James Alvin “Jim” Gilliam Jr. of Cuba, Missouri was born on June 26, 1942 in Cuba, Missouri to James and Rose Ann (Killeen) Gilliam Sr. and passed away on Saturday, May 23, 2020 at the age of 77 years.
His father established Gilliam Electric and Refrigeration in 1947. James joined his father after returning home from the United States Air Force, where he served in Alaska during the Vietnam War. He continued to own and operate the family business until March 2020.
Jim adored his family. Anytime he openly bragged about them, he had a sparkle in his eye and a big grin on his face. He loved taking his kids and wife along on his outdoor adventures, especially to the family farm down in Huzzah, Missouri.
One of his most defining characteristics, aside from his gift of one-liners, was that he was always willing to help others. If someone needed him, he was there without hesitation. Even now, stories of his kindness and selflessness continue to be shared with the family. Jim was also known to fix almost anything. He enjoyed learning how things worked and would teach himself what he didn’t already know.
Jim had the ability to work hard without question and play hard without apology. He defined time by the hunting and fishing seasons and the Farmer’s Almanac. Which over the years, resulted in friends and family enjoying the numerous fish fries at the shop and a lot of great haircuts. He loved growing things in his garden and sharing it with anyone who wanted to stop by and help hoe potatoes or just drink a beer. He also had a knack for roping anyone around him into his latest project using just the right amount of peer pressure and the promise of a good time.
Jim had a big heart and though he was never one to back down from an argument, you always knew exactly where you stood with him.
He was preceded in death by his parents, James and Rose Ann Gilliam Sr.; one sister, Sue Starks; and one brother-in-law, Jimmie Honea.
He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Debra (Honea) Gilliam of Cuba, Missouri; four children, Michelle Gilliam of Chesterfield, Missouri, Jaclyn and husband Chris Downing of Jefferson City, Missouri, James and wife Jordan Gilliam of Cuba, Missouri and Jilliann Gilliam of Cuba, Missouri; one honorary daughter, Shayna Arndt of Jefferson City, Missouri; two grandchildren, Justin Gilliam of Chesterfield, Missouri and Scarlet Downing of Jefferson City, Missouri; twin sister, Joan and husband Wilford Hadley of St. James, Missouri; two brothers, Bill and wife Sylvia Kreamalmyer of Burlington, Iowa and Bob and wife Wanda Kreamalmyer of St. James, Missouri; one brother-in-law, David and wife Jan Honea of Cuba, Missouri; other relatives and friends.
In Jim’s honor,the family has started the James A. Gilliam Memorial Scholarship, which will be an annual scholarship given to students graduating from Cuba High School and are attending a trade school.
Arrangements under the direction of the Mizell Funeral Home in Cuba, Missouri.
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