Brent MacCorey “Dizzy” Gillespie, 52, has slipped the surly bonds of earth, put out his hand and touched the face of God. He was born in Seattle, Wash. Dec. 18, 1967 to Larry and Laura Gillespie and grew up on a generational orchard and ranch just south of Okanogan, Wash. In 1986, he graduated from Okanogan High School with a singular dream of being an U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. While attending Central Washington University, he was active in Air Force ROTC and met his wife, Kari. He obtained his private pilot’s license while at CWU. The Air Force accepted him into pilot training in August 1992, which is when he earned his call sign “Dizzy.” His career included duty stations around the globe and spanned 20 years of dedicated service. He primarily flew the F-16 Falcon and ended his career in an exclusive F-4 Phantom drone program. He was selected to fly the Heritage Flight portion of several Air Force air shows around the country. Brent attained the well-deserved rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Upon retirement in 2012, Brent and his young family returned to Okanogan where he built his own homestead. Brent continued to fly and most recently was performing fire support. Earlier this year he purchased his own airplane.
Brent was an avid outdoorsman and many family vacations included hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting. Being a natural athlete, he remained active by skiing, kayaking, cycling and many other activities. He was a lifelong learner, developing new skills and tackling any size of job. He was as proficient with heavy machinery as he was with gardening, which was always farmer’s market worthy.
Brent was quiet with an exceptionally quick wit. He was well known for being organized and overly prepared for any situation; two skills which were especially useful during fire season. His sense of duty and patriotism learned on the farm and strengthened in the Air Force never left him.
Brent was preceded in death by his mother, Laura (Sampson) Gillespie. He leaves behind his beloved wife of 26 years, Kari (Caudill) Gillespie and two cherished sons he was extremely proud of, Leithan and Grant. He is survived by his father, Larry Gillespie; and three siblings, John (Suzan) Gillespie, Lisa (Robert) St. Ledger and Dawn (Bryant) Blake. He is also survived by two nephews and four nieces; many of whom he mentored.
Funeral arrangements are pending due to gathering restrictions. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to an organization very dear to Brent, the Okanogan Athletic Booster Club. Please share photos at https://outlawcowphotography.smugmug.com/upload/5d2DBP/Brent.