Josephine Hart Simrall Gilliland

Published 4:21 pm Friday, January 10, 2020

Josephine Hart Simrall Gilliland passed away Monday, Dec. 30, 2019, at River Region Medical Center.

Mrs. Gilliland was born Dec. 8, 1919, at Ballground Plantation, Redwood, to Bell Newell Simrall. Sr. and Bessie Edwards Simrall.

Her mother died when she was 5 years old, so she spent her school years in Belzoni with her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. R.L. Edwards, only to return home for summers and holidays.

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Many fun times were spent at Ballground enjoying the country life.  Josephine received a B.S. degree from Belhaven College in 1941 and continued her education at the University of Tennessee and Mississippi State University.

In 1945 Josephine met World War II veteran Harry Hunt Gilliland Sr. of Cleveland.  The two were married at her Ballground family home. The union lasted until his death 47 years later in Vicksburg.

Two children, Harry Jr. and Rosalie, helped complete many happy years with family and friends, including 25 years in the Vicksburg Public School System.

Josephine always gave her time to her home, family and friends and community, serving where there was a need.

She was active at Hawkins Methodist Church before joining Crawford Street United Methodist Church, where she was a member of the Senior Sunday School Class, Women’s Division and XYZ.

Her local club work included Retired Teacher’s Association of Vicksburg, American Association of University Women, First Families of Mississippi, Daughters of the American Revolution, Redwood Homemakers and Magnolia Garden Club; holding offices in each organization.  Josephine made many lifelong friendships in these clubs.

She is survived by son, Harry Hunt Gilliland Jr. (Jennifer), and daughter, Rosalie Simrall Gilliland Theobald.

She is also survived by Harry’s children, Hunt Klaus Gilliland (Lindsey) and Gareth Gilliland Lampkin (Randy); Rosalie’s children, John Thomas Theobald, Richard Hunt “Beau” Theobald and Joseph Edwards Theobald (Nikki).

Great-grandchildren are Riley Dean Lampkin, Gray Thomas Lampkin, Lachlan Klaus Lampkin, Joseph Cameron Theobald, Emma Nicole Theobald, Dustin Louis Theobald, William Hunt Gilliland and Samuel Phillips Gilliland; and grandnephew Bell Newell Simrall IV (Sweyn).

At the time of her death Josephine was residing at Legacy (formally Olive Branch) Nursing Home in Tallulah, La. The family wishes to express their deep appreciation to Helen Cooper for being Mama Jo’s dear sweet roommate who was such a loving friend and guardian angel.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Harry Hunt Gilliland Sr.; maternal grandparents, Robert Lafayette Edwards and wife Josie Hart Edwards, and second wife Emily Edwards; paternal grandparents, Bell Newell Simrall and wife, Sue Lum Simrall; father Bell Newell Simrall Sr.; wife Bessie Simrall and stepmother Mary Barber Simrall.

Graveside services under the direction of Riles Funeral Home were held Tuesday, Dec. 31, at 2 p.m. with her special grandnephew, Newell Simrall IV, giving the heart felt eulogy, and hymns were sung by a dear friend, Sharon Penley.

Memorials may be made to Crawford Street United Methodist Church, 900 Crawford Street Vicksburg, MS 39180 or a charity of your choice.