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Official Obituary of

William Lee Gaule

March 27, 1931 ~ February 11, 2024 (age 92) 92 Years Old

William Gaule Obituary

William Lee Gaule (92), formerly of Chatham, passed away on February 11, 2024. He was born in Bedford, Iowa on March 27, 1931 to Lawrence William (Bill) and Ruth Morris Gaule. His family moved to Illinois in 1947, first to Petersburg and then to Chatham where he graduated from Ball Township High School in 1949. As a student, he excelled in athletics, especially basketball and track. Joining the Naval Reserves in 1949, he began a 27-year career serving both in the U.S. Air Force and the Air National Guard. In 1977, he retired from the Guard as a Senior Master Sargent, 1st Class. He primarily was stationed at Springfield Capitol Airport with the 183rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, earning the Outstanding Non-Commissioned Officer Award.

At the same time, Bill followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and became an auctioneer, conducting his first sale when he was fresh out of high school; he made $36. Auctioneering, along with his real estate business, became his full-time career in 1977 and continued until he retired in 2016, selling for the last time at the age of 85. “Make your work play and play all day” was his motto. Bill spent his career promoting the auction business and was elected President of the Illinois State Auctioneers Association in 1964. He later became a longtime Board Member of the National Auctioneers Association (NAA), and in 1983, he was honored to become the NAA’s National President. Bill was instrumental in relocating and building the current NAA office in Overland Park, Kansas, and for his many contributions and leadership, he was inducted into the NAA’s Hall of Fame in 1987.

Bill was proud to be a member of the Chatham community, and he worked tirelessly to improve his hometown by helping found the Chatham Community Bank (where he was on the Board of Directors for many years), spearheading numerous United Way campaigns, starting the Boosters Club for Chatham Glenwood High School (GHS), and raising money to beautify Chatham at Christmastime, as well as working with numerous other charities. In 2009, he was inducted into the GHS Hall of Fame for his contributions and unwavering support of the school long after his own children had graduated. Bill was a member of Southside Christian Church as well as a former trustee. Additionally, he was a longtime member of the American Legion and was honored to be the Grand Marshall of the Chatham Homecoming Parade twice.

Of all the honors and accolades he accumulated in his 92 years, he was most proud of his wife and children. He met the love of his life, Marjorie, while he was helping a friend paint her father’s house. Bill’s painting buddy took a tumble off a ladder trying to catch a glimpse of “the pretty daughter who sings and plays the piano.” But it turned out to be Bill and Marge who quickly fell for each other. They were married on July 4, 1953 in Godfrey, Illinois. They started their life together “with $200 and a used refrigerator.” For the next 70 years, they were partners both in life and in the auction business, as Marge worked as his cashier. Marge preceded Bill in death on November 18, 2023. They were virtually inseparable these past many years and are reunited now again. Bill is survived by his four children: Deborah (Leroy) Seelhoefer, Cynthia Bryan, Michael Gaule, and Patricia Kane Gaule (Kim Osgood); eight grandchildren — Greg Seelhoefer, Jill Seelhoefer Babulal, Lara Seelhoefer Bartels, Ben Bryan, Will Bryan, Rachel Bryan Cangello, Jenna Gaule and Griffin Gaule; and eight great-grandchildren — Arya, Andrew and Ahna Seelhoefer; Victoria, Teddy and Max Babulal; Emma Bartels and Finley Cangello.

Bill lived a generous life, and no one was a stranger to him for long. He loved telling stories, fishing, seeing his bird dogs work, watching and playing sports, enjoying his recliner, helping people, and spending time with friends and family. Even into his final years, he kept his kind, funny, loving spirit…and his ability to auction an item or two to the highest bidder. He truly was a gentle man who will be greatly missed.

Visitation will be from 10am until time of services at 11am, Saturday, Feb. 24 at Concordia Village Chapel. Burial will be in Chatham Memorial Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to the Legacy Youth Scholarship Committee (National Auction Foundation).

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February 24, 2024

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Concordia Village Chapel
4101 W. Iles
Springfiel, IL 62711

Funeral Service
February 24, 2024

11:00 AM
Concordia Village Chapel
4101 W. Iles
Springfiel, IL 62711


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