Cover photo for Mr Claude Frank Gilson's Obituary
Mr Claude Frank Gilson Profile Photo
1932 Mr 2022

Mr Claude Frank Gilson

July 7, 1932 — December 9, 2022

Claude Frank Gilson

Claude Frank Gilson, born on July 7, 1932 in Beaumont, Texas, died on Friday, December 9, 2022, in Corpus Christi, Texas surrounded by his family and friends. He is predeceased by his wife of 67 years, Eva Mae Choate Gilson, parents, Grover Lee Gilson and Gladys Cleo Bowlus Gilson Bacon, fraternal twin brother Curtis Lee Gilson, Sr., sister Nita Mae Gilson and half-brother Billy Warner Bacon. Claude is survived by his children, Gordon C. Gilson, of San Antonio, and Gay E. Gilson, of Corpus Christi; his daughter-in-law, Tina M. Gilson, who gave him the greatest gifts, his grandsons, Eric A. Gilson and Michael A. Gilson, a source of immeasurable joy. He met the love of his life, Eva, at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas where he earned a Bachelor of Science in mathematics in 1955. Claude attended Lamar on athletic scholarships lettering in both basketball and baseball. He held records in both sports. Claude obtained a Master of Education from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches in 1959; a Master of Science in mathematics from State University of New York in Buffalo, New York in 1965; and pursued postgraduate studies in mathematics at the University of Houston from 1965-1969. He was a National Science Foundation Faculty Fellow from 1967-1969 and a Past Member of the American Mathematical Society. Claude also completed the Mathematics/Statistics Institute, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma. He taught virtually all undergraduate mathematics courses. He always enjoyed a math challenge which led to his writing a book in 2005 - Craps for the Beginner and the Want-To-Be Winner with a special section on the mathematics of craps. In the 1950s, Claude worked as a coach under Bum Phillips at Nederland High School and he later worked as an Assistant Superintendent in Nederland. During his time working at Nederland, Claude formed a special bond with his accelerated math students, 1956-1960, that continued until his death. In 2012, the class had a special 52nd Reunion in Corpus Christi that celebrated not just Claude, but the accomplishments of his students over the years. After the family moved to Houston in the 1960s, Claude taught at San Jacinto College and performed other teaching duties while pursuing postgraduate studies. While in Houston, Claude served as a Cub Scout leader for Gordon’s troop. While increasing membership several fold, numerous young men learned life-long skills and enjoyed such activities as camping and the Pinewood Derby. Claude moved to Victoria, Texas in 1972 and worked with community leaders to establish the University of Houston-Victoria Center in 1973. He was the first full-time staff member. Claude worked for UHV from 1973-1994 and he held the roles of Director of Admissions and Records, Executive Director of Student Services and Continuing Education as well as serving as an assistant professor of mathematics. Claude designed and implemented the University’s initial records system using a computer system. He stood strong for solid academic entrance requirements. In 1978, Claude developed the UHV Continuing Education program. When the program started, it had a budget of $500 and by 1982, it was self-supporting with an operating budget of $250,000. Claude also developed and directed UHV’s Petroleum Training Institute starting in 1982. Claude worked many hours – arriving early, working late and working weekends. He was tenacious and liked to get things done – even in the twilight of his life. Claude and Eva enjoyed athletics and went to numerous University of Houston and Victoria Stingaree football, basketball and baseball games. Claude used his skills to assist in fundraising for the Victoria Stingarettes basketball program for whom Gay played. He had special memories of fundraisers involving Fambingo night and specially made Stingaree tennis shoes. Claude retired from UHV in 1994. Thereafter, he taught at Victoria College until he and Eva moved to Corpus Christi in 2004. His last teaching position was at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi.Claude received a plaque on the occasion of receiving the University of Houston-Victoria Presidential Medal in April 2002. The plaque reads, “’Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.’ This simple principle seems to be the guiding philosophy of Mr. Claude F. Gilson’s life. Claude continues to dedicate his life to educating any person who seeks to improve his or her life through continuous learning.” This sentiment continued until the end of Claude’s life. Claude had a humble beginning and overcame many obstacles which made him sensitive to others. The friendships that Claude made throughout his life were a blessing that not only he, but also his family, carried with them. He was a tall man at 6’6”. His voice was distinctive and could be easily heard from across the room – and many times further. His son and grandsons inherited his unique voice sometimes making it difficult to determine who was talking. Claude enjoyed planning and taking long scenic drives with Eva. Some of Eva and Claude’s favorite trips included the drive between Ouray to Silverton, Las Vegas, Florida Keys and Key West, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Biltmore Mansion, Ashville, North Carolina, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Natchitoches, Louisiana, and Ruidoso, New Mexico. We are very grateful for the many years we had with Claude. He brought much joy not only to his family, but also his friends. Claude and Eva loved to laugh and could appreciate humor through life’s ups and downs. He will be deeply missed, but he will live forever in our hearts. We celebrate Claude’s life as he truly is a blessing.
A visitation will be held Saturday, December 17, 2022 from 10:00 A.M-10:45 A.M. at Levingston Funeral Home in Port Neches, Texas with a graveside service to follow at Oak Bluff Memorial Park in Port Neches at 11:00 A.M.
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Saturday, December 17, 2022

10:00 - 10:45 am (Central time)

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Saturday, December 17, 2022

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

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