JOHN ROLAND GILLAM SR., 97, of Little Rock, Ark., was born on June 27, 1919 to the late John W. and Louise Wicker Gillam. He joined St. Bartholomew Catholic Church at an early age and was a faithful and active member until his death. He was united in holy matrimony on Jan. 9, 1941 to the late Louise Trigg Gillam for 63 years. To that union 15 children were born. He was a member of the Holy Name Society, served as an usher, pastoral council president and sang in the choir for many years. He served on the Catholic Interracial Council and was instrumental in integrating Catholic High School for Boys in 1962. He went home to be with his heavenly Father on Monday, April 24, 2017. He was preceded in death by his grandsons: Victor Shaw II, Michael Boyd; sons-in-law: Jerry Cooke, Otis Landers; sisters: Majorie McGhee, Evelyn Gardner, Equilla Gillam and Faye Gillam. He was a 1937 graduate of Dunbar High School. He worked several jobs to support his family. He was employed by the Guardian Press for a number of years (currently the Arkansas Catholic). He also worked for the United States Postal Service for over 30 years before retirement. John and Louise Gillam were awarded the Daniel Rudd Award, presented by the Council for Black Catholics in 1989 for being outstanding members of the Catholic Church. He was a volunteer basketball coach of both boys and girls teams at St. Bartholomew Catholic School for many years. He also coached youth football and girls volleyball. He is survived by his daughters: Patricia Cooke, Carolyn Lee, Frances Landers, Angela Guimont, Dorothy Gillam, Karen Billips (Lawrence), Victoria Gillam, Sherry Gillam, Marguerite Gillam and special daughter Yvette Preyer; sons, John R. Gillam Jr. (Dorothy), Michael Gillam (Aletrice), David Gillam (Sheila), Damien Gillam (Charlotte), Peter Gillam (Elaine) and Phillip Gillam (Rosalind); 47 grandchildren including 15 spouses, 66 great-grandchildren, four great-great grandchildren, and many nieces, nephews and friends. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 3, 2017, at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church, 1622 Marshall St. Little Rock, Ark. A Rosary service/visitation, will be held Tuesday, May 2, 2017, from 6-7 p.m. at Ruffin and Jarrett Funeral Home, 1200 Chester St. Little Rock, Arkansas, (501) 372-1305. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Bartholomew Catholic Church, Catholic High School for Boys or Mt. Saint Mary Academy.
Published April 30, 2017