One of the first members of PanCAN’s Survivor Council with a passion for increasing awareness in the Black community.
A 22-year pancreatic cancer survivor known for his “amazing television announcer voice” and storied career as a referee for college football.
Gil Marchman, a beloved member of the PanCAN family, was all this and more.
When he died on March 25, 2022, friends from his local PanCAN Affiliate in Chicago and others across the country joined together to honor his memory with an outpouring of remembrances and tributes. Together, their words represent just how much Gil meant to fellow survivors and families – he was a mentor, a leader, a friend to many.
His passion for raising awareness about pancreatic cancer even led him to skydiving. In 2019, at 84 years old, Gil met up with fellow survivors Roberta Luna and Susie Lemieux to “jump out of a perfectly good airplane” to celebrate his 20-year survivorship. (Read more in Roberta’s remembrance below and in a story published in 2019.)
“If jumping out of a plane will help get the word out about this disease, that’s what I’ll do,” said Gil at the time. “Pancreatic cancer is a tough disease, but developments are being made. More people need to know and talk about this disease. There is always hope.”
Gil’s commitment to give back to fellow survivors and families, his legacy of service to PanCAN, and his fierce determination to raise awareness and improve outcomes will not soon be forgotten.
Read more from members of the PanCAN family as they honor Gil’s memory:
At one of our early Survivor Council meetings, we practiced reading some PanCAN information for the media and Gil’s smooth/deep delivery always sounded like a television announcer.
Gil also was an excellent representative for the Black community and talked about ways we could bring better awareness and resources to help the community respond to pancreatic cancer.
He will definitely be missed!”
-- Dennis Cronin
-- Steve Nelson
-- Sandra Mack
-- John Walmsley
Gil loved football and was extremely proud of his accomplishments: “Big Ten Conference,” first all African American officiating crew; inducted into three football officials Hall of Fame; referee in a Rose Bowl game.
Gil’s passion was to bring awareness however possible, ‘even if it means jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, that’s what I’ll do!’ In 2019 to celebrate his 20-year survivorship Gil came from Chicago to jump with us.
When Gil was first diagnosed not much was known about pancreatic cancer or told to him. Gil shared that he always felt he got way more from the Survivor Council than he gave. He learned something new from each of us in every meeting. I learned something new from him as well -- everyone has a story and we need to look at every story with fresh eyes, listen to every story with fresh ears.
Gil was looking forward to returning this year to jump with me and celebrate my 20-year survivorship. He was with me on that day, just not exactly as planned.
I share in Gil’s wish, ‘I want to see a cure before I leave this world, so others can live without fear of pancreatic cancer.’”
-- Roberta Luna
-- Diane Borrison
-- Ralph Cheney