Stella Gill, 81, world traveler

Stella Gill, 81, of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and formerly of 6 Holmes Road in Ridgefield, and wife of Thomas J. Gill, died Thursday, the 6th of March, 2014 at her home in Hilton Head.

Born as Maria-Stella Elise Rube in Paterson, New Jersey on January 16th, 1933, she was raised in Brooklyn, New York by Jeanne and Gandolfo Rube who immigrated to the United States from Paris, France and Polizzi Generosa, Sicily respectively. Growing up in a multi-cultural home gave her a language foundation of English, French and Italian that would serve her well throughout her life.

After graduating from St. John’s University in 1954, she went on to get her Master’s Degree in French from New York University before settling into a job as a teacher at the U.S. Air Force base in Torrejon, Spain. It was there that her love of golf evolved, a passion she would pursue for the rest of her life.

While in Spain she met First Lt. Thomas J. Gill, whom she would later marry. After living in Madrid for four years, where she added fluency in Spanish to her repertoire, they returned to civilian life in the United States and had two children, Christopher and Stephen. She taught high school English on Long Island in Syosset, New York until 1973 when she and family moved to Ridgefield, Connecticut.

In 1977, Tom, then working for IBM, moved the family to Brussels, Belgium where she was again given the chance to indulge her love of food and travel. In 1979, she moved again, this time to Paris, France. Her passion for foreign culture, art and food was a driving force in her life and one that she worked to transfer to her children knowing how important it was to have a sense of adventure and embrace life fully.

In 1981, she and family moved back to Ridgefield, Connecticut, where she stayed until her youngest son Stephen finished high school. Shortly thereafter, she and Tom moved to London, England. She lived there for four years, again enjoying golf, food, arts and travel, continuing her pursuit of adventure and knowledge that were driving forces throughout her life.

She returned to the United States in 1992, again living in Ridgefield, Connecticut where she and Tom stayed until his retirement from IBM. While there, she put her love of golf to the test, winning the 1993 Ridgefield Ladies Golf Association Championship. A few years later she and Tom moved to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, making new friends, visiting with old ones, traveling and continuing to nurture her love of golf.

Married nearly 53 years, she and Tom shared a life of adventure and passion for learning and growth that was an inspiration to her family and a source of pride for her. She is survived by her husband Tom, her two children Christopher of Huntersville, NC and Stephen of Brooklyn, NY, and her grandchildren Caroline and David.

She was a unique woman and will be greatly missed by those who knew and loved her for the spirited woman she was during her time here.