Carolyn Gillis, a respected and beloved neighborhood leader and volunteer, was killed Thursday afternoon while on a cruise excursion in Belize. The 77-year-old was traveling in a red Ford Freestyle SUV when the driver lost control and flipped the vehicle several times, WFAA reports. Local media said Gillis was ejected through the windshield and died on the scene.
Gillis’ husband, John, was cut on the ear and hand in the crash, and her son, daughter-in-law, twin granddaughters and grandson were also injured.
Local police have obtained a urine sample and informed the driver they may prosecute, according to WFAA. The driver told police his tire blew out just before the crash.
In a separate crash in Belize, a couple from Grand Prairie was killed and five family members injured just 24 hours before Gillis died. That family, also on a cruise excursion, was traveling in a passenger van hit broadside by an SUV.
Gillis was a former president of Lake Highlands Women’s League, Forest Meadow Junior High PTA and Merriman Park PTA, to name just a few of her many leadership and service roles in the community. She was a longtime member of Wilshire Baptist Church, where Associate Pastor Mark Wingfield called her a “pillar” of the church community and told the Dallas Morning News word of her death “has been like a tsunami across Lake Highlands and this church.”
Services for Carolyn Gillis are pending.