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James Russell Gilliam Sr.

February 28, 1935 - January 2, 2022

Burial Date January 8, 2022

Funeral Home W. J. Gist Mortuary

Interment Heritage Memorial Garden

Church New Bethel Baptist Church

Saturday (01/08): Funeral Service – 12PM; New Bethel Baptist Church; Interment – Heritage Memorial Garden


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Mr. James R. Gilliam, Sr., of 116 Jay Circle, Moore, South Carolina, went home to be with the Lord on January 2, 2022.  He was surrounded by his loving family at Spartanburg Regional medical Center.   He was the son of the late Mrs. Lillian Gilliam Stevenson and the late Mr. John W. Fant.  James was born February 28, 1935 in Woodruff, South Carolina. 

He was a faithful lifetime member of New Bethel Baptist Church where he served as an Usher, Men’s Sunday school Class devotion leader, Member of The Men’s Choir and Sanctuary Choir, Trustee and former Chairman of Deacons under the leadership of the late former Pastors Rev. Samuel W. Farr and Rev. Lawrence R. Meadows.  He was a sounding board for the young people in church ministry.  He coached Little League football, baseball, and basketball.  He was a certified baseball referee for community sports.  These engagements allowed him to gained many bonus sons and daughters in the church and the community.

James was a 1954 graduate of New Bethel High School where he enjoyed displaying his athletic and artistic abilities.¬† The mid nineties New Bethel High School football statistics supports his claims that he was the ‚ÄúDefensive End‚ÄĚ on the total family Gilliam line (of cousins) whose team had much success. ¬†Being named class artist and leaving a fingerprint of his drawing in the class yearbook brought him a lifetime of joy! James also attended USC Upstate for two years.

James enlisted and served in the U.S. Navy for three years.  He and his first wife, the Late Mrs. Gennie Belle D. Gilliam, moved to Philadelphia and later returned to Woodruff.  He attended USC Upstate for two years and retired from Spartanburg Steele Products after thirty years.

James was predeceased by his son, John William Gilliam. His precious memories will be cherished by his devoted wife of fifty years, Iola M. Gilliam, of the home; four sons: James R. Gilliam, Jr., (Yvonne) of Spartanburg, Ricky Gilliam (Bridget) of Duncan, Anthony Q. Gilliam, (Teresa) of Spartanburg, Reginald Travis Gilliam (Nesa) of Durham, NC.  Nine Grandchildren: Dantavious Greene, Jessica Gilliam, Alexis Coe (Brenton), Leha Gilliam, Jonnequa Gilliam, Destini Gilliam, Jonbonet Gilliam, Anthony Q. Gilliam, Jr., Chase Avery Gilliam;   four Great-Grand Children.  One Sister, Rosa Stevenson, Laurens, SC; three brothers DeGrant Stevenson (Rosa Mae) of Woodruff; John Rice (Matilda) of Clinton, SC; Russell Stevenson of Enoree, SC; two sisters-in-law, Doris Williams of Gastonia, NC, Brenda McGill of Virginia Beach, VA  and three brothers-in-law, Frank McClure of Gastonia, NC, Richard McClure (Susie) of Kings Mountian, NC, Sam McClure (Shirley) of Columbia, SC.  A host of loving nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.  Special Cousins: Geraldine Cook and Henrietta Browning.

We are thankful for the dedicated Caregivers:  Dr. Eric Norton and the Medical Group of the Carolinas; Spartanburg Regional Medical Center; and Carolina Dialysis.

We will remember the storytelling of his family history, other interesting life adventures, and his way of making all feel special.   Rest well good and faithful servant!

The funeral service can be viewed on Facebook, just tap or click the following link:

https://www.facebook.com/wjgist/events

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