Shawn Benjamin Gilley

Shawn Benjamin Gilley, 32, a 31-year resident of Oak Park, died peacefully in his sleep on June 17 in Chicago. In his short lifetime, he touched the lives and souls of countless people through his extraordinary kindness, quick wit, masterful music, and raw and gut-wrenchingly honest writing. Hear his music at and read about his battle with cancer at

Shawn attended Longfellow Elementary School, Julian Middle School, and was a 2007 graduate of OPRF High School. He earned an honorary degree in Education at Indiana University. In 2011, he worked briefly at Wednesday Journal. He was a lifelong member of Oak Park Temple, where he taught, led music programs in various capacities, performed concerts of original music. He wrote his first liturgical composition for his Bar Mitzvah at 13, and later other spiritual music for Oak Park Temple religious services.

Shawn Gilley was the husband of Arielle (nee Kaplan); the son of Sheri Gilley and the late David Gilley; grandson of Calvin and Sandra Deitz, Anne Gilley and the late William Gilley; nephew of Ronald Deitz, Lori (Gregory) Barsh, and Lynne Larabee; cousin of Leah Jackson, Mya MacPherson, Maizy and Meadow Jackson, Henry and Samuel Barsh, Christopher, Daniel, Hunter, and Justin Larabee; son-in-law of Karen and Robert Kaplan; brother-in-law of Sasha (Andreas) Papazafeiropoulos; uncle of Penelope Papazafeiropoulos; stepson of Debra Fleishman; and step-brother of Johanna Jameson and Rich (Kelesy) Grosse.

In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to the Carcinoid Cancer Foundation (, Wellness House (, or Oak Park Temple (

Join the discussion on social media!