Mrs. Lelia Esther Walker Gilliam, age 93, of Old Fort, passed away peacefully at her home on Thursday, October 24, 2019. Lelia was born in Old Fort on March 8, 1926 to the late Jonathan P. Walker and Amanda Burgin Walker. She was a lifelong member of Cherry Springs Baptist Church and served there in many capacities, most notably as the church clerk and as a Sunday School teacher. Lelia also helped at Painter’s Greenhouse, a job suited perfectly for her because of her love for flowers. She was an avid reader as well but what she mostly loved doing was taking care of her grandbabies, of which she had many. Her passing brings sorrow to many, yet knowing she is reunited with family who preceded her in death, and the sure knowledge that she is now in the presence of her Lord and Savior does soften the pain of loss. Her husband of 43 years, Ralph T. Gilliam, preceded her in death as did five sisters, 3 brothers, a grandson, Derek Gilliam, and a great-granddaughter, Emory Gilliam.
She leaves behind nine children, Audrey Stroud (Junior), Dale Gilliam (Marie), Marcia Metcalf, Hugh Gilliam (Julie), Brian Gilliam (Pat), Norma Sanford (David), Rev. Gene Gilliam (Teresa), Cecilia Fogerty (Kevin), and Daphne Daniels (Greg); two brothers, Raymond Walker (Linda) and Kenneth Walker (Sheena); twenty-two grandchildren, thirty-one great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.
A funeral service will take place on Sunday, October 27, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. at Cherry Springs Baptist Church with Rev. Marty Conner and Rev. Gene Gilliam officiating. The family will receive friends Saturday, October 26, 2019 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Westmoreland Funeral Service in Old Fort where the body will remain until place in the church 30 minutes prior to the service. Burial will follow in the church cemetery where she will be laid to rest beside her beloved Ralph. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Gideon’s International at PO Box 1788, Marion, NC 28752.
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