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Commander Grant “Gully” Gerhard Gullickson, U.S. Navy (Retired), 95, passed away July 20, 2016, at his home in Virginia Beach, Va., surrounded by his loved ones.
Gully was born Oct. 2, 1920, on the family homestead in Taylor, N.D., and had two brothers and six sisters. This loving family provided the strong foundation for Gully’s never-ending positive attitude. Even at the end his mantra was, “Everything is great.”
Gully’s life was a wonderful journey that allowed him to see much of the world and make many friends. In 1939, he joined the U.S. Navy in the Great Lakes, beginning a 30-year naval career. During WWII her was a sailor on the USS Mississippi in both the Pacific and Atlantic fleets. In 1942-1944, Gully was a chief machinist mate on the USS Corry. On June 6, 1944 (D-day), the Corry was sunk while providing naval gunfire support to the first waves of troops landing on Utah Beach. Twenty-four of Gully’s shipmates were lost on D-day, and later in life Gully and his Corry shipmates met annually for 40 years to remember their lost shipmates.
Gully joined the USS John Q. Roberts in the Pacific in 1944 and ended the war in Tokyo harbor. After the war he served on the USS Burke out of Norfolk, Va. In 1952 Gully was commissioned as a limited duty officer, then served as chief engineer on four ships out of Norfolk: the USS Aldebaran, USS Rigel, USS Northampton (the president’s command ship) and USS Forrestal (America’s first super carrier). Gully also saw combat action off the coast of North Vietnam while leading a manpower validation team assigned to the USS Barney.
After Gully’s distinguished naval career, he joined a great team at Military Circle Mall in 1970 as the chief engineer and later became general manager until he retired in 1985.
Following his mother’s example, Gully dedicated himself to helping others. He was a member of many service groups and twice was president of the Lake Shores Civic League. Gully was an accomplished mechanic, having learned to work on Model T’s as a young boy. He had a passion for cars throughout his life, and it was common to find Gully up to his elbows in grease and asking for some wrench to be handed to him. Gully loved to travel, and he and his family made many memorable trips from Virginia to North Dakota and Europe. His house always was open for visitors wherever he lived, and his generosity and gusto for life were constants in his household.
Gully was a wonderful son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and-great grandfather. He was predeceased by his loving wife of 58 years, Beatrice; and an infant son, Galen.
He is survived by his loving wife, Celia; a daughter, Gigi Gullickson Kelly (John) of San Jose, Calif.; two sons, Gregg Grant Gullickson (Denise) of Clifton, Va., and Gary G. Gullickson (Barbara) of Virginia Beach, Va.; stepson, Kenneth Alan Gibert of Winter Garden, Fla.; five grandchildren, Christopher (Danielle), Brad (Lisa), Grant, Megan (Michael), and Sean; and three great-grandchildren, Elle Marie, Rivers Grant, and Emmeline Marie.
A funeral service will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 24, 2016, at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, 1457 Independence. Blvd., Virginia Beach, Va. A naval burial will follow at Arlington National Cemetery in the upcoming months. The family will receive friends at the funeral home Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Navy Memorial, 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 123, Washington, DC 20004 – In memory of Grant Gullickson.