Doug’s father, Lucky Vorpahl, entered Gill’s life in 1941 while Gill was serving as a surgeon at Majors Army Airfield in Greenville, Texas. Though Lucky had no medical training, Gill made it a point to keep him in his medical detachment, even promoting him so the Army wouldn’t transfer him to another base. The reason? He wanted Lucky, an excellent athlete in his own right, to play on his intersquad sports teams, especially basketball.
After Gill retired from the Army, the two remained close even as Lucky started a family and Gill focused on his medical practice in Corpus Christi, specializing in eye, ear, nose and throat care. Gill served as pseudo-grandfather for the six Vorpahl children, Doug included, though he never had kids himself.
Gill was always humble despite his campus fame, never demanding recognition but still enjoying the tradition his actions created. “He just thought it was something any Aggie would have done,” Doug said.