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Gerry R. Gilliland

Gerry R. Gilliland, 67, of Thurman, formerly of Rubyville, died peacefully on Saturday, February 24, 2024, in his home in Thurman. Born on September 27, 1956, in Portsmouth, he was a son of the late Howard and Mary Ann Schwable Gilliland, was a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and was a member of Vega Church in Thurman.

A 1975 graduate of Clay High School, he married his school sweetheart Bonnie K. Herles in 1977 and together they started their family soon after, giving birth to two sons and pursuing a meaningful life.  He was a 1979 graduate of the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, and also graduated from Buckeye Hills as an LPN.

Gerry’s life was unlike many others, he didn’t worry much about tomorrow or what others thought of him. He loved to live his way, and lived to love those around him, especially his grandchildren. His grandchildren were his priority and spending time with them was everything to him. Another passion of his was the yearly production of a massive garden, large enough to feed his entire immediate family, extended family, and closest friends. He loved the fruits of his labor and ensured that his grandchildren were each a part of the “fruit” and the “labor.”  His favorite pastimes were cutting firewood, hunting, fishing, camping, and watching his grandchildren play sports. Speaking of sports, Gerry was a diehard fan of the University of Rio Grande women’s basketball team. In 2023, Gerry was the only fan that was given the team’s championship ring that season. He treasured that ring and his passion for that team. Gerry also knew the game of baseball better than the average Joe, having coached a countless number of youth teams throughout his life. He loved the Cincinnati Reds and especially the “big red machine” from the 70’s, and unfortunately for the Red’s organizations thereafter, they didn’t live up to Gerry’s expectations. In any sport he was a spectator, he was well known for the “relationships” he developed with referees and umpires. In fact, he did so well that he often received warnings to take it easy on them during the game. Another great love of Gerry’s were his black Labrador retrievers, having raised some of the most incredible retrievers. When not with his grandchildren, which was rare, you’d find Gerry riding his Harley he named “Jewel.”

Gerry was a dedicated co-worker at Brant Funeral Homes in both Portsmouth and Sciotoville as a licensed funeral director and embalmer. Gerry and Jeff Brant himself worked 17 years together serving the local community.

Surviving are his wife, Bonnie Herles Gilliland, who remembers her first kiss from him in January 1971, two sons, Scott (Deanna) Gilliland of Thurman and Andy (Kara) Gilliland of Oak Hill; a brother, Charlie (Mary) Gilliland of Waterford, MI; two sisters, Karen Gilliland of Waverly, and Ruth (Paul) Kistler of Camarillo, CA; and his grandchildren, twins Hunter and Isaac, Mitchell, and Lyla.

A visitation will be 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 28th, at the BRANT FUNERAL HOME IN SCIOTOVILLE.

A Celebration of Gerry’s Life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 29th, at Vega Church in Thurman with Pastor Josh West officiating.

 

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