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Longtime attorney Gignilliat dies at 90
William R. “Bill” Gignilliat - photo by Times file photo

William R. "Bill" Gignilliat, a retired Gainesville attorney, died Saturday following an extended illness. He was 90.

Gignilliat was a partner in the firm that was known at the time as Whelchel, Dunlap and Gignilliat. Following a merger, the firm is now known as Whelchel, Dunlap, Jarrard and Walker.

Gignilliat joined the firm with his friend, James A. "Bubba" Dunlap, who was an organizer of Home Federal Savings & Loan Association. Gignilliat spent much of his career as a title and closing attorney for the savings institution, which later became a bank and subsequently merged with what is now SunTrust.

"He was a good person and was active in his church and the community," said William A. "Dub" Bagwell, a partner in the law firm.

A World War II veteran, Gignilliat served in the U.S. Army and participated in the Allied D-Day invasion of France.

He was an active layman of Grace Episcopal Church and part of a ministry that built a home for a family before Habitat for Humanity was established in Hall County.

"Bill came to Gainesville in 1950 and has been a member of Grace Church since that time," said the Very Rev. Doug Dailey, rector of the church.

"He was key person here in all facets of church life. He had a particular concern about the church’s outreach work and volunteered with Good News at Noon."

Gignilliat also served as the unofficial historian of his church.

During the 1970s, when the Big Canoe development was being built near the line between Dawson and Pickens counties, he helped residents develop their own chapel and worship center.

He is survived by his wife, Ann, and two sons, Bill Gignilliat III of Atlanta and Charles Gignilliat of Hiawassee. Seven grandchildren also survive.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Grace Episcopal Church.