Donnie Reath Gilleland, 71, died Thursday, May 30, 2019 at the V.A. Hospital in Durham following a brief illness.
Preceded in death by his son Jason, Donnie leaves his wife of 50 years, Gail (Timberlake) Gilleland; his son, Jon and his girlfriend, Mary Wickre; a daughter, Shannon and her husband, Keith Tew and their children, Camille and Nicholas; as well as many close friends and family.
Born in Franklinton, NC, Donnie had less than an ideal childhood, but chose to rise above those beginnings.
He joined the U.S. Air Force after high school and was sent to California. After basic training, Donnie borrowed enough money to return to NC and marry his sweetheart, Gail...he's been in debt ever since. Donnie and Gail were stationed in Nebraska during the Vietnam War.
After completing his service with the Air Force, Donnie worked for the NC Highway Patrol, and later retired from Nationwide Insurance before starting his own claims consulting business.
With a heart and a door that was always open, he collected many friends and children along the way. Donnie lived by a creed of Faith, Family and Friends, and there were few that ever met him that weren't embraced with open arms.
Donnie enjoyed a good meal, and was planning his next as he finished the one in front of him. A bit of an armchair philosopher, he wasn’t shy about imparting his wisdom on any subject being discussed. Donnie lived large, for the moment, and we are all better for knowing him.
Friends and Family are invited to gather at Rolesville Baptist Church, 203 E. Young St. Rolesville, NC on Sunday, June 2, 2019 from 3:00PM – 4:40pm for a time of remembrance and visitation, followed by a celebration of life service at 5:00PM.
In lieu of flowers, any donations or memorials may be directed to the Rolesville Baptist Church Building Fund, P. O. Box 185, Rolesville, NC 27571 or the VA Volunteer Service (135) at 508 Fulton Street, Durham, NC 27705.
A service of Bright Funeral Home & Cremation Center. (919-556-5811)