Don T. Gilliland, 83, of Andrews, passed away on Thursday, May 4, 2017 in Andrews.
Family and friends will gather to celebrate his life at 10:00 AM Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at the First Baptist Church, 201 NE 2nd Street, in Andrews with Joel, Tim, and Jonathan Gilliland officiating. Military graveside services will follow in the Andrews Old Cemetery. The family will receive friends on Monday from 5 – 7 PM at McNett Funeral Home. Please celebrate his life by visiting www.mcnettfuneralhome.com.
Don was born on April 17, 1934 in McCamey, Texas to Noble “Bob” Verdin Gilliland and Eula B. Thornton. He was raised in McCamey and Odessa and graduated from Odessa High School in 1952. He received his Bachelor’s of Science in Geology from Texas Western College (UTEP) in El Paso. He served in the U.S. Navy Reserves for 5 years and, after graduating from college in 1956, he served on active duty for 2 years. He spent one year on Midway Island and one year on a battleship in and out of Bremerton, Washington. While stationed in Washington, Don was hiking the cliffs of Whidbey Island when he was caught in a sand slide. Don cried out to God, who miraculously saved him from certain death, an event that forever impacted his life. Don and Rose Dianne Collins were married on December 14, 1958 at First Baptist Church in Andrews. They have lived in Andrews since 1959 where their 3 children were born. While in Andrews, Don worked for Continental Emsco for a year and then was hired as the Assistant County Auditor, and later was appointed County Clerk. He served as the Election Judge for Precinct 1 for several years. He went to work for Andrews ISD in 1967 and retired as the Business Manager of Andrews ISD in 1994. He was a member of the Andrews Lion’s Club, the Andrews Retired Teachers Association, the Republican Party, and the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Don loved the Lord, his family and his country in that order. He a was member and deacon of FBC Andrews for many years. He lived a Christian life and loved being able to teach and share the love of God with others. It seemed God blessed him by allowing him to know the Bible so well. He was such a fine Christian man and it gave him great joy when all of his children and grandchildren came to know the Lord Jesus as their Savior. He taught Sunday School for many years and his last class, the Men’s Senior Adult Class at FBC, was one of his favorites. It was a profound joy for him to teach and share the word of God with the men he counted as his most trusted friends. Don loved his family so much. His children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were such a blessing to him and he was so excited when they called or came to visit. He prayed for our country and did all he could to keep America One Nation Under God.
As a young boy, he collected stamps, and he enjoyed farming, ranching, gardening, and raising wheat. He was an avid outdoorsman, where he loved hunting, hiking, and camping.
Above all, he will be remembered for his Christian values, where he knew the Word and lived it every day serving his Savior, Jesus Christ. His family will miss his smiling face and his reassuring presence but they know he is in a better place and they will see him again, one day. We will never forget what a wonderful husband and dad and “Grandy” we have waiting for us in heaven.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brother, Doug Gilliland, sister in law, Fran Gilliland, and brother in law, Don T. Collins.
Don is survived by his wife of 58 years, Rose Dianne Gilliland of Andrews, 2 sons, Joel Gilliland and wife, Patty, of Ponca City, Oklahoma and Tim Gilliland and wife, Julie, of Ruidoso, New Mexico, 1 daughter, Leah Fairhurst of Austin, 10 grandchildren, Rachel Love and husband, Sean, Joshua Gilliland and wife, Emily, Jonathan Gilliland and wife, Stephanie, Rebekah Gilliland and Jacob, Andrew, Isaac, and Cohen Gilliland and Indiana and Benjamin Fairhurst, 4 great grandchildren, Madelyn, Tucker, and Marley Love, and Noah Gilliland.
Memorials may be sent to his son’s ministry in Ruidoso at River Crossing Ministries at 1950 Sudderth Drive, Ruidoso NM 88345.