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Obituaries » Laura Gilliam

Laura Estelle Hine Gilliam, of Richmond, a teacher and matriarch, died October 31, 2021, at the age of 97.

Laura was born January 20, 1924, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to Connie Geneva Atkins Hine (“Mimms”) and Berlie Lee Hine, a wholesale fruit and produce purveyor. She was the fourth of their five children: Richard, Bertha, Martha and Ruth. Laura was raised in the Moravian Church which remained important to her throughout her life.

Laura attended R.J. Reynolds High School and Salem College, where she majored in nutrition and home economics. Shortly after graduating, she began a teaching career that would last more than 30 years. Laura enjoyed her elementary students, especially in art.

On August 18,1951, Laura married Robert Lawrence “Bob” Gilliam, an Army Air Force pilot and flight instructor, at Ardmore Moravian Church in Winston-Salem.

After giving birth to her daughter Laura Lee, Laura and Bob moved to Waco, Texas, for his next station where she gave birth to their son Robert. Bob was recalled to service during the Korean War, after which they settled in Warrenton, where Laura continued her teaching career in Fairfax County.

After her husband’s death in 1994, Laura moved back to Winston-Salem to be closer to her sisters Ruth and Martha and to reconnect with her birthplace. She enjoyed playing bridge and backgammon, hosting parties, attending love feasts at New Philadelphia Moravian Church and spending time with her family. She loved to travel but she never had to go far to find an adventure.

In 2013, Laura moved to St. Mary’s Woods Retirement Community in Richmond to be near her daughter. There she took up painting, especially landscapes, and with the support of the wonderful non-profit organization Art for the Journey, several of her paintings were selected to be displayed at the Virginia General Assembly. Laura enjoyed making new friends and continuing to find both mischief and joy, even into her 90s.

Laura transitioned to Our Lady of Hope Health Center in 2017. She was a strong and determined southern lady who survived cancer twice and even Covid-19 earlier this year.

She is survived by her daughter, Laura Lee Gilliam Hughes and her husband Andy Hughes; her son, Robert Lawrence Gilliam Jr. and his wife Virginia, and four grandchildren, Lauran Paten Hughes, Gilliam Anderson Hughes, Robert Lawrence Gilliam III and Lee Mitchell Gilliam.

The family is very grateful for the loving and kind care Laura received at St. Mary’s Woods and Our Lady of Hope while transitioning through the later stages of her life.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on November 13, 2021 at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 9670 Maidstone Road, Delaplane, Va., followed by interment in the church graveyard.

The family asks that any remembrances be made to New Philadelphia Moravian Church, 4440 Country Club Road, Winston-Salem, N.C. 27104 or Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 9670 Maidstone Road, Delaplane, Va. 20144.
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