SOMERS POINT — James Gillian, the oldest son of a former Ocean City mayor and a brother of the current Ocean City mayor, died Wednesday after a long illness at the age of 57.

He was a 1974 graduate of Ocean City High School.

Gillian, the oldest of four brothers, owned Gillian’s Island Waterpark on the Ocean City Boardwalk for 25 years before the property was sold last month. Until the last eight years, he was partners in the park with his brothers Steve and Jay.

“That waterpark was his pride and joy,” Jay Gillian said Wednesday afternoon. “That was his idea. The waterpark was his dream.”

The Gillian family has been among prominent Ocean City Boardwalk businessmen for three generations, starting with David Gillian in 1929. Jay Gillian, the youngest brother and current mayor of the town, continues the family tradition of a Boardwalk business with Gillian’s Wonderland.

Gillian’s father, Roy, was mayor of Ocean City from 1986-90. Jay Gillian is currently running for re-election to a second term as mayor of America’s Greatest Family Resort.

James Gillian is predeceased by his brother, John.

Contact Cindy Nevitt:


Senior copy editor for the Press of Atlantic City. Have worked as a reporter, copy editor and news editor with the paper since 1985. A graduate of the University of Delaware.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.