Nashville – William Bullets Hunt Gillespie passed away peacefully of natural causes on June 30, 2021, in hospice at Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville campus. Born in Nashville on December 26, 1941, Bullets was preceded in death by his parents Lyssa Hunt Gillespie and William Sherwood Gillespie. Bullets attended the Palmer School, Montgomery Bell Academy '59 and graduated Vanderbilt University '63 with a BA in Economics and was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. Following graduation he enlisted in the U.S. Army as 1st Lieutenant, Field Commander, in the 1193 Field Artillery Unit during the midst of the Viet Nam era, 1963-1965. After his service to his country, he attended the University of North Carolina '66 where he earned his MBA and was recruited by Morgan Keegan, Memphis as a commodity broker. His career later took him to Cargill in Dallas and eventually back to Nashville where he worked as a broker for Thompson McKinnon Inc. until he retired from the investment brokerage business. Founded in 1885, Thomson McKinnon was one of the oldest names on Wall Street. He followed his career in the brokerage business with ten years in the culinary department at Lakeshore The Meadows, where he made many friends, was deeply appreciated and dearly loved.
Growing up in Nashville, some of his earliest and often happiest childhood memories were of taking his Dad’s hand as they strode through the grand entrance to Sulphur Dell, took their seats and settled in to watch the Southern Association Double-A Nashville Vols play ball. Throughout his adult life Bullets enjoyed a wide range of interests including his regular visits to the public library, competitive backgammon games, playing squash, a game of boules and tennis. But nothing had his heart like his passionate pursuit of the culinary arts. And he shared that love with his devoted wife of more than 30 years, Patricia Lea Hudson, who survives him. He is also survived by his son Hunt Jones Gillespie (Kate) and his loving granddaughters, aka “the Gillespie Girls,” Julie Ann, May and Katy Gillespie, all of Birmingham. He is also survived by his sister Dean Gillespie Reeves (Robert) sister-in-law Karyn Hudson Brown (Bill) and adoring nieces and nephews.
His love of the culinary arts and the preparation and serving of great food came honestly and naturally to Bullets. His mother, Lyssa Gillespie was a well-respected and greatly admired Nashville caterer known far and wide for incredible, one-of-a-kind cakes. So special were her creations, that among those who knew or knew of her, no birthday, wedding, anniversary or special occasion party would be complete without a lovingly prepared confection from Mrs. Gillespie’s Belle Meade home kitchen on Deer Park Circle. Her recipe cookbook, “From the Kitchen Door; Recipes of Lyssa Gillespie by Dean Reeves” is a collector's item.
While every good Southern cook has recipes that people want to borrow, Bullets, like his Mother before him, was a great Southern cook. He had three family recipes in particular that put him into the special order business. With the assistance of his wife Pat, Christmas time meant special order time, and they turned their kitchen into a specialty food business HQ, shipping or hand-delivering his very special country hams, sweet garlic pickles and cold cucumber soup to friends and friends of friends alike. As word spread, Bullets was soon receiving orders for his country hams and pickles by the case, from as far away as New York. He had a cadre of dedicated customers who ordered on a regular basis.
Bullets had an insatiable curiosity, in many ways like that of an investigative reporter, always digging for facts, always wanting to know more about anything that interested him. He had an old library card, and he used it often. He read books and newspapers every day, and not online or on a Kindle, he wanted to hold in his own two hands what he was reading. In addition to reading, he was also writing constantly, and not emails, letters. And not letters typed on a computer, hand-written. People who knew him and those who did not were always amazed and impressed when they received a well-considered, hand-written letter from Bullets. He was old school, but in a very contemporary and thoughtful kind of way.
Quick-witted, a snappy dresser, a born raconteur and bon vivant, Bullets just loved life. He immensely enjoyed a variety of diversions from exercising with his friends at the Gordon Jewish Community Center, his weekly visits to the Saturday wine tastings at the Wine Chap, volunteering his time to serve on the Davidson County Election Commission and just, making the most of every day. He was forever researching about and planning for the next adventure to travel abroad with Pat to sample and savor the foods and wines of Canada, of Spain, Italy, Belgium and France, always France. Once back home, they would share the delicacies and dishes they had discovered with their friends. When Pat and Bullets invited you to dinner at their house or one of their famous Bastille Day celebrations, no one declined. You knew you were in for a night of pure joy, great company, good friends, wonderful conversation, true Southern hospitality and most of all, the amazing courses they served that you’d be talking about for weeks. In the kitchen together, Pat and Bullets were a force of nature, an unbeatable team who never disappointed the friends gathered round their table.
From all of us who loved you Bullets, and until we meet again, adieu, mon cher ami.
It was Bullets wish to be cremated so no public service will be held at this time. A Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date. The Family is extremely grateful to the VA Vanderbilt for many years of compassionate, professional medical advice and support. Bullets was blessed to receive such respectful care from these healthcare heroes from the MICU, Pulmonary team, Palliative team and Hospice.
In lieu of flowers please consider supporting Vanderbilt University Medical Center Giving or Montgomery Bell Academy 4000 Harding Road, Nashville, Tn. 37205 or 615-369 5360.
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