Rev. Frederick Fellows Jillson


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Gloucester, MA - Frederick Jillson was born in Syracuse N.Y., and did much pleasurable and safe growing up in Skaneateles, N.Y., at the head of that beautiful Finger Lake. He passed away at Kaplan Family hospice in Danvers, Mass.
Frederick's father, "Fritz", was a lawyer and DA prosecutor; mother, Beatrice Louise Patten, was a legal secretary. From his father Frederick got a great love of history, literature and love. From his mother, came a love of books and study, especially languages. Frederick's "Fritzy's" father died in 1941, of mustard gas poisoning, suffered 24 years before in the First World War; Fritzy was almost 4 years old. Schools came and went including time as a choir boy at St. Thomas Church, and school in New York City. He sang the English Church's musical literature at St. Thomas and in concerts with the Metropolitan Opera and at Carnegie Hall, among other places. High School was in Syracuse, then Lehigh University, as a Classics major (B.A. Latin and Greek), General Theological Seminary in NYC (M. Div.). Frederick, ordained to the priesthood of the Episcopal Church, was a parish vicar for 2 years, rector for 8, and at the same time taking an M.A. in English and an M.F.A. in writing fiction at the University of Mass. Prizes and honors did accrue; Eta Sigma Phi, honors and classics, a prize for Translation of the Greek New Testament and Church Fathers, and a prize for Reading the Offices of the Book of Common Prayer, both from General Theological Seminary.
He was on the board of Directors of North Shore Art Association; St. Thomas Alumni start-up board, and he was Secretary of Cape Ann Sportsmen's Club for 15 years, also a member of the Knights of Columbus. Frederick married Helen Bachman in 1959 and had a daughter Jennifer Louise, her husband James Soper, sons Mathew Welles, who died in infancy and is buried in his grandfather's grave, and Frederick Anthony, his wife Martha, grandchildren Katherine Elizabeth and Joshua James.
I now choose a first person narrative because obituaries are usually achievement-heavy and hence very positive, some of the most important events of my life are failures, redemptions and blessings. In 1982 two great events changed my life completely; I married Sheila Rose Bushman and I managed to get sober and stay that way through a Higher Power and the wisdom of AA. Sheila is responsible for getting me to a proper rehab and into AA, but only after telling me that I couldn't come home. Genuine Tough Love! She is a great biblical model of a wife. Through my cancer, severe heart issues, arthritis, and scoliosis, and general creeping antiquity, she has remained lovingly (and tough) by my side. I have been lucky: there is no better professional musician and speech pathologist, to say nothing of a lover and classic good cook than Sheila Rose. In 1989, a most blessed and joyful thing happened, Sheila and I were received into the Roman Catholic Church. I applied for ordination through the Pastoral Provision. I passed all my exams, but was turned down. After a period of bitter anger, by the grace of God and the help of the Blessed Mother of God (called Mother Mary in our house) in time we picked up and carried on. Other interests began to emerge. I loved to fly-fish and shoot black powder. I became an oil and watercolor painter, etcher, and became an artist member of the Rockport Art and North Shore Art Associations and several local galleries. Now, I enjoy watching football and baseball especially Old Time Baseball in 1864 rules. The Steps of AA and the sacrament of Penance have helped me to live with them and make them useful for others and myself. Every day starts with prayer to a Higher Power that He take away my compulsion to drink. He always does. I pray that God bless and protect my family and friends and those I have hurt. With the help of a great family friend, Sheila and I will give our bodies to Harvard Medical School for research.
Gloria Deo; et Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro me
The funeral will be Mass in the Anglican Use of the Roman Catholic Church, and will be celebrated at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church on June 14 at 11 a.m. All parishioners, friends and especially the curious are invited. There will be a gathering with collation, conversation and laughter in the parish Hall after Mass. Burial of ashes will be in Skaneateles, NY Lakeview Cemetary. Of your charity, please pray for me.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations in memory of Fred to one of the following: St. Scholasticas Priory Petersham, MA, Our Lady of Good Voyage Gloucester, MA, St. Adelelaides Church Music fund Peabody, MA, Third Order Carmelites, Carmelite Church Peabody.
Published on June 7, 2019
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4 posts

Melody C. Tarbox
Jun 12, 2019
Dear Sheila and Other Loved Ones,
It was a pleasure getting to know you and Frederick at the fellowship gatherings after the Latin Mass at St. Adelaide"s Church. He was very soft-spoken, but fascinating to speak with, and always dressed so nattily.
I shall miss our so very interesting conversations.

Paul Meuse
Jun 08, 2019
My condolences to Your wife Sheila and your family. I was proud to knowYou.A very fun and interesting person,You were one of the good Guys. Rest in piece Fred.
Peggy M.
Jun 08, 2019
Requiesce in pace Fred.
Jun 07, 2019
Rest In Peace Fred 🙏