Rodney and Angela Gillespie recently celebrated their twenty years of marriage. — SUBMITTED PHOTO
On their journey in marriage, Rodney and Angela Gillespie were blessed with two beautiful daughters, Jasmyn A. Gillespie born in Seattle and Jaida A. Gillespie born in West Chester. The family is shown in London where they currently reside. — SUBMITTED PHOTO
Rodney L. and Angela P. Gillespie have touched the hearts of many in the Philadelphia region as a loving couple, family and vibrant members of the community.
The couple celebrated twenty years of marriage on May 6, 2014 and were married on that date in 1994 in a beautiful wedding ceremony at Second Baptist Church in Perth Amboy, N.J. Their Senior Pastor, Bishop Donald Hilliard Jr. officiated the wedding with their close friend and pastor Dr. Terry Richardson, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in South Orange, N.J.
Rodney and Angela’s union was witnessed by 10 bridesmaids, 10 groomsmen, 2 junior bridesmaids, flower girl, ring bearer and 220 family members and close friends.
Rodney L. Gillespie grew up in Englewood, N.J. and graduated from Dwight Morrow High School. He earned his bachelor's degree in Commerce and Engineering from Drexel University in Philadelphia and his MBA from the University of Washington in Seattle.
The former Angela Pulliam grew up in Newark, N.J. and graduated from the distinguished Science High School there, where she was a track and field star for Newark, Central. Angela earned her bachelor's degree in Business Management from Morgan State University in Baltimore where she attended their NCAA Division I program on a full track and field scholarship.
In fact, it was Morgan State University that played a huge role in bringing the two together. Rodney’s best friend from childhood, Torrance Foster attended Morgan State with Angela and along with Amelia Winfree, introduced the couple post graduation.
As Rodney said, “It was love at first sight” and that was the beginning of their amazing and beautiful journey. Angela stated, “She was capable of committing herself to Rodney for the rest of her life when they first met.” She never told him until they were married because she, “Was afraid it would scare him away.”
Following their marriage, Rodney and Angela verbally agreed to support whomever’s career took off first. Within their first year of marriage, at the young age of 27, both of them without hesitation said yes to their first corporate relocation from Central N.J. to Seattle in 1996. Rodney’s career sparked their relocation journey that continued to Northern Virginia, Exton, Southern California, back east to Chadds Ford and currently across the pond to London.
On their journey and their happy marriage, they were blessed with two beautiful daughters; Jasmyn A. Gillespie born in Seattle and Jaida A. Gillespie born in West Chester. Jasmyn, 17, is a rising senior at ACS Egham International School in the United Kingdom and Jaida is a rising 7th grader who also attends ACS Egham International School.
Rodney and Angela shared four key elements that have contributed to their successful marriage: The first was pre-marital counseling.
“We laid it all on the cross," they said. "Our skeletons and family secrets were exposed and discussed. We went into this marriage with our eyes wide open including knowing each other’s health and financial history. Rodney had student loan debt and Angela was fortunate not to have any debt due her athletic scholarship. Our marriage counselor, minister Denise Reed advised Angela that once they were married Rodney’s debt would also be her debt. She also had us do a genealogy of our parents and grand-parents relationship, the current status of their marriage and whether they were married, separated or divorced. This helped us to visually see the generational cycle and legacy of marriage on both sides of our families.”
The second is their adherence to the Bible Scripture, Ruth 1:16.
“Wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God."
“We made this vow to each other during our marriage ceremony and boy did God have us live up to it," the couple said. "We kept going back to this scripture as we made key decisions regarding our career and family. Rodney’s career took off and the amazing opportunities afforded us domestic and international relocation.”
The third is a vow of commitment to our marriage made before God.
“We have had a wonderful marriage but it hasn’t been a perfect marriage. The biggest difference is that we believed whole heartily in the commitment we made before God. During the good times and the challenging times we hung onto the commitment of our marriage vows and just like anything you are committed to, we worked hard at it." Rodney stated. “I have worked hard throughout my career to be successful and I will work even harder to have a successful marriage. Angela has been a phenomenal wife and mother and is amazing. She deserves my energy, love, support and commitment and I know I deserve hers.”
The fourth is learning and growing from family and friends who experience great marriages.
“On our domestic and international journey, we have always become good friends with great couples," Rodney and Angela said. "We have learned from good marriages as well as those that have not endured. In the Philadelphia area we spent most of our time with people who had strong, loving relationships and we learned a lot from each of them. The Rodericks, Pullians, Salleys, Franklins, Andersons, Taylors, Hamers, MacFarlanes, Ramseys, Ndiayes and Whites are among those positive couples."
Rodney and Angela have always been committed to helping and serving others. Rodney sits on the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Advisory board and is a past board member of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, where he served as secretary until his relocation to London. Rodney is also an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and the Commissioners, a longstanding Philadelphia social organization. He is currently an executive with a large pharmaceutical company based in the Philadelphia area.
Angela is a life time member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and was recently inducted into the Newark, N.J. Athletic Hall of Fame. She is also a member of Jack and Jill of America Inc., where she has served in numerous leadership roles and has helped to establish a legacy for the Chester County Chapter. Angela is currently a stay-at-home mom, focused on the health and well being of her family.
Rodney and Angela are looking forward to the next 20 years of marriage as they continue to hold onto their faith, goals and dreams which will allow them to stretch and grow.
Their motto is, “Always be willing to grow. If you are not uncomfortable, you are not growing!”
Congratulations and very best wishes are extended to Mr. And Mrs. Rodney L. Gillespie!