF.

On the subject of native Sarasotans, I am the only “yankee” in our family; Ardel and both our children were born in Sarasota Memorial. I was born in Mississippi and our family moved to Sarasota in 1958 where we (Ray, Charlotte and I) started in ninth (Charlotte in eight) grade at SJHS. Would anyone born north of the Sarasota County line be considered a “yankee” then? Guess I really better not say that since our grandsons were born in Orlando.

Now it’s time for Ardel [Price] to fill in the blanks and talk about our grandchildren and grandpets. . .

I beat Roy to retirement after over 30 years of employment through counties, school boards, and the State of Florida. I worked as a secretary, clerk-typist or whatever I could get to help us survive the three years Roy was in the Army and then while he finished college. I later worked at our children’s elementary school, first as an aide and later as a teacher when I got my certification. Then I tried the middle school. Oh, dear! That drove me to finish my career in the children’s section of Selby Public Library. And that I loved! I found what I really enjoyed at the end of my career.

I retired in 2004 just in time for Hurricane Charley. For those of us who have always lived in Florida, we know what hurricanes can do. However, knowing is not like experiencing it. What a horror! We had minor damage at our home with trees down and screens shredded, but Roy’s office in Punta Gorda lost the roof and destroyed the interior. They had to move the firm to Englewood in temporary offices during the rebuilding which Roy managed. It is very scary to be without electricity and telephones for over two weeks especially at night when it is dark everywhere. After a week here, Bill and Dottie (Horsburg) Hancock sent their daughter down to bring us the keys to their condo in Venice while they were in NC. Hooray--lights, air conditioning, and refrigeration!

We have two handsome, smart little grandsons who are in Orlando with our son and his wife. Aaron is seven and his little brother, Ryan, will be two in October. Aaron is a reader, like I was, going from one series to the next. He was reading the Hardy Boys in kindergarten and has moved on to books by Roald Dahl, his current favorite author, and anything related to Star Wars. Ryan, with the tutelage of his daddy, knows all the planets and their position from the sun. It is such fun to see them learn and have fun learning! It is so delightful to spend time with them and so relaxing when we get back home.

Our daughter, Jennnifer, has three Shetland Sheepdogs who just spent three weeks with us. I enjoy having them. They always love you and are happy to see you when you come home. We had two Shelties while the kids were growing up so taking care of them comes naturally.

It is hard to believe it has been fifty years since we graduated from high school and equally as difficult to realize that Roy and I have been married forty-seven years. It’s always an adventure and we laugh every day. However, one of my friends still calls him “the man I have in training.”