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Obituaries » Mr. John W. Gilliam

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Mr. John W. Gilliam

January 6, 1962 - March 7, 2021

Burial Date March 13, 2021

Funeral Home W. J. Gist Memorial Chapel

Interment Heritage Memorial Garden

Church W. J. Gist Memorial Chapel

Friday (03/12): Public Viewing – 1PM to 7pm; W. J. Gist Memorial Chapel

Saturday (03/13): Graveside Service and Interment – 3PM; Heritage Memorial Garden


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The graveside funeral service for Mr. John W. Gilliam will be live-cast on Zoom and Facebook.

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John William Gilliam, 59, of 116 Jay Circle, Moore, SC, transitioned to his Heavenly Home on Sunday, March 7, 2021 surrounded by his loving family. He was the son of James R. Gilliam Sr (The Late Gennie B. Downs Gilliam) and Iola M. Gilliam.

John was born January 6, 1962 in the Commonwealth of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He joins in abiding rest with his birth mother, Mrs. Gennie Bell Downs Gilliam and his infant sister, Caroline Gilliam.

John spent his formative years being a part of church Sunday School, Junior Usher Board, community activities exercising his athletic ability in Little League baseball, football, basketball and family competitive conversations and feats at family gatherings.

As a young adult, John was an outstanding football and basketball player at Woodruff Junior High and Senior High School.

John professed his belief in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ at a very young age and has been a member of New Bethel Baptist Church, Woodruff, SC since his childhood.

John graduated from Woodruff High School, Spartanburg County District 4 in 1981, and played an instrumental part in the success of the outstanding Woodruff High School football athletic legendary championships.

Immediately after high school, he attended Spartanburg Methodist College and later became a student at Claflin University, Orangeburg, SC, where he earned the Bachelor of Science Degree in Education.

During his educational journey at Claflin University, John became a member of the distinguished Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, and also became a member of the Blue Lodge Masonry. He was employed in Spartanburg Industries for over 34 years including having spent the last 13 years at Sew EuroDrive Company.

Left to celebrate his life and cherish his loving memory along with his surviving parents are two daughters: Jonnequa K. Gilliam of Greenville, SC and Jonbenet K. Gilliam of Spartanburg, SC; one grandson, Kingston Davis; four brothers: James R. Gilliam, Jr. (Yvonne) of Spartanburg, SC, Ricky Gilliam (Bridget) of Duncan, SC, Anthony Q. Gilliam (Teresa) of Spartanburg, SC, and Reginal T. Gilliam (Nesa) of Durham, NC; one special cousin: Donald Jones of Spartanburg, SC and devoted friends, Charles Heyward and Audrey Gilliam; nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, in-laws, classmates and friends.

Family and friends will forever cling to loving memories of John in many activities including: getting to have the last word in a sports arguments because he had the loudest voice and he was the tallest; teaching his 3 year old grandson to play catch and bragging on his pitching arm; parading his daughters in Father-Daughter Pageantry; lending a strong arm to parents cultivating the lawn; his keen interest and love for family and family history of old home places (Woodruff! Enoree! Clover!).

John was known to just be a listening ear when you called. He was a hardworking man who always thought to put his family first, and himself last. He raised his daughters to be the women they are, being he cherished them the most. He will forever be a testimony to others to be strong and keep the faith. 

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