Billy Joe Gilliam

August 17, 1938April 24, 2021

Billy Joe Gilliam, age 82, was born on August 17, 1938, to Florence Louise Summers and Roscoe Wilson Gilliam, in Mexia, Texas, Freestone County. He graduated from La Vega High School in Bellmead, Texas, in 1956 and served in the United States Air Force as a radio repairman from 1956 until 1960. While in the Air Force, he visited St. Louis, Missouri, with a fellow airman and went on a blind date, meeting his future wife, Donna Ross, who he courted primarily through long distance correspondence. Stationed in the Philippines, he was honorably discharged in 1960 and married Donna on September 9, 1961. Bill began his career as a paint salesman with Pittsburgh Paint Company for over 20 years until the company closed its architectural sales department. Bill worked retail sales for Bering & Company, Breed & Company, and retired from BMC in 2005. Bill and Donna made their home in Houston, Texas, for over 30 years, until the time they moved to Austin to be closer to their children, Amy and Cary.

Donna died after a short illness in 2000. A few years later Bill met and then married Barbara Davenport. He was blessed to find love twice in is life.

Family was of the ultimate importance to Bill. He loved nothing more than to be with family, whether it was watching TV, telling jokes, or sharing a good meal. He supported his children in all their activities and that support extended to his grandchildren’s activities. Bill loved his art classes, dancing, poker, making a good pot of chili, visiting extended family from Teague to California, listening to Les Miserables, betting on the ponies, trying to beat the house in Vegas, hitting a bucket of balls with Cary, lunching with Amy, traveling with Barbara, watching his beloved Astros, cheering on the Texas Longhorns and Baylor Bears and sometimes, the Cowboys. Bill was a kind and gentle soul, a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend. His twinkling blue eyes and great sense of humor will be missed by all who knew him and loved him. He was fond of saying “Keep on keepin’ on”. During his illness, he survived many setbacks and inspired his family to “keep on keepin’ on” through the good times and the tough ones.

Bill is survived by his loving wife, Barbara Davenport Gilliam, his children, Amy & Mikeal Love, Cary & Kath Gilliam, Linda Davenport, Sam & Mika Davenport, John and Meg Davenport, 10 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren, sister Judy Lynn and Holton Currie, brother Timothy & Judy Ann Millstid, sister Sharon Ross, numerous nephews, nieces, and cousins.


  • Visitation

    Thursday, April 29, 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Friday, April 30, 2021

  • Committal Service

    Friday, April 30, 2021


Billy Joe Gilliam

have a memory or condolence to add?

Holmes Gwynn

April 29, 2021

We were all members of Riverbend Singles back in 2002-2003. There were enough of us single guys that Bill decided to try and form a nickel, dime, quarter poker game. It started with Marvin, Jake and Holmes and we added Bob, Ken and Lary soon thereafter. The faces have changed (except for Bob & Holmes) but after almost 20 years and a pandemic the game lives on. Thank you Bill for starting this great fellowship.

Penny Small

April 28, 2021

Bill was a true gentleman. His bright eyes and smile will be my favorite things to remember about him.

You go rest, Bill. We'll keep keepin' on for you...