May 3rd, 1941–December 10th, 2020At 5:47pm on December 10, 2020, Howard Gilliam passed from this life into the arms of our Lord Jesus Christ. Howard, affectionately known as ‘Grandy’, was surrounded by many family members. His sweet wife, Nancy, spoke words of love to him as he went. Grandy was so peaceful and he did not struggle. The room was full of so much love, peace and hope. Although it came sooner than anyone hoped, this beautiful moment will be forever treasured by the family.
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
Howard Gilliam was born on May 3, 1941, to Homer and Hazel Gilliam in Fruitland, Missouri. Soon after, the family moved to Webb City, Missouri. Howard attended Webb City High School, where he also played football. After graduating from high school in 1959, Howard served our country from 1959-1963 as a SP5 E-5, driving tanks in the Missouri Army National Guard. Howard also attended welding classes. His career at Thermal Engineering spanned the better part of three decades. He was promoted to manager of the plant in Pittsburg, Kansas. He became a expert welder and was even awarded a teaching certificate from the state of Missouri for his mastery of this craft. He taught welding in evening classes for many years at Franklin Technology Center in Joplin. Howard was sent on international trips as a welding advisor: three times to Israel and once to England. After retiring, Howard also ran the Fountain of Angels at Precious Moments in Carthage, Missouri. Howard and his wife, Nancy, traveled the entire country as ambassadors for Precious Moments. Later, Howard became the first trolley driver for the Sunshine Lamp Trolley in Joplin, Missouri.
Howard married the love of his life, Nancy Mitchell Gilliam, on December 15, 1961. They had three children together: daughter, Tracy Gilliam Nichols, son, Dana Gilliam and daughter, Shannon Gilliam Woolridge. Howard is known for being a family man, who always worked hard to take care of his family. Howard loved and served the Lord. Howard and family attended First United Methodist in Joplin, Missouri, for many years. The past six years, Howard and Nancy have attended Forest Park Baptist Church. Howard had a natural charisma and made friends everywhere he went. He will also be remembered for his sense of humor and how he made everyone laugh.
Howard is preceded in death by his parents, Homer and Hazel Gilliam, his brother, Marvin Gilliam and his wife Violet Gilliam, and his sister, Merlene Gilliam Hartley.
He is survived by his wife, Nancy Mitchell Gilliam, his brother Carl Gilliam and his wife Sue Gilliam, his brother in law, David Hartley, his daughter, Tracy Gilliam Nichols and her husband, Roger Nichols of Webb City, Missouri, his son, Dana Gilliam of Springfield, Missouri, and his daughter, Shannon Gilliam Woolridge and her husband Jarett Woolridge, his seven grandchildren: Jackie Nichols Peters and her husband Lee Peters, Jodie Nichols Reed, and her husband Dustin Reed, Mitchell Woolridge and his wife Hannah Woolridge, Riley Woolridge and his wife Sarah Woolridge, Courtney Gilliam, Hayden McGlumphry and her husband Ethan McGlumphry, and Mason Gilliam, and his six great-grandchildren: Adelaide Peters, Lucy Craddock Reed, Vivienne Peters, Quincy Peters, Gabriel Reed and Felicity Peters.
Howard ‘Grandy’ is in heaven! He is free of pain. He will never again be touched by sickness, sadness, or grief. The family would love for you to know that this hope can be yours, too. If you don’t have this blessed assurance of a secure future Through faith in Jesus, the family would be honored to introduce you to Him!
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8
The graveside service is Monday, December 14, 2020 at 1:00pm at Ozark Memorial Park Cemetery in Joplin, Missouri. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Forest Park Church, designated to Operation Christmas Child in care of the mortuary or at http://www.forestpark.church.