We all lost an amazing man and true cowboy this past week. Leroy Gilton went to be with the Lord on March 22, 2023 at the age of 92. Leroy was a bright and happy spirit that loved spending time with his family and friends laughing and telling stories. He had great pride in life and was modest about his accomplishments. He told stories about how him and his brother used to drive door to door picking up trash in their pickup truck from homes, which was the beginning of the company we all know today as Gilton Solid Waste. He remained active, even in his older days. He and his wife Vicki loved to camp and did so often with their camping group and family. He was well known as a cowboy for hopping on his horse and cattle penning and his involvement in the Oakdale Saddle Club. When he wasn’t meeting friends for breakfast at Cindy’s, driving by to spend his time in retirement saying hello to his friends at the transfer station, or out playing around, he was sure to spend time with his kids and grandchildren, whenever was possible, watching them play their sports and cheering them on. Most of all he loved his wife, Vicki Gilton and they spent the last 25 years enjoying travels, events, family and life together. Overall, Leroy had the kindest heart and just loved being with his people and horses. He will be missed dearly by many.
Leroy Gilton was under the care of hospice, surrounded by family in his final days. He was born to Tedford and Maggie Gilton in Hominy, Osage County, Oklahoma and was the second youngest of their 10 children. His siblings Pauline Owens, Jerraldine Potter, Hershel Gilton, Leonard Gilton, Milford Gilton, Sterling Gilton, Darlene Adams, Baxter Gilton, Eugene Gilton preceded him in death and he was the last one to join his parents and all his siblings in heaven.
When Leroy was 8 years old he moved with his family in 1938 from Oklahoma to Mesa, AZ. In 1940, he then moved with the family to a place near Corcoran, CA. Then in 1941 the family moved to Stanislaus County eventually settling in the airport district of Modesto, CA. Some of the Gilton family that moved to Modesto worked for various farmers and ranchers in the area. Leroy’s parents, Tedford and Maggie started the Airport Garbage Company in 1947. Over the next several years, members of the Gilton family worked with their parents in the garbage business. In 1962 Tedford and Maggie retired and two of the Gilton brothers, Leroy and his younger brother Eugene took over the business. During their ownership, the Airport garbage company grew into a regional waste management business and in 1980 incorporated as Gilton Solid Waste Management. The Gilton brothers also developed recycling operations for paper, cardboard and various other products. In July 1996 Leroy and Eugene both retired. They sold and passed the torch of the Gilton Solid Waste business to Leroy’s two daughters, Donna and Karen and Eugene’s two sons Richard and Tedford, where it continues to this day.
Leroy is survived by his wife Vicki Gilton, daughters Karen (Ben) Hardister, Donna Love, step-sons Travis (Janelle) Hawkins, Tyler (Cydney) Hawkins, Troy (Marissa) Hawkins, step-daughter Traci (Anthony) Secrest, grandchildren Randi Silva, Ronny Silva, Raquel (Ian) Sanders, Cori (Christian) Huang, Sam (Carin) Love, Aiden, Leila, Gavin, Lily, Austin, Brooklyn, Jett, and Kru Hawkins, and Kaydence Secrest along with 16 great grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.
Services will be held for Leroy on April 1, 2023 at 10 a.m. at Salas Brothers Funeral Home - Modesto, followed by Lakewood Memorial Park - Hughson for burial and then The House (Church) - Modesto for celebration of life.
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
The Riverbank (Calif.) News
March 29, 2023