Laura Estelle Hine Gilliam
Jan. 20, 1924 – Oct. 31, 2021
Laura Estelle Hine Gilliam, a teacher and matriarch, died on October 31, 2021 at the age of 97.
Laura was born on January 20, 1924 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to Connie Geneva Atkins Hine (“Mimms”) and Berlie Lee Hine, a wholesale fruit and produce purveyor. She was the fourth of their five children: Richard, Bertha, Martha and Ruth. Laura was raised in the Moravian Church which remained important to her throughout her life.
Laura attended R.J. Reynolds High School and Salem College, where she majored in nutrition and home economics. Shortly after graduating, she began a teaching career that would last over 30 years. Laura enjoyed her elementary students, especially in art.
On August 18, 1951 Laura married Robert Lawrence Gilliam (Bob), an Army Air Force pilot and flight instructor, at Ardmore Moravian Church in Winston-Salem.
After giving birth to her daughter Laura Lee, Laura and Bob moved to Waco, Texas for his next station where she gave birth to their son Robert. Bob was recalled to service during the Korean War, after which they settled in Warrenton, Virginia where Laura continued her teaching career in Fairfax County.
After her husband’s death in 1994, Laura moved back to Winston-Salem to be closer to her sisters Ruth and Martha and to reconnect with her birthplace. She enjoyed playing bridge and backgammon, hosting parties, attending love feasts at New Philadelphia Moravian Church and spending time with her family. She loved to travel but she never had to go far to find an adventure.
In 2013 Laura moved to St Mary’s Woods Retirement Community in Richmond, Virginia to be near her daughter. There she took up painting, especially landscapes, and with the support of the wonderful non-profit organization Art for the Journey, several of her paintings were selected to be displayed at the Virginia General Assembly. Laura enjoyed making new friends and continuing to find both mischief and joy, even into her 90s.
Laura transitioned to Our Lady of Hope Health Center in 2017. She was a strong and determined southern lady who survived cancer twice and even Covid-19 earlier this year.
She is survived by her daughter Laura Lee Gilliam Hughes and her husband Andy Hughes, her son Robert Lawrence Gilliam, Jr. and his wife Virginia, and four grandchildren: Lauran Paten Hughes, Gilliam Anderson Hughes, Robert Lawrence Gilliam III and Lee Mitchell Gilliam.
The family is very grateful for the loving and kind care Laura received at St Mary’s Woods and Our Lady of Hope while transitioning through the later stages of her life.
A memorial service will be held at 3:00 pm on November 13, 2021 at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 9670 Maidstone Road, Delaplane, VA followed by interment in the Church graveyard.
The family asks that any remembrances be made to New Philadelphia Moravian Church, 4440 Country Club Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27104 or Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 9670 Maidstone Road, Delaplane, VA 20144.
My husband and I so enjoyed getting to know Laura & her sister, Ruth, at New Philadelphia Moravian Church. Had it not been for Dinner Club at our church, we might never have had the pleasure of “hanging around” with these two beautiful and very fun ladies! That is how I truly will always think of Laura: a true lady, with a great sense of humor and constant smile on her beautiful face.
I am glad we can remember her by giving a donation to the church, which we will gladly do. We think of your family in your loss. As someone said once in a service I attended “the time is never long enough with those we love the most.”
Bill & Beth Byrd
I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to connect with Laura and Ruth after returning to NC in the 90s. They often visited our Daddy, Byron Atkins and came to many family get-togethers. It was always a joyous occasion. We called them the Fun Girls after the pair in the Andy Griffith show or the Sisters in the Walton’s.
She was very interested in the Atkins genealogy, as am l, and we shared much information.
A true, grand Southern Lady and an inspiration to us all. They don’t make many like her anymore.
Steve and I were saddened to hear of Laura’s passing. We were “lucky” to have met Laura and Ruth through dinner club at New Philadelphia!! She was so sweet and gracious. As a former teacher, I could talk with her and Ruth forever. We will cherish our memories of those wonderful times with her. Our prayers go out to her family.
I had to pleasure of helping the Gilliam sisters, Miss Laura and Miss Ruth as we affectionately knew them, through some medical issues here in Winston-Salem. They were both genteel and exemplified the best character and humor while navigating the changes that occur with age. We rarely saw one without the other and they brightened our day so much! I’m sure they each individually and together blessed so many other lives, too.
We say thank you to our Lord for Laura’s move to Winston-Salem and reconnecting with her Moravian roots. We always think of Laura and Ruth together, the Hine sisters. Teachers both, these two southern ladies who could be mischievous at times. They were such dear friends of our family. Their kindness knew no bounds. It was a pleasure during Sunday School Class last week to walk down memory lane cherishing each moment we all had together. To Laura Lee and Robert, thank you for sharing Laura with us. To her dear grandchildren, Laura spoke often of you all – a proud and loving grandmother. Blessings.
Mrs. Gilliam was my 3rd grade teacher when we moved to Centreville in 1969. I will always remember how helpful and patient she was with a new kid in town. I was amazed when I saw her again 25 years later and she still remembered me and my family! God bless her.
When I think of Laura I remember a beautiful southern lady who shared love, kindness and laughter wherever she went. I never knew what she was going to say next! It was double trouble when she was with her sister Ruth. They had their unique ways of doing things or telling their stories that often had me belly laughing! Laura was an angel in my life and I will always be thankful that she was my friend.