Long time UD contributor Gil Dodgen has died.
A small episode from Gil Dodgen’s life might help you understand the sort of person he was: Picture a homeless kitten, lost and confused in Southern California traffic. A man sees her, stops his car in the middle of the street and rescues her, starting a lifelong companionship. Gil’s life was characterized by excellence in everything he did, combined with a deep sympathy for those around him.
Gil was born Dec. 29, 1950, in Moscow, was raised in Pullman and received bachelor’s degrees in music and French and a master’s in French from Washington State University. He met and married his college sweetheart, Janie Gay of Prosser, Wash., who was also studying French at WSU. They would have celebrated 40 years of marriage next February.
The couple moved to Southern California, where Gil combined his sense of adventure with his literary education by becoming the editor of Hang Gliding magazine. While using computers to publish the magazine, he developed a passion for programming and, entirely self-taught, ended by creating the world’s second-ranked computer checkers program, only surpassed by a program created by an entire computer science department with a team of graduate students.
Re-inventing himself again, Gil transformed his skill with computers and knowledge of aviation into a career as an aerospace software engineer, recently receiving an award from NASA for his contribution to the Orion spacecraft program.
Although music did not become Gil’s career, his love of music infused his life. He was a classical pianist and was proud to be a member of the praise band in the church that brought so much meaning to his life.
Gil died suddenly on April 24 of a pulmonary embolism. He is survived by his wife, Janie; and their two children, Tracy and Shelley, both of whom Gil and Janie raised to a happy adulthood. He is also survived by his parents, Harold and Harriet Dodgen of Pullman; a sister, Cynthia Dodgen Schraer of Anchorage; and a brother, Stephen Dodgen of Pullman.
A reader adds:
the obituary correctly notes that Gil played the piano for his church, and that music was a big part of his life. But I don’t think that the obituary really does justice to Gil’s piano career when it states:
“Although music did not become Gil’s career, his love of music infused his life. He was a classical pianist and was proud to be a member of the praise band in the church that brought so much meaning to his life.” (http://dnews.com/obituaries/obituary-gil-dodgen-formerly-of-pullman/article_7aa9f591-e1f8-59c5-8721-c3a91655134e.html)
That’s all true. But did you know that Gil was a very accomplished classical pianist who, at one time in his life, was quite a big deal in the classical piano world? He was so big that he even released three of his own albums.
Gil was kind enough to give me CD copies of his albums, titled “Gil Dodgen Plays Chopin and Liszt”, “Gil Dodgen Plays Gershwin”, and “The Romantic Piano, Gil Dodgen”. (You can find a Vinyl LP version of the first album mentioned for sale at Amazon at:
However, you don’t have to go to Amazon to get Gil’s music. Apparently he had his three albums digitally remastered and you can download them for free off of what seems to be his own personal website. His three albums are still available for free download as zip files at:
The specific URLs are:
If any of you are classical music fans, I highly recommend that you download his CDs. His CD “The Romantic Piano” includes some challenging pieces by Rachmaninoff–a testament to Gil’s skills!
I’ve had Gil’s music on my classical playlist for many years and still often enjoy listening, especially to his Gershwin. He really was a top quality pianist–although his piano skills, as great as they were, were probably outmatched by his humility. If you download these CDs and put them on your playlist, I am sure you will enjoy them.
Rest in Peace, our friend Gil Dodgen.