Neil James Gilligan, Jr. passed from this life on July 30, 2013, in Austin. Neil was born in San Antonio, Texas on July 20, 1928. He graduated Uvalde High School, class of '45, before enlisting in the U.S. Army, serving as a surveyor in the Army Corps of Engineers from 1945-48. After his enlistment was up, Neil graduated Cum Laude from Southwest Texas Junior College and enrolled in St. Mary's School of Law before being called back to active duty.
After his service, he married Lillie Lee Blakeney on August 3, 1952, a marriage that prospered and endured for almost 61 years. Neil is survived by his wife Lillie Gilligan, his brother, John Bruce Gilligan and wife Dorothy, of Taylor, his daughter Laura Gilligan Banks and husband Richard of Galveston, four grandchildren: James Clay and wife, Dawn, of Dothan, Alabama, Tiffany Clay, of Pflugerville, Travis Banks, of San Antonio, and Erin Bennett, of Corpus Christi, two great-grandchildren, Kama and Cheyenne Clay, of Dothan, along with nieces, nephews, and many cousins. Neil was preceded in death by a daughter, Terry Ann Gilligan, and son, Neil James "Skipper" Gilligan, III.
Neil enjoyed a lengthy and distinguished career as a radio and television broadcaster. After getting his start at KVOZ in Laredo, Texas, he went on to own and operate KSWA in Graham, and then KSOX in Raymondville. Later, he built and managed television station KVTV in Laredo. By and by, Neil built a second career as facility manager for the Department of Radio/Television/Film for the University of Texas at Austin.
But Neil's true calling was his volunteer work with Lions International and with the Shrine. He held many posts and garnered honors too numerous to list; he was known around the Shrine Circus and Coats for Kids as "Honker" the clown, an alter ego through which he charmed generations of young and old alike with his twisted balloon animals, big shoes and a face painted clown white. Neil was a poet, an able correspondent, an Eagle Scout and an Irishman, and he'd love to discuss matters over a draught. Whether as Honker or Neil, he was loved by many for his words and his deeds. He will be missed by all who knew him.
Memorial contributions may be made in his honor to the Texas Lions Camp for Disabled Children, c/o Austin Downtown Founder's Lions Club, PO Box 42181, Austin, TX 78704.