Pierre Evert GiliamAugust 18, 1931 ~ May 23, 2015 (age 83)
Pierre Evert Giliam died peacefully on May 23, 2015. He lived a truly remarkable life during his 83 years - exemplified by his incredible perseverance and devotion to his family and faith.
Pierre was born in 1931 in Keboemen, on the island of Java in the Dutch East Indies (now known as Indonesia). He was the second of eleven children born to Minze and Folkje Giliam. His father was a school teacher and principal in Indonesia for the Dutch Reformed Church. After the Japanese invaded Indonesia in 1942 during World War II, Pierre’s father was captured as a prisoner of war and the rest of the family was incarcerated in an internment camp. At the age of 11 Pierre was separated from the family and sent to a men’s concentration camp. He did not see his family again for three years – until after the war. During his incarceration, Pierre suffered from malnutrition and nearly died from cerebral malaria.
After the end of WWII his family returned to Holland. Pierre had two years to make up the four grades of school that he missed while interned by the Japanese. At 19, Pierre volunteered and was accepted into the Royal Dutch Air Force. He was also selected to be trained as a fighter pilot in the U.S. While stationed at Williams Air Force Base in Arizona, he met and fell in love with Evelyn Aulwurm. After his training was completed, he returned to Holland to serve out his time in the Air Force where he flew on the Royal Dutch Aerobatic Team. Evelyn followed Pierre to Europe, and in 1954 they were married in Haarlem, Holland.
After serving his time in the Royal Dutch Air Force, they immigrated to the U.S. where Pierre became a flight instructor, living and working in Tucson, Arizona; Malden, Missouri; and Ozark, Alabama. During this time, their first five children were born.
In 1962, they loaded up the five kids and drove the Alaska Highway to Anchorage, where Pierre immediately found a flying job. Three more children were born in Anchorage.
Pierre became chief pilot for Alaska Aeronautical Industries and ERA Aviation. He flew an executive jet for the oil companies, shuttling oil executives back and forth from Anchorage to the North Slope. Pierre was an exceptional pilot. On several occasions he safely “crash landed” planes that had experienced mechanical failures during flight, including blown engines and defective landing gear, with no injuries to passengers. In the early 1980’s, Pierre retired from flying and started a tool and hardware business supporting the construction boom in Alaska.
Pierre was a devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and held many leadership positions in it. Through his faithful service, he was instrumental in the growth of the Church in Anchorage. In 2011, after 49 years in Anchorage, Pierre and Evelyn retired to West Jordan, Utah.
Pierre is survived by Evelyn, his wife of 60 years, and their eight children: Dave, Rick, Dina (Kevin), Jerry (Cari), Linda (Ken), Julie (Gregg), Tricia (Gordon), and Marianne (Shane) as well as 39 grandchildren and 8 great-grandsons. His fondest pastime was spending time with his children and grandchildren, and they will miss him dearly.
Pierre’s funeral service will be held Wednesday, May 27 at 11:00 am at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Chapel, 7171 South 2700 West, West Jordan, Utah.
Flowers and condolences can be sent to Goff Mortuary, http://www.goffmortuary.com/gof/