On January 29, 2019, at the age of 96, Mary LaWanda Gilliam was welcomed by her Lord and reunited with the love of her life, Bryan Gilliam. She was preceded in death in 2001 by Bryan, her husband of 54 years and her daughter, Jill (Gilliam) Batchelor, in 2013. Also, she was preceded in death by her parents Truman Lincoln and Irma Elmore Hamilton; her sisters, Lerlene Oehler, LaNell Hill; and brothers, T.L.. Hamilton, Jr., and Edward H. Hamilton. She is survived by her son, Gary and wife, Debby of Midland, TX, and Tim and wife, Phyllis of Crosby, TX. She is also survived by 7 grandchildren: Jeremy Gilliam, Ashley (Gilliam) Smith, Julie (Gilliam) Scheers, Collin Gilliam, Joshua Gilliam, Brett Batchelor and Brad Batchelor; and 14 great grandchildren.
LaWanda was born in Abilene, Texas, on September 14, 1922, to Truman and Irma Hamilton. She graduated from Abilene High School in 1940 and attended McMurray College in Abilene from 1940-1944. She graduated with a double major in Elementary Education and Spanish. Her college was paid for by her dad providing milk to McMurray College from the Hamilton Dairy. Upon graduation, she taught in Menard for 1 year and in Ballinger for 2 years. She went on her first date with Bryan the last week of school in May, 1947, and they were married September 5, 1947, in the Evangelical Methodist Church in Abilene, with Dr. J. H. Hamblen officiating. They spent their honeymoon at Pikes Peak in Colorado and then made their home in Ballinger, TX, where Gary and Tim were born.
Bryan and LaWanda moved to Abilene in 1952 to help work the dairy when Truman, her father, got sick with emphysema and passed away. In 1955, Jill was born. They ran the dairy, which produced raw milk, for 6 years. They sold off all the cows and closed the dairy when the government brought in homogenization and shut down the selling of raw milk to the public.
LaWanda taught school in Junction for 23 years in the 3rd and 4th grades. For several years she was both a classroom teacher and elementary school principal simultaneously. She enjoyed many close relationships with the ladies in the Leti Study Club. For 51 years she was very active in First Baptist Church of Junction, serving as Sunday School Superintendent, Children's Department Director or Teacher, VBS worker, Children's Choir helper or in the Church Bus ministry. She continued teaching Vacation Bible School until the age of 86.
Everyone who knew her would agree that LaWanda was a devoted and faithful wife, a caring, loving, and committed mother, and a very thankful proud grandmother. Each summer, the grandchildren loved to go visit for a week at Grandmother and Granddaddy's. She had somewhere planned to go or something to do with them when each group came to visit. Some of the grandchildren's favorite memories involved visiting the dinosaur tracks, learning to skip rocks at Flat Rock, and playing cards and dominoes.
Serving as honorary pallbearers are LaWanda's grandsons. A celebration memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, February 2, 2019, at First Baptist Church Junction, with Charles Hagood officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family desires memorial contributions be sent to First Baptist Church Junction, 202 South 8th Street, Junction, TX. 76849.
The family wishes to extend its sincere appreciation to the caregivers of Presbyterian Manor of Wichita Falls and Hospice of Wichita Falls for their devoted service and loving care of their mother and grandmother.
Arrangements are under the direction and personal care of the professionals at Kimble Funeral Home. (325) 446-3076
First Baptist Church
202 S. 8th St.
Junction, TX 76849
Saturday, February 2, 2019
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Junction City Cemetery
Highway 377 South
Junction, TX 76849
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