Phyllis Juanita Gillam
Phyllis J. Gillam died peacefully on November 11, 2022, at the age of 96. In the long, loving and amazing life she lived, Phyllis graced the lives of all who knew and loved her. Her love of family, abiding faith, southern grace and hospitality were synonymous to her life. She will be profoundly missed. Phyllis was born in Victoria, Virginia, to Arthur and Clara (Scott) Johnson on August 17, 1926. She graduated from Victoria High in 1943 at the age of 16 and worked for Virginia Electric Power Company. While vacationing with girlfriends in Virginia Beach on V-J Day 1945, Phyllis met the love of her life, Lt. (j.g.) Ivan V. Gillam, Jr. (Van). He was a Navy officer from Oregon stationed near Virginia Beach. After his return from service in the Pacific, they married in Victoria, Virginia, on July 13, 1946. The newlyweds honeymooned on board the Canadian Pacific Railroad across Canada, returning to Gladstone, Oregon. While Van was in his senior year at Lewis and Clark College, Phyllis worked at Meier and Frank department store in Portland. After graduation, he started his first teaching job in Carlton, and she began a new role as mother to son Gary in 1947. They returned to Virginia in 1948, where Van enrolled in a master's degree program at William & Mary College. Phyllis was a very busy mom that summer when their daughter Gayle was Virginia born. She and the children resided with her parents at her childhood home in Victoria during that time. In 1949, the Gillam family moved back to Oregon. They soon settled in Gresham while Van taught at Gresham High. Their son Ken was born in 1952. In 2017, due to Van's health, they moved from their home to Gresham's Courtyard Fountains Assisted Living. A continuation of their long and devoted marriage of over 71 years was celebrated until his passing April 8, 2018. Phyllis was a valued member of Gresham and Rockwood United Methodist churches for 72 years. She enjoyed active church life on various circles and committees, Bible study and assisting with many successful events. After years as a homemaker, Phyllis returned to work as secretary of Gresham United Methodist Church in the early 60's. She later became treasurer at Centennial High School, retiring in 1977. Retired life as cherished Grandma/Nana, family time and travels with Van offered true happiness. Ladies bridge, monthly couples bridge potlucks, Bluebird/Camp Fire assistant leader, Cub Scout Den Mother, League of Women Voters and working at her precinct on election days were great enjoyments and contributions of Phyllis. Her skills as an excellent cook and hostess were appreciated by all. Trips back to her beloved Virginia to reunite with family, vacations at Black Butte Ranch, ocean stays and snowbirding in Borrego Springs, California, were cherished. Phyllis enjoyed music and concerts, watching the Ducks, Beavers, Blazers, Mariners and Seahawks play while wearing team colors on gamedays. She relished Kohl's 30% coupons searching for perfect grandchildren and great (great-great) grandchildren gifts. Involvement and daily updates of the family gave her enormous joy and pride. Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents, brothers Kenneth and Edward Johnson, sister Shirley J. Chappell and beloved husband Van. She is survived by her devoted children; sons Gary (Cindy) Gillam of Gearhart, Ken Gillam of Gresham, and daughter Gayle (Chris) Marshall of Olalla, Washington. Our nightly calls with her are now a painful void. Phyllis is lovingly survived by seven grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren, three great-great grandchildren, nephews (great), nieces (great) and dear cousins. Committal Service for the family is November 28, 2022, 12:30 p.m. at Willamette National Cemetery. A Memorial Service will be at Gresham United Methodist Church, 620 NW 8th Street, Gresham, Oregon on December 17, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. There will be a reception immediately following the service. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Albertina Kerr HYPERLINK "http://www.albertinakerr.org"www.albertinakerr.org in memory of Phyllis.