Memorial Services were held February 23rd at Fort Gibson Baptist Church for Bill Gilliam who was born to Thomas Franklin and Dorothy Louise Gage Gilliam on April 6, 1951 and passed away Feb. 20, 2013 at the age of 61. He was the sixth of what was to become a family of nine children. He had a happy and agreeable personality as a baby that served him well throughout his life. He was borrowed by neighbors and his mother would have to call and say ‘Please bring my baby home,’ but they would delay until they knew his mother would soon be coming after her baby. You always knew to be careful when he asked you to do something. He was a trickster and would work hours on his next prank. His family had one story they couldn’t resist telling on Bill.
He stuck eight pop bottles on his fingers, hopped on his pony and off to the store to sell them. At five cents each he was going to have forty cents, and that meant several candy bars and a bottle of pop. When he got to Perkins Corner a mile away his fingers had swollen and the bottles had to be broken off.
Bill was saved at Crescent Valley Baptist Church at a young age. When Pastor Fred Riser asked him questions like “Are you going to grow up and be a preacher like your grandfather?” Bill shook his head ‘yes’ with a wide grin on his face. By the time the questions were over and Bill stopped shaking his head yes, his smile was from ear to ear, and the church members were in an uproar clapping and praising God. It was a glorious time that many remember to this day.
Bill graduated from Fort Gibson High School and Northeastern State University at Tahlequah with a Bachelor of Science Degree and Secondary Education.
When Bill was about twelve he began to show an interest in guitar. It soon became obvious that not only was his talent in playing a guitar but he could play any instrument. His brother in-law, Charles Dause once remarked while others were struggling to learn chords, Bill took off playing like a professional. He began his career playing music locally with friends Bobby Lee Carden, Maurice Willis, Ginger Dunn, Kenny Hale, George Guinn and many others we know we’ve failed to mention. Bill with some of his friends began to travel all over the US and Hawaii playing with many well known musicians. He finally settled down with his own place called
“Mine and Yours” in Bay Town, TX where he played with his friend Steve Shirey. He returned home to the family Cherokee allotment in 1987 and began playing when he could with his old friends. Bill was a talented wood artist and flint knapper. He liked to make bow and arrows, flutes and pipes. An avid sportsman he loved the outdoors and when he retired from Fort James he spent many hours working on his tractor. He often said “anything off of his tractor was work!”
He married Diane Wingate in 1987 and two lovely children were born from this union, Cody who lives at Coldsprings Texas and Carleigh who lives in Muskogee, Oklahoma.
Left to cherish his memory and tender heart are his children, Andy Goad his companion of 14 years, his mother Dorothy Gilliam of Fort Gibson, six sisters and their husbands. Peggy and Bob McClellan, Frankie Sue Gilliam, Linda and Dave Norfolk, Donna Lenon, June and Art Box, Pat and Gary Stewart. One brother and his wife, Ronnie and Linda Sue Gilliam. Also many dear nieces and nephews, cousins and friends.
He was preceded in death by his father, Thomas Franklin Gilliam, his sister Barbara Dause, two nephews, Scott and Jeff Gibbons. His grandparents the Reverend Lloyd and Sarah Gilliam and William and Sena Ann Gage.
Going home services were led by Brother Danny Gandara pastor First Baptist Church of Fort Gibson, and Bill’s friend Steve Shirey who is now an evangelist. Music was provided by Steve and Butch Cook.
Pallbearers were Andrew Mason, Fred Kiddie, Mike Dause, Mark Gibbons, Roger Coombes and Steve Shirey. Honorary Pallbearers were Bobby Lee Carden, Kenny Hale, Ronnie Gilliam, John Marsden, and Gary Stewart.
Burial services led by Butch Cook were held at Starnes Cemetery five miles east of Fort Gibson.