Gilbert "Gil" Ross Messer was born in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 9, 1951, to Ross Acker Messer and Donnie (Duncan) Messer. He departed this life on Sept. 12, 2013, in Norman, Okla., after a lengthy illness and complications from surgery.
He attended school in Oxen Hill, Md., and graduated from John Tyler High School in Tyler. Gil was very proud of his career as a firefighter
, which began in Tyler in 1980. He then transferred to the Kilgore Fire Department in 1981 where he remained until his retirement in 1997 as captain of the department. He remained a firefighter at heart for the rest of his years and often spoke of the brotherhood he so dearly loved. He received the honor of Firefighter of the Year in 1997 from Kilgore Fire Department. He married Connie Dehart Williams on Aug. 10, 1999, in Eureka Springs, Ark. Pauls Valley, Okla., had been his "home away from his beloved Texas home" since 2003. He then worked for the Chickasaw Nation as a security officer until his retirement in 2011.
He made many dear friends during his employment there and considered them his family as well, especially his special friend and former supervisor, Bill Benthin.
Gil was preceded in death by his father, Ross Acker Messer, in 1981.
He is survived by his wife, Connie Dehart Messer, of their home in Pauls Valley; his mother, Donnie Messer, of Tyler; two daughters, Erin Brown, of Tyler, and Allesia Messer, of Bel Air, Md.; two sisters, Marty Shepherd and her husband Mel, of Tyler, and Merryl Messer, of Mansfield; one brother, Bruce Messer and his wife Meri-Margaret, of Tyler; three grandchildren, Zoe and Liam Franklin, of Tyler, and Derek Messer, of Bel Air, Md. He is also survived by a host of nieces, nephews, a great-niece and great-nephew, and stepdaughter, Jamie Hobbs, of Davis, Okla.
Gil was an avid fan of the Texas Longhorns and Dallas Cowboys. He loved his country and was especially proud to be a Texan. Gil fought a hard battle with many obstacles, but always had faith and courage to get him through some very difficult and trying times and illnesses. He will forever be in the hearts of all of those who knew and loved him.
Memorial services were held Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, at 2 p.m. in the Stufflebean-Coffey Funeral Home Chapel. Services of cremation were under direction of Stufflebean-Coffey Funeral Home. We invite you to send a message of condolence and view the family's guestbook at www.stufflebeanfuneralhome.com.
A Tyler visitation will be Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Green Acres Baptist Church in the first floor CrossWalk Conference Center at the Barbara Street entrance, 1607 Troup Highway, Tyler, 75701.