Music, tennis and family formed core of Gaillard’s life |

Music, tennis and family formed core of Gaillard’s life

A lifetime of music and a mid-life blossoming on the tennis court shaped the life of Frank E. Gaillard, known in Nevada County for his participation in such groups as the Sierra Gold Big Band and for coaching racket-wielding teens at Bear River High School.

The retired colonel, tennis pro, coach and fun-loving musician died peacefully at his Lake of the Pines home on Oct. 15, 2007, after a long illness caused by leukemia. He was 80.

His life will be celebrated from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Lake of the Pines Clubhouse.

“It is hoped that it will be a musical tribute to Frank,” friend and fellow musician Robert Chapman said.

He was born on May 9, 1927, in Wichita, Kans., to Kathryn and Col. Fred E. Gaillard, and the family lived all over the world. His mother taught piano, so he learned to play very young. He started to play the trombone at 9, and won state awards at 12. He picked up the guitar in high school.

“We grew up with the music of the piano, guitar and trombone in the house almost daily,” his daughter, Christy Barrese, of San Jose, recalled.

Mr. Gaillard served in the United States Marines, then attended West Point, where he found time to play jazz trombone with Stan Kenton’s Big Band and direct the school glee club. In the Army, he was a paratrooper.

After graduation in 1950, he served two years in Korea as a captain in communications, often on the front lines. He retired as a colonel from the U.S. Army Reserves.

He married Joan Marie Hourigan on Oct. 19, 1957, in Dallas.

The family moved to Menlo Park, Calif., in 1963 and to Sunnyvale, Calif., in 1965. At age 33, Mr. Gaillard took up tennis, and achieved the highest United States Tennis Association professional level at age 75 – the oldest person ever to achieve that in the Berkeley branch, where he completed testing requirements.

Mr. Gaillard spent 30 years as a program director and project manager in the Silicon Valley electronics industry before retiring to Lake of the Pines in 1992 to a lakefront home.

He continued indulging his love of music, arranging music, playing in area five bands and directing Sierra Gold Big Band. He also filled in as trombone player for the Bear River school band during graduation ceremonies.

He coached the Bear River High School tennis team, and taught private lessons until 12 days before his death.

“He was a very tough and strong leader all his life and a great guy with fabulous sense of humor,” Chapman said.

When not out on the court or playing music, he enjoyed reading about the Civil War, taking walks with his wife and dog, and entertaining his five granddaughters.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Joan Gaillard; daughters Erin Kielty, of Folsom, and Christy Barrese, of San Jose, and; sons-in-law Michael Kielty and James Barrese; and grand-daughters Allison and Kelley Kielty, and Anya, Libby and Kathryn Barrese.

Lake of the Pines tennis players have set up a memorial scholarship; in lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the LOP Tennis Gaillard Memorial Fund, care of Richard Knowlden, 12023 Lakeshore North Dr, Auburn, CA 95602.

Mr. Gaillard’s remains have been cremated, and burial of his ashes will be at West Point Military Academy in April 2008.

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