Gilles Verboom

March 26, 1945 --March 29, 2024

Dr. Gilles Marie-Louis Verboom, PhD

March 26, 1945 – March 29, 2024

TOWN OF CALEDONIA– Gilles “The Frenchman” Verboom passed away peacefully at St. Clare Hospital on March 29, 2024, on Good Friday and just days following his 79th birthday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Born in Paris, France and raised for a time in Morocco, Gilles received an Engineering Degree from the University of Toulouse, France in 1969 and then emigrated to the U.S. to continue his studies at the University of Minnesota where he completed a master’s degree in 1971 and met his bride, Ronni Sue Verboom while living in the French speaking dorms. Together they started a family, and he earned a PhD in Physical Chemistry in 1978 at the University of Nebraska, where he took a class taught by his father-in-law and received his only B.

Gilles was a well-respected research scientist in the field of surfactants for a majority of his career and later was a highly regarded scientist in the cosmetics industry. His innovations led to 12 U.S. patents and over 100 international patents, including a variety of hair care products and cleaning pads.

When he wasn’t working or raising his family, Gilles was passionate about downhill skiing, becoming a Level 2 Certified Ski Instructor and teaching for over 25 years at Wilmot and Cascade Mountain ski areas in WI. He also loved sailing, kayaking, cycling, playing bridge, domestic and international travel, Looney-Tunes cartoons, Sci-Fi and had a deep devotion to his wife, children, grandchildren and family fur-babies including Curly, Tabby, Snowy, Corky, Dallas, and Boomer.

Gilles is survived by his wife of almost 54 years, Pastor Ronni Sue (Looker) and children, Denis (Bobby) Jones-Verboom of Rockford, IL; Dr. Natalie (Erik) Luhtala PhD of La Jolla, CA; Andrea (Andrew) Haan of Green Oaks, IL; Julien (Vicki) Verboom of Geneva, IL; three grandchildren David Gilles Anthony Verboom, Nicholas Patrick Haan and Jacob Andrew Haan; sister-in-law Claude Verboom; brother and sister-in-law Dan and Joan Looker, nieces and nephews, Julie (Gilles) DeCevins, Philippe Verboom, Colleen (Brad Foxhoven) Looker, Maureen (Steve) Kieffer, Nate (Juliana) Looker and their loving families. Gilles was preceded in death by his parents, Jacques and Marie-Louise Verboom, mother and father-in-law, Ellen and James Looker, his brother Christian Verboom, son-in-law Gavin Kessler and daughter-in-law Sarah Hixson.

A service celebrating Gilles’ life will be held at the United Methodist Church of Baraboo, 615 Broadway St., Baraboo, WI on Friday, April 5, 2024, with the visitation at 10 a.m., service at 11 a.m. and a light time of fellowship at the church immediately following. Please dress in whatever you like, remembering that Gilles loved vibrant colors. In lieu of flowers please consider making contributions in Gilles’ memory to AARP, Doctors Without Borders (Médecins sans Frontières) or plant a tree commemorating his love of the outdoors.  The Redlin-Ertz Funeral Home is assisting the family.


Kathy Haan - Hall and Steve Hall April 01, 2024

Andrews mom - Andrea mother in law Ft Myers , Florida

Our sincerest condolences for you at this time. You have our deepest sympathy and unwavering support. Wishing you peace, comfort, courage, and lots of love at this time of sorrow. Our heart goes out to you at this difficult time. Love Mom and Steve

MARGARET HAEFER April 02, 2024

friend REEDSBURG , Wisconsin

Just like so many friends , I met Gilles at the card table. So sorry for all of you.

JanLynn Druce Jones April 01, 2024

Friend Rockford , Illinois

My thoughts and prayers are with you as you continue to grieve the loss of Gilles. May the journey bring laughter from fond memories even in depths of your sorrow. I will hold dear the memories of his joyful spirit, infectious smile, zest for life, and caring heart. There is an Eskimo legend that states "Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in the Heavens where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy. " I pray you find solace knowing that Gilles is happy and at peace walking beside the Creator pouring out his love to you.

Kevin and Melanie Ulm April 02, 2024

friend Mount Pleasant , South Carolina

thinking about you Julien and family – our deepest condolences and you are all in our prayers.

Denis & Bobby Jones-Verboom April 01, 2024

Son & Son-in-Law Rockford , Illinois

We would like to thank my Dad for being so loving and accepting of all his In-Law children, and always being there when he was needed. We also extend our sympathy to all of our extended family and all of the people who were touched by his music, laughter and adventurous character. He will be missed by so many, but we all will carry him in our hearts forever.

Tom Sentowski April 03, 2024

Acquaintance Portage , Wisconsin

Ronni. I'm sorry to hear of Gilles passing. He was so happy to see my dog Gus at Silver Lake when you both went kayaking. We'll think of him when we're there. Tom Sentowski & Gus

Lance and Christy Klobach April 04, 2024

Friends Willowbrook , Illinois

Deeply sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family.

Shellie Fahy April 06, 2024

Family friend Libertyville

Ronni, You and Gilles will always be the chalet where our son fell in love with skiing, with a strong push from Andrea. Your open home policy is inspirational and the legacy you built will live on far beyond us all. Sending our deepest condolences and gratitude for our friendship with your amazing family. God bless. Shellie, Darrin, Ivey & Ronan