Mark J. Gillen

September 11, 1946 ~ May 24, 2020 (age 73)


Gillen, Mark J  

Mark John Gillen, 73, of Severna Park, peacefully passed awayat his home on May 24, 2020.  He was the loving husband of 46 years of Patricia Twomey Gillen and beloved father to Bradley (Hilary) Gillen of Arlington, Virginia and Brian Gillen of Arnold.  He was treasured GG to Caroline and Jay Gillen.

He was born September 11, 1946 in White Plains, New York to the late J. Frank and Mary Burke Gillen. Mark was preceded in death by his brother, James Francis (Jay) of Las Vegas, Nevada. He is survived by his sister, Patricia (Joseph) Doane of Potomac, Maryland, as well as nieces, nephews, friends, and colleagues.  

Mark was raised in northern Baltimore and graduated from City College and the University of Baltimore. He pursued his mastersin public administration at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.  He would say he was educated on the basketball courts of Baltimore.

Mark retired in 2017 with nearly 50 years of experience serving in and around the federal government. His career included time with multiple federal agencies, most notably leadership roles with the Internal Revenue Service and the General Accountability Office.  He led the establishment of the IRS Office of Program Evaluation and Risk Analysis, which serves as the Commissioner’s internal consulting office.  He had three stints (in the 1970s, 1990s and 2000s) with the House Appropriations Committee as part of the Surveys and Investigations staff.

His initial retirement from the federal government was short-lived as he joined Deloitte Consulting to continue his work in tax administration and policy.  After a few years, his sense of public service brought him back to the IRS to finish his career where he served as a Senior Advisor to the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner. Even in retirement, he remained engaged in public policy through active leadership with the Bretton Woods Committee and as a member of an IMF mission to China in 2018.  Each morning was dedicated to four newspapers—print edition please—and countless hours of C-SPAN, C-SPAN2, and even C-SPAN3.

His significant dedication and contributions were recognized by his team, peers, and agency leadership throughout his career, including his receiving the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive in 2005, which is awarded to senior government officials for sustained exceptional performance.  His proudest accomplishment, however, was always the success of his colleagues and the role—large and small—he played in helping so many careers.  He loved mentoring and supporting through words of advice, often captured in long notes full of encouragement, humor, praise, and lots of punctuation…

Mark enjoyed all forms of live entertainment, from world-renown speakers and musicians to street performers. He regularly attended lectures, concerts, plays, symphonies, shows, and movies. Mark also enjoyed traveling from Ocean City and Alaska to the Great Wall of China and the Panama Canal.  The joy multiplied when it included taking his grandchildren on sightseeing trips, tours, shows, and to amusement parks.

A long-time resident of Bay Hills in Arnold, he was an active community volunteer including the Bay Hills Swim Team, Special Olympics, Broadneck Bruins concessions, Habitat for Humanity, and the Hippodrome.  During those many years he fostered lifelong friendships playing softball, volleyball, pool, and bridge.  As a member of St Andrew by the Bay Church, he ushered for over 30 years.

   Perhaps closest to his heart, he was known by many as Coach thanks to countless years with GARCI. At the practice after every game, he handed out detailed hand-written recounts highlighting team and individual accomplishments.  A generation is now teaching their own kids the proper fundamentals of a bounce pass and hook-shot, while telling stories of behind-the-back passes and the spin shot, courtesy of Coach Gillen.  

He will be laid to rest in a private ceremony at Holy Cross cemetery.  A Funeral Mass and public memorial will be held when his life can be properly celebrated.  The family asks that any memorial contributions be made to the American Heart Association.

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