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May 3, 1915-Feb. 7, 2009

Elizabeth "Honey" Gillikin left us on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009.

Visitation will be held at Seymour Funeral Home on Friday from 6 until 8 p.m. The funeral service will be held at St. Paul's Methodist Church at 2 p.m. Saturday with graveside service to follow at Willowdale Cemetary.

She was born May 3, 1915, in Rowan, near Salisbury, to Caroline Frick Cranford and Jesse T. Cranford. Our mother was preceded in death by her husband, our father, Lester H. Gillikin in 1959.

She is survived by two sons and their wives, Robert and Martha Gillikin of Dallas, Texas, and Haywood and Jenny Gillikin of Elizabeth City; three grandchildren, John Gillikin, Elizabeth G. Johnson (and husband Connor), and David Gillikin (and wife Jenney); and six great-grandchildren: Connor Jr., Sarah, and David Johnson, Kate and Alexander Gillikin, and Hurley Chamberlain.

Our mother was one of nine girls and grew up on a depression era farm (no boys; the girls had to plow behind mules). She had two dresses during high school; nevertheless, she graduated valedictorian of her class. Then she came to Goldsboro and married one of its most outstanding bachelors in St. Paul Methodist Church, where she was early on active in a membership that lasted 73 years.

After raising Robert and Haywood and shaming them back to the straight and narrow, Mother decided at 65 to get a job with one criterion; one that would help children (disadvantaged, prefer-ably). She prayed about it fervently one night, and the prayer was answered the next morning. She was hired (for $2.50 an hour) and she called it "volunteer" work.

For 15 years she worked five hours a day at Edgewood Community Development School in the Foster Grandparent Program, working with children at different levels of challenge. The most challenging and rewarding for her was her work with autistic children. When asked what she wanted the children to call her she said "Honey," and indeed they did. I went with her one morning and a chorus went up: "Honey," "Honey..." "The most rewarding part of my life" she called her Foster Grandparent role.

In 1985, Honey was chosen (from among 279 Foster Grandparents) to represent North Carolina for a program at the White House and to have dinner in the Blue Room with the Reagans (Nancy Reagan initiated the Foster Grandparent Program). In a feature piece in the New Argus she was quoted saying (of Edgewood Community Development School children) "...when I look at these children's faces, I don't see a handicapped child, I see a child that needs more love than anybody. They are God's special children, and I feel He's using me as His hands; it's good for my soul."

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be sent to Edgewood Community Development School.


Published in Obituaries on February 10, 2009 1:47 PM