Welcome to the memorial page for

Robert Clyde Gillespie

September 25, 1938 ~ June 13, 2017 (age 78)

Robert Clyde Gillespie, 78 of Amarillo died Tuesday, June 13, 2017.


Memorial service will be 10:00 a.m., Saturday, June 17, 2017 at First Baptist Church Chapel with Rev. Corky Holland and Rev. Jim Weaver officiating. Arrangements are by Schooler Funeral Home, 4100 S. Georgia.


Robert was born in Amarillo, Texas in 1938 to Roxie and Clyde Gillespie.  His love of music began at a very early age when he was introduced to the trombone.  Dr. Charles Emmonds, Band and Orchestra Director at Amarillo High, encouraged Bob to attend Eastman School of Music.  He continued his studies and graduated from Julliard School of Music with a Masters of Music degree.  Throughout his career, Bob worked towards his PhD in Music from Julliard.

Early in his career Bob played with the New Orleans Symphony and the Oklahoma City Symphony.  During this time he also taught trombone at Julliard, the University of Delaware, Loyola University in New Orleans and the University of Oklahoma.  He served in the U.S. Army and was stationed at West Point where he played in the Army band.  Upon completion of his tour of duty, Bob returned to New York City and joined the Metropolitan Opera orchestra as first and second trombonist.  He played solo trombone with the Goldman Band and many other prominent orchestras including performances at Lincoln Center and with the London Philharmonic. 

In 1974, Bob joined the National Symphony Orchestra of The South African Broadcasting Corporation in Johannesburg. He also performed as solo trombonist with the Symphony until 2000.  There were many special concerts and tours over the years including Luciano Pavarotti’s Africa tour, the Three Tenors Africa tour, the Three Sopranos Africa tour and the ABBA Africa tour.  Bob was the only trombonist to receive the Artes Award for Best Radio Musical Performance.

Bob married Deleine in Johannesburg and had a wonderful life raising their sons, Derek, currently living with his wife, Reese, and their daughter, Andrea, in Taiwan, and Kevin, who with his wife, Pearl, lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Bob became very interested in Karate, training with the finest instructors outside of Japan, most notably Stan Schmidt.  Bob and Deleine moved to the United States in 2000 and returned to make Amarillo their home.  Bob taught Karate at Amarillo College.  His Karate classes not only taught martial arts skills but also life lessons.  In 2008, Bob returned to South Africa to certify and receive his 3rd Dan Black Belt license.  Teaching has always been part of Bob’s life.   During recent years in Amarillo, he worked with the public school music programs to help with brass instrument instruction.  He also had private trombone students.

Bob was a life-long learner as he continued to write and do research on the physiology of breathing and techniques in martial arts.  His love of music will live on in his wonderful recordings and in the difference he has made in people’s lives.


Memorial donations may be made to the VA of Amarillo

 Service Information

Memorial Service
June 17, 2017

10:00 AM
First Baptist Church
1208 South Tyler
Amarillo, TX 79101

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