Jan. 12, 1931 - Aug. 15, 2015
McCOOK, Neb. -- Joan Priscilla Hoyt Gilliam of McCook passed away Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, at Bryan LGH East in Lincoln. She was 84 years old.
Joan was born on Jan. 12, 1931, in McCook to Charles Edward and Helen Clara (Edgecombe) Hoyt. She graduated from McCook High School with the class of 1948. She continued her education at Nebraska Wesleyan and then transferred to University of Nebraska in Lincoln, graduating with distinction with a bachelor's degree in education in 1952. In the fall of 1953, she met her future husband, Merle Jay Gilliam, Jr. They were united in marriage on Aug. 26, 1954. To this union five children were born. She taught in several schools throughout Nebraska, including Fremont, Omaha, Ravenna, and McCook, where she taught Title I and second grade for 16 years. After teaching for 35 years, she retired in 1998.
Joan was a 75-year plus member of Memorial United Methodist Church, where she was active with many committees. She was an integral part in the conception of the columbarium at Memorial Park Cemetery. She was initiated into her mother's PEO Chapter X in 1949 and later became a member of Omaha, Ravenna and McCook chapters. Other activities included numerous educational committees, UNL Alumni Band, Chi Omega Sorority, Class of 1948 representative, Stone Church Historian, Stroke Support Group, and Hillcrest Foundation Board. She was an avid Cornhusker fan of all sports and enjoyed music playing the accordion and piano. She also played the clarinet in the Nebraska Cornhusker Marching Band. She enjoyed traveling and visiting with family and friends. Her family was her pride and joy. She was her grandchildren's biggest fan, following them in their sporting events and programs.
Preceding her in death were her husband, Merle Jay Gilliam, Jr. on Sept. 20, 1998; her parents, Charles Edward and Helen Hoyt; brother, Jack Hoyt; mother-in-law, Marguerite "Nana" Gilliam; brother-in-law, James Dobson; and special friend, Corky Reed.
Survivors include her children, Sue and husband, Gary Finke of Ravenna, Jay Gilliam and wife, Maureen of Omaha, Gayl and husband, Gary Korus of McCook, Lee Gilliam and wife, Jane and Gwen and husband, Jason Fortin, all of Oberlin, Kansas; 16 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; and sister-in-law, Jackie Dobson of Omaha.
Memorials are suggested to the family to be designated at a later date.
Visitation will be today, Aug. 18, 2015 until 5 p.m. and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Herrmann Jones Funeral Chapel. The family will greet friends from 6 to 8 p.m.. on Wednesday night. Friends may go online at www.herrmannfh.com to extend condolences to the family.
Funeral services will be Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, 10:30 a.m. at Memorial United Methodist Church with the Rev. Dr. Doug Griger officiating. Burial will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery.
Herrmann Jones Funeral Chapel of McCook is in charge of the arrangements.