James Joseph Gillis Jr. died unexpectedly on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. He was 72.

A well-known Island attorney, Jimmy had previously served as Tisbury and Oak Bluffs town counsel.

He was born in Cambridge, the oldest of 12 children of James and Grace Gillis. He graduated from Middleboro High School in 1957 and proudly served in the U.S. Army. While attending Boston University and Suffolk Law School, he worked as a barber at Bert’s Barber Shop on Main street, Vineyard Haven. He graduated from Suffolk Law School in 1968 and worked as an assistant district attorney for Suffolk County. He later was the public administrator for Dukes County and served as town counsel for Tisbury and Oak Bluffs. He had a private practice in Vineyard Haven from 1968 until his retirement in September 2012.

He was a member of the Farm Neck Golf Club and Mitchell Memorial Club.

His great sense of humor and wit will be missed by countless friends and family who knew him variously as Dad, Papa and Skippy.

He was the beloved husband of Kathleen Ann McLean Gillis who predeceased him in July 2010; devoted father of Justine Chisholm of Vineyard Haven, Lynn Gillis of Hull, Peter Gillis of Oak Bluffs and Megan McBroom of Whitman. He is survived by nine grandchildren and one great grandchild. He was the brother of John Gillis of Westbrook, Me., Terri DiGiovanni of Cotuit, Patty WIllis of Middleboro, Rose Texiera of Carver, Kathleen Genson of Arizona, Bobby Gillis of Falmouth, Richard Gillis of Middleboro, Chucky Gillis of Arizona and Billy Gillis of Brockton. He was predeceased by his parents James and Grace Gillis, his sister Grace Costa and brother Michael Gillis.

Visiting hours will be held in the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs on Monday, March 4 from 5 to 8 p.m. A funeral mass will be celebrated in St. Augustine’s Church on Franklin street in Vineyard Haven on Tuesday, March 5 at 11 a.m. Interment will follow in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Vineyard Haven.

Donations in his memory may be made to Angel Flight NE, 492 Sutton Street, North Andover, MA 01845 (angelflightne.org).

Please visit ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.