Cantrell Funeral Home

609 S. Walnut St., Kimball, NE


Wilma Mae Gilliland

May 16, 1924December 22, 2018
Play Tribute Movie

Wilma M. Gilliland, 94, of Kimball, died at the Kimball County Manor on Saturday, December 22, 2018. Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, December 28, 2018 at the Cantrell Funeral Home with Pastor Caryl Miller officiating. Burial will be in the Kimball Cemetery. Friends may call at the funeral home on Thursday from 1:00 until 6:00 p.m. Friends may also visit www.cantrellfh.com to view Wilma’s Tribute wall and leave condolences and stories for the family. Memorials may be given in Wilma’s memory to the Kimball Junior Golf Program. The services for Wilma have been entrusted to the Cantrell Funeral Home.  Wilma Mae (Hawkins) Gilliland was born May 16, 1924, in the southern Illinois village of Dix. Raised almost entirely by her grandparents John D. and Amelia Hawkins on their small farm, she attended a one room country school where she quickly worked through the elementary curriculum two years at a time. She attended Salem, Illinois, high school where again she went through the curriculum, especially accounting and bookkeeping, at an accelerated pace, graduating in May of 1941 at the age of 16. Following high school graduation, Wilma took a job as bookkeeper for Ryan Lumber Company in Salem, where she worked through World War II. In the spring of 1944, she met Bruce Gilliland, who was working for the Texas Company, now Texaco, in Southern Illinois, and on October 14, 1944, they were married in Salem. Following her marriage to Bruce, Wilma worked as bookkeeper for W.S. Lemmon Trucking Co. in Salem, and it was in Salem, before they were married, where Bruce taught Wilma how to play golf. On June 6, 1949, her son Stephen was born in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, and in 1950 Wilma, Bruce and Stephen moved to Duncan, Oklahoma, following the petroleum industry. Then in September of 1951, the Gillilands moved once more, again following petroleum, this time to the oil boom town of Kimball, Nebraska. In 1953, after two years with the Flint Rig Company, Bruce founded his own corporation, Plains Well Service, later Plains Construction Company, where Wilma served as bookkeeper from the founding of the company until Bruce closed the company and retired in 1979. Wilma was always the consummate volunteer, involving herself in numerous local and state organizations. While in Illinois, she was deeply involved in Girl Scouts as a trainer for Girl Scout leaders and as a day camp director. When she came to Kimball, Wilma continued her involvement in scouting as a member of the national Girl Scouts of America Regional Committee. From 1957 to 1962, she served as a county representative and Regional Chairman for the American Cancer Society. She was a Den Mother when her son Stephen was in Cub Scouts, and she, along with Bruce, was a four-year Class Parent for Stephen’s Kimball County High School Class of 1967. Wilma loved children, from reading to elementary kids during the Read Across America week at Kimball Elementary, to founding and conducting the Kimball Junior Golf program, introducing golf to hundreds of children, some as young as five years of age. Wilma was an active member of P.E.O. Chapter DT, serving as president and being the driving influence in bringing the P.E.O. State Convention to Kimball in 1989. She served as Area Chairman for the P.E.O. affiliated Cottey College in Nevada, MO. She also received the honor of serving as Guard for the National P.E.O. Convention when it came to Nebraska and was held in Omaha. Wilma was also deeply involved at St. Hilda’ Episcopal Church. When she first arrived in Kimball, she played the organ for church services and served as church treasurer. During the holiday season, Wilma also served as Chairman of the St. Hilda’s Christmas wreath fundraiser. And during the Christmas season she also rang the bell for the Salvation Army at the local supermarket. Wilma will long be remembered for her tireless dedication and contributions to the game of golf, on the local, state, national, and even international level. After that first golf lesson in Salem in 1944, Wilma played competitively until the early 80’s, winning numerous local and five Nebraska State Championships. In the mid-70’s she began shifting her golf focus to organization and administration, serving as President of the Trans-National Golf Associatiion and as a committee member for numerous United States Golf Association national women's tournaments. In 1993, she was elected Chairman of the USGA Women’s Committee, the highest and most prestigious position in U.S. women’s amateur golf. In addition, Wilma served as a rules official for high school golf meets in Nebraska and as an NCAA collegiate official at various tournaments around the country. From 1992 through 1996, Wilma also served as rules official and then Captain for the international U.S. Women’s World Golf Team, positions which took her to tournaments in places such as Venezuela, the Philippines and France. For her many contributions to the game of golf, Wilma was elected to the Nebraska Golf Hall of Fame in 1993.  Wilma will always be remembered for her bright smile, her large and generous heart, her determination to give back, and her love for the game of golf. Survivors include her son Stephen Gilliland of Kimball, NE. She was preceded in death by her husband Bruce, her grandparents, John D. and Amelia Hawkins, and her mother Mamie (Hawkins) Alderson


Wilma Mae Gilliland

have a memory or condolence to add?

Mary Fink

December 31, 2018

I met Wilma at a USGA Womens event at Cog Hill in 1987. We had rough weather and Wilma sent the busses out to pick us up from the course.
I recall Bruce and Wilma using towels to dry up the 18th green at the Harder Hall after a rain so we could continue to play.
She was the consumate worker/leader for the Women’s Trans National. Wilma was the Trans and the Trans was Wilma.
She and Bruce are hand in hand at their heavenly golf course.

Liz Ferguson

December 29, 2018

Steve your mom will be greatly missed. I will remember the dinners with my mom and dad and her and Bruce, the banter between them was priceless. The annual delivery of Christmas wreaths always gave us a chance to catch up on what was going on with each other. How I will miss those times. Once again I’m so sorry for your loss!

Sunna Barrack

December 28, 2018

To Stephen, Karen and friends.
Over the years coming to know Wilma, she became a dear friend to me. She shared a lot of life stories and we shared a lot of laughs. I feel truly privileged I was able to care for her when Stephen was away. I loved watching her enjoy my cooking! Wilma’s favorite dish was shrimp pasta with clam sauce. She’d tell me, “You’re a good cook Charlie Brown!”. I also enjoyed our spiritual conversations. Particularly about when God’s Kingdom will rid all death and human suffering - Revelation 21:3,4...” He will wipe every tear from there eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” May you find comfort in knowing that she is safe in God’s memory who remembers Wilma in every detail and will resurrect her back to life. With deepest sympathy, Sunna Barrack.

Wilma Leburn

December 28, 2018

Wilma we shared many fantastic times through our love of golf from that first meeting at Harder Hall Florida in 1981
The fun times with yourself and Bruce and later my parents Jean and Bob forged a friendship that was truly special
Your dedication and commitment to the game of golf was unwavering and I am proud to have you as a friend
Wilma 1 I will miss you
Thinking of you especially today love Wilma 2 x

Conrad Good jr

December 28, 2018

Sad to hear of Wilma's passing, she along with with Bruce are perhaps the finest ambassadors that Kimball Ne will ever know.
Wilma and my Grandma Bernice Good were best of pals, they played bridge together, golfed, took day trips to Scottsbluff and Bronco games and shared an occasional evening Highball with one another. Wilma meant the world to my family for her long time bond With Bernice.
Personally I will remember her for the summer of 1971. I was spending several weeks that summer with g-ma and g-pa and Wilma took me under her wing and not only got me on Four Winds golf course everyday, she got me enrolled with the kid lessons going on at the time, she provided me with FULL set of Spaulding Pro Flight clubs to play with and allowed me to use one of their golf carts as long as I remembered to park it back where it belonged and plug the battery charger in at night, man I was in 13 year old heaven.
That's just who Wilma was, going the extra mile to help everyone else... I last saw Wilma a few years back when Bruce was inducted in the Nebr Golf Hall of Fame in Lincoln still had that great smile and that easy laugh of hers.
Wilma will be missed by lots of folks with her passing, there have not been many like Wilma and we can only hope someone will come along one day to continue her errands but I suspect we are in rare territory hoping for another because there is only one Wilma Gilliland, Thanks Wilma.

Christie (Tofflemire) Stratman

December 27, 2018

I will always remember when I was with Wilma at the inauguration of the Denver Broncos Mile High Stadium. She watched the highlights of all the years she had been a fan on the bug screen with tears streaming down her cheeks with a sweet smile. She was a beautiful soul. Prayers to you Steve.

Kelly Chapin

December 26, 2018

In 2002 we moved to Kimball and lived there for most of that entire year. My boys were 5 and 7 at that time. How excited I was to find out about the golf camp that summer. I quickly enrolled my boys and diligently brought them everyday to the golf course. What a joy it was to meet Wilma!! My greatest memory is when she scooped up my boys, along with I don’t know how many other kiddos, crammed them all into this yellow Rolls Royce golf cart, and traversed across that golf course!! I don’t know who has laughing hardest, Wilma, or those kids!!

Emilee Pilkington

December 26, 2018

My grandpa, Jess Pilkington, knew Wilma well. I’m not sure how much golf they played together, but both were avid golfers. Grandpa probably played with Bruce some.

My siblings and I have many memories of her officiating the Kimball junior golf tournament each year, through the Panhandle Jr. Golf Tour. She would tear around that golf course in her yellow golf cart! Wilma was a riot.

One year, my little brother was getting blisters from his too-big golf shoes that he insisted on wearing. My parents were watching the rest of us play, so they weren’t around. Wilma brought Jared a pair of really nice socks from the golf shop and wouldn’t take any repayment for them. Wilma is one of those unforgettable, caring people.

Penny Sheehan

December 26, 2018

Mike, Ryan, Lance and I have great fond memories of Aunt Wilma. Mike spent many summers in Kimball, but recalls the sparkler event on 4th of July. Wilma had new kitchen counters and the Sheehan boys and Stephen lite sparklers in the kitchen. Oops! Little divets in the countertop. She was always excited to accommodate us as we travelled the northern plains area of America. She’d take the boys to the grocery store to buy whatever they wanted to eat or drink. Then, promptly go to the golf course to ride in her cart! The one and only yellow cart. She would drive through the sprinkler systems and do 360 turns on the green. Anyone else would have been removed from the course for life.
We are sad that the weather between Oklahoma and Nebraska is keeping us home, but our prayers and hugs are sent to you!
Love y’all
Penny, Mike, Ryan, Lance and families

Myra Yost

December 26, 2018

A beautiful lady with a heart of gold. She will be missed.


Learn more about the Gilliland name