James Thomas ‘Tommy’ Gilliam
James Thomas “Tommy” Gilliam was born Oct. 14, 1947 in Farmville. After a long battle with illness, he was reunited with his heavenly Father on June 21, at age 73.
Tommy was preceded in death by his parents, Horace and Lois Gilliam.
He is survived by his high school sweetheart and loving and devoted wife of 47 years, Iris Smith Gilliam. Iris became well known with the nurses at the hospital during their last couple of stays; she was known as “the wife who treats her husband like a king.” Many of the nurses stopped and remarked, and even shed tears, telling the family how touched they were to witness the love they shared. Iris tirelessly served and met all his needs throughout the many health challenges of his last years.
Tommy is also survived by his daughter, Ginger Davis, her husband, Jamie, and their sons, Worth and Ryder, of Farmville and son, J.T, his wife, Meagan, and their children Ben, Luke and Anne Kate, of Buckingham. In addition, he leaves behind his beloved sister, Nan, her husband Ben, and their family, of Gloucester.
Tommy’s childhood was spent in the rolling hills of his family’s tobacco farm in rural Pamplin. He attended school at Prince Edward Academy in Farmville, raising his own acre of tobacco to pay for his tuition his senior year. Upon graduation, he entered the U.S. Army, where he served in Germany as a tank driver during the Vietnam War. After arriving home, he continued to serve his country for several more years in the Army National Guard.
He worked at The Carpet House in Farmville for over 30 years, where he daily led a crew, training many other flooring professionals. Tommy was well known for his strong work ethic and high standard of excellence. This reputation led many customers to personally request him for their projects. Tommy made many special lifelong friends during his time at The Carpet House.
After retiring, Tommy fulfilled a lifelong dream of fulltime farming on the family farm in Pamplin. He spent his days keeping watch over his beef cattle, jokingly called “his girls” by family. Tommy’s last years were happiest when he was counting and checking on “his girls” in good weather, tucked inside with Iris watching Westerns in poor weather and anytime family and friends came to visit.
The family will receive friends from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 24, at Puckett Funeral Home in Farmville. A funeral service will be held Friday, June 25, at 2 p.m. at Elon Baptist Church in Pamplin, interment to follow at Olive Branch United Methodist Church cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Prospect United Methodist Church, Elon Baptist Church or Olive Branch United Methodist Church Cemetery Fund.
Puckett Funeral Home is serving the family. www.puckettfh.com.