Earl Garretson Lawrence Cilley

March 17, 1935 - January 11, 2023

Earl Garretson Lawrence Cilley

March 17, 1935 - January 11, 2023


Earl Garretson Lawrence Cilley was born March 17, 1935, to Dr. Earl I. L. Cilley and Dorothy Brown Cilley in Bellingham, WA. He passed away peacefully after a long illness on January 11, 2023. Earl had one son, Earl R. L. “Pete” Cilley (Elizabeth), with his first wife, Camille De Campos of Walnut Creek, CA. He also leaves behind 3 grandchildren-Kelsey Gates, Caitlin Gates and Cami Gates (Evan), 3 step grandchildren-Amanda Boston (Steven), John Price and Haili Price Arreola, and 3 great-grandchildren-Fern, Allen and James. He also leaves his dear long-term companion, Anita Aparicio, his brother-in-law (Paul Hanson) and his nephews Max Hanson (Jessica) and Thor Hanson (Eliza), and many other friends and associates around the world.

Earl grew up in Bellingham where his father practiced medicine as a Radiologist in Bellingham. His mother was a Registered Nurse and homemaker. Earl had one younger sister, Ann Cilley Hanson (Paul) who preceded him in death in 2011. The family resided on the South Hill from where Earl attended the Campus School until going east after 8th grade to attend the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. Earl moved on to Stanford University where he obtained a B.A. in the Classics and completed his M.B.A. in 1962. He also served in the U.S. Army during these years. Earl married Camille in 1961 in her hometown of Hanford, CA. The young couple, who had met while attending Stanford, relocated to Bellingham after the birth of their son, Pete, in 1962. Earl worked for KGMI Radio for a couple of years before the family returned to the Bay Area in 1964. Earl accepted a position in the Stanford University administration where he would spend the rest of his working years. He spent much of that time as the Director of Sponsored Projects before completing his career as a Managing Auditor. He was also named as the University’s first Research Administrator Emeritus. Earl and Camille divorced in the mid 1980’s. A few years later, Earl was introduced to Anita and they became dear to each other for the remainder of his life.

After his retirement, Earl traveled the world. He spent many months over many years trekking in the Himalaya Mountains from such diverse countries as India, China, Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet. Earl was always happiest in the high places of the world! He also loved exploring the North Cascades, Tetons, and Sierras among other mountainous regions. Earl visited many other countries, often with Anita, such as Egypt, Turkey, and much of Europe. Their sailing trip on the Turkish coast was especially memorable. Earl also loved river rafting trips. He especially loved floating through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River in dory boats. An expedition he repeated half a dozen times, including once with Anita. A trip they both enjoyed reminiscing about!

Earl purchased a home in Bellingham in 1993 to be closer to Pete, his first wife (Penny Gates) and their children. He used it as a second home for a few years before making Bellingham his full time home once again. Earl participated in many community groups and projects. To name a few, he was a member of Hobby Club, the Bellingham Music Club, the Mount Baker Theater Organ Society, the Bellingham Maritime Association, Circus Fans of America, and he served on the Board of Directors of the Woodstock Farm Park.

Earl was a kind and generous man with a quick sense of humor. He could really tell a story! His genuine care, concern, and curiosity about the people he encountered were some of his defining characteristics. He always returned from his far-flung expeditions with new friends. Many of whom he maintained correspondence with for many years after. His old school friends from Lawrenceville and Stanford were also of real importance to him. In his final years, Earl enjoyed holidays with his family and the Sunday expeditions he shared with Pete and Lizzy. The visits from his friends and especially those from his grandchildren and great grandchildren brightened his days. He also created unique relationships with his caregivers. Mara, Tia, and Ashley along with the rest of his team. They made his life much better and allowed him to stay at home until the end of his life. Earl was a very loyal friend who always did his best to help those close to him in any way he could.

Earl was a regular donor to the organizations previously listed and many others besides. Memorials to them or the Whatcom Land Trust or San Juan Preservation Trust would be fitting tributes. The burial service will be private. A Celebration of Life will be held in April at a date and time to be announced.

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