Cover photo for Mary Jessie Gilliam's Obituary

Mary Jessie Gilliam

October 13, 1934 — March 11, 2024

Westerville

Mary Jessie Gilliam

Mary Jessie Gilliam, born on October 13, 1934, in Marion, Ohio, passed away peacefully on March 11, 2024, in Columbus, Ohio at the age of 89. She was the beloved daughter of George F. and Jessie (Underwood) Welbourne, who preceded her in death. Mary's first home was on a golf course in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, where her father was employed as a golf pro. Her mother’s career as an RN at the Cleveland Clinic, however, necessitated a move to the city. While growing up, Mary immersed herself in frequent visits to Cleveland’s museums, parks, and theaters. She also cherished relaxing summers spent with her cousins in her adopted hometown of Caledonia, Ohio. Mary graduated from John Hay High School in 1952. A faithful worker in the home and out, Mary began her professional life as a keypunch operator for Case Western Reserve University. Later, she worked at KinderCare and as a fill-in clerical worker. She retired at the age of 70 from Trilegiant Corporation as a quality control specialist.

 Mary's true joy, however, came from her role as a mother to her children, Macrina and Robert (Korinne), who survive her. She was also a loving grandmother to Jarrod (Kelsey) and Kyle (Jerry), and a doting great-grandmother to Ellie Grace. When Mary’s children were growing up, she delighted in opening her home to their neighborhood friends, who fondly called her “Miss Mary” and relished when Mary, herself, would join in their fun. Mary was artistic and excelled at pencil and ink illustration. She enjoyed sketching portraits of her family and, when a teenager, her favorite movie stars. Mary was well known for her ornate handwriting. She embraced the lost art of letter writing and often sent cards and letters to friends and family to brighten their day. Mary's warm and witty personality endeared her to all who knew her. Even in her final days, she continued to brighten the room with her humor and laughter. Her strength, kindness, and genuine care for others will be fondly remembered.

 The family extends heartfelt gratitude to the residents and management of Harris-Askins House in Westerville, Ohio, for providing Mary with a safe and loving home for the past 19 years. They also want to thank the staff of The Woodlands of Columbus and Care360 Hospice for their exceptional care and support during Mary's final weeks. A private graveside service will be held to honor Mary's life. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Caledonia Memorial United Methodist Church or the Westerville Area Resource Ministry (W.A.R.M.).



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