GILBERT ENGLISH GOVE
July 29, 1932 –July 18, 2015
Died in Grosse Pointe after a lengthy struggle with Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.
Survived by his wife of 46 years, Carol Rodgers Gove; sons Brian William Gove of Grosse Pointe, MI, Alexander Boyd Gove (Constance Loizos) of San Francisco, CA, Stephen English Gove (Aubrey Sternal) of Thousand Oaks, CA; daughter Martha Rodgers Gove (Joshua Cohen) of Ann Arbor, MI; grandchildren Esther and Sebastian Cohen, Ainsley and Gwenyth Gove, Theodore and Nathaniel Gove; and brother Robert Edwards Gove of Carrara, Italy.
Gil Gove was born at Detroit’s Harper Hospital on July 29, 1932 to Emily Gladys English and Gilbert Sherrick Gove. Emily English was the daughter of a Methodist minister and a graduate of Oberlin College. Gilbert S. Gove was a recipient of a football scholarship to Penn. Gil’s parents valued education above all else and moved the family from Bloomfield Hills to Chicago so young Gil could attend the Marshall Field School. Three years later, they returned to Bloomfield Hills and Gil entered Cranbrook’s lower school, Brookside, on scholarship, and remained until his graduation from the Cranbrook School in 1950. He lettered in football and wrestling and was active in the Marquis Club at Christ Church Cranbrook. Gil was a three-time winner of the annual all-school current events competition. During high school, Gil took several long-distance bike trips through New England and Nova Scotia.
Gil enrolled at Amherst College in Massachusetts with a four-year scholarship. He joined Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, wrestled, and played football. He also made some forays into mountain-climbing, with mixed results. One summer during college Gil worked as an assistant pastry chef on a transatlantic crossing bound for Europe. Once in port, he unloaded his motorcycle and travelled the Continent for the summer.
Gil graduated Amherst in 1954 and went straight to the Naval Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. From there he attended the Mine Warfare School in Jamestown, Virginia, and was then assigned to the minesweeper U.S.S. Waxwing for the remainder of the Korean War. Gil’s motorcycle also boarded the ship. When the war ended, Gil’s commander suggested a goodwill trip around the Pacific and the Far East before returning to Long Beach, CA. Gil and his motorcycle saw Japan, Hawaii, Samoa, Australia, Singapore, and New Guinea, among other ports.
Gil then went directly from the Navy to Harvard Law School, arriving two weeks after the start of classes because of the wrap-up of naval duties. Gil graduated law school in 1960 and joined the Detroit firm of Miller, Canfield, Paddock, and Stone, where he was made partner in 1969. He was admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States in 1967. Gil began his career in Wills and Trusts, which he disliked intensely, and then moved into Litigation and Product Liability, where he practiced until his retirement in 2002. Among his clients were DuPont, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Fiat, John Deere, Comau, Detroit Bank and Trust (Comerica), Henry Ford Hospital, and Allied Film. Gil served on the Ethics committee of the Michigan State Bar, was head of the Litigation Department at Miller Canfield, and had the great good fortune to be mentored by Cleveland Thurber. Gil loved the law and Miller Canfield. He felt that his partners, associates, and staff were people of the highest quality.
Gil and Carol were married on December 5, 1969 in Birmingham, MI.
Gil was an active congregant at Christ Church Grosse Pointe, where he served on the vestry and supported the choir, in which his children sang. Gil was a member of the Country Club of Detroit, the Little Traverse Yacht Club, and the Witenagemot. He was a past member of the Detroit Athletic Club, the Detroit Club, the University Club, and the Yondotega Club. He was an avid sailor and participated in many Port Huron-Mackinac races. He was a long-distance bike rider and would frequently ride to Ann Arbor and back on a Sunday afternoon. He loved downhill and cross-country skiing. He practiced wrestling holds on all family members whenever the spirit moved him. He was a pedant about language and corrected us constantly. He loved the New York Times: no day could start without it and the crossword puzzle. He loved photography and travel, classical music, the Tour de France, World War II history, good food and Green Chartreuse, Proust, E.M. Forster, the Holy Bible, the Iliad and the Odyssey, off-color limericks, the Oxford English Dictionary, Scientific American, dancing, climbing trees, and hurtling parking meters. Gil was a wonderful parent and husband, and an outstanding person. He will be greatly missed.
A memorial service will be held at Christ Church Grosse Pointe on Tuesday July 28, 2015 at 4:00 p.m.
Donations may be made to DeHaven Endowment, Christ Church, 61 Grosse Pointe Blvd., Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236 or Cranbrook School Need-Based Scholarships, 39221 Woodward, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304.