Tracey Spear Gillies BARRE — Tracey Ann Spear Gillies, 61, of Barre, died on March 30, 2019, at the UVM Medical Center, surrounded by friends and family. Tracey was born April 2, 1957, in Brattleboro, the daughter of Richard Arthur Spear and Barbara Danyew Spear. She graduated from Bellows Falls Union High School in 1975 and attended Thompson School of Practical Nursing in 1976. She later earned an Associate degree in Accounting from Champlain College. In 1980, Tracey moved to Barre where she grew her family. In 1995, Tracey married Darin Gillies at her parents’ home in Williamstown. Tracey began keeping their dogs — and occasionally, the books — at their family business, Reliance Steel in Colchester, but her official title was “Trophy Wife.” The company inspired the name of Tracey and Darin’s rat terrier breeding hobby, The Dogs of Steel. The all-consuming hobby began when Tracey saw an ad for rat terriers that reminded her of her childhood dog, Spider. Tracey and Darin showed dogs all over the East Coast, making dozens of friends along the way. In the early days, Tracey liked talking more than showing, but as a handler, she went on to defeat the pros at some big AKC events. Tracey was a collector — of dog statues, antique dog prints and as many versions of “You Are My Sunshine” as she could find — but most notably, Santas. So. Many. Santas. Christmas was her favorite time of year, especially the Christmas Eve Silly String fights, a tradition she started. But most importantly, Tracey was mother to many, not just her children and dogs but to nieces, nephews, their friends and her friends’ children. Her “kids” were her true love and greatest pride. She took great delight in their successes, and her door was always open in times of need. She is survived by her husband of 24 years, Darin Gillies; her children Abbie Treis, of Burlington, Nicholas Treis, of Winooski, and Justin Gillies, of Winooski; by her sister, Donna Spear Madore, of Barre; by her brothers Steven Spear and wife Kathy, of Utah, and Michael Spear, of Williston; by brother-in-law, Darcy and wife Elaine, of Edmonton, Alberta; by mother-in-law, Barbara Hoath, of Edmonton; by nieces and nephews Ben Madore and wife Liz, Nina Madore and husband Chris, Emily Madore and fiancé Tyler, Melissa Spear, Dr. Rebecca Spear, Mike Rizzo, Matthew Spear, Ryan Spear and Chloe Gillies; by grandnephew, Oliver Madore; and by honorary grandson, Carver Powers. She is also survived by her dearest friends Toni Collins and Charlie Hancock, Margaret Perry and her children, Bess and Vaughn Powers, Dwight and Patty Coffrin, Lexie and Dennis Blair and Chuck and Maureen Jocelyn. Tracey was predeceased by her parents and by many aunts and uncles. Even though Tracey could cry at the drop of a hat, she would much prefer we celebrate her life with laughter. A viewing will be held Wednesday, April 3, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Ready Funeral Home, 261 Shelburne Road, Burlington, followed by a reception at a location to be determined. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the American Lung Association, The Cavalry Group animal rescue, Rat Terrier ResQ or your local animal shelter.

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