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Dr. Gus Gill of Drew University laid to rest

At the time of his death, Gill had recently retired from his position as senior advisor to the president of Drew University

ComptonHerald.com | Dr. Gus Gill

Dr. Gus Gill helped train an estimated one-third of all minority physicians practicing in Los Angeles County

LOS ANGELES – Dr. Gus Gill, the board certified head and neck surgeon (otolaryngologist), who served South Los Angeles’ Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in various capacities for 40 years, was laid to rest on May 5. He died in his home on April 7 at age 75.

ComptonHerald.com | obituaries

ComptonHerald.com obituaries

Gill earned the reputation of being one of the most beloved members in the community and one of the most influential Black men in the world.

He was eulogized profusely by the people, the politicians, and fellow physicians during his funeral service. Angelenos did not wait until his death to heap accolades upon him, as he was honored for his supreme services during the 2014 Legacy Leaders Spring Gala and the 2015 Spring Gala, which was dedicated to his memory.

He also served seven years in the National Guard as the chief general surgeon at the 207th Army Surgical Hospital in Grayling, Mich. A year after Gill left Michigan, where he was first a University of Michigan student and later a member of the university’s faculty, he arrived in Los Angeles and became chairman of Drew University’s Department of Otolaryngology. In the meantime, Gill also became an associate professor of that department and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology.

According to the California Wellness Foundation, in the 28 years of Gill’s tenure as chair of Drew University’s otolaryngology program, he helped train an estimated one-third of all minority physicians practicing in Los Angeles County. During that same period, Gill served as president of Drew’s Faculty Council, president of the university’s Academic Senate and director of its International Health Institute, which is now known as Drew Cares International.

In his “spare” time, Gill looked around the world and saw something else he needed to do: improve and promote international health as an academic pursuit within the university. Toward that end, he traveled to Africa, Cuba, and Central and South America and other countries, as befitted his 20 year membership in the National Conference of Community and Justice (NCCJ), formerly known as the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

Gill served as chairman of NCCJ’s board of directors for two years, was an active participant  with the Interfaith Council in Los Angeles, and served with various peace and justice oriented organizations — including involvement in community negotiations between the Bloods and Crips street gangs.

At the time of his death, Gill had recently retired from his position as senior advisor to the president of Drew University upon which the university appointed him “Professor Emeritus” in the Department of Otolaryngology.

Gill is survived by his wife, Nelie Ann; children, Deborah and Gus Jr.; four grandchildren, three siblings, Leonard Jr., LaVerne McCain and Lucille Rousell; many nieces and nephews, and several God children.

Betty Pleasant is a contributing writer and columnist for the Compton Herald. She was formerly a reporter at the Los Angeles Sentinel and a columnist at the Los Angeles Wave.

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