Reverend Fred Thomas Gilley, Sr., Stuart, VA, aged 91 years, peacefully completed his earthly journey at his residence and went to be with the Lord, Saturday, January 9, 2021. Reverend Gilley is survived by his beautiful bride and life partner in service to the Lord for more than 66 years, Jean Catherine Hancock Gilley of the home.
Reverend Gilley was preceded in death by two sons, Fred Thomas Gilley, Jr. and Helms Moran Gilley, his parents, Richard Moir Gilley, Sr. and Carrie Etta Moran Gilley, and a sister and brother, Lois Gilley Plaster and James Lester Gilley. He is survived by his son, Jeffrey Forrest Gilley and wife Elena Shvetsova Gilley, grandchildren Frederick Thomas (Rick) III (son of Fred, Jr.) and his wife Tonya Trout Gilley and their daughter Virginia Belle Gilley, Kathryn Gilley (daughter of Fred, Jr.), daughter-in-law Karin Bitzer Gilley, Helms’ widow, and their children Jeanette Carrie Gilley and Thomas Gustav Gilley. His surviving siblings are: sisters Lola Gilley, Elaine Gilley Hancock (Jimmy), Barbara Gilley Foley (James) and brothers Richard M. Gilley, Jr. and Paul Gilley (Betty).
Fred Thomas Gilley, Sr. was born in Ramseytown, Henry County, VA September 22, 1929, and was reared in the Critz, Patrick County, VA community. His family church was Salem Methodist in the Critz Community. Reverend Gilley was an ordained United Methodist minister and was retired from the Virginia United Methodist Conference.
Fred graduated from Hardin Reynolds School in Critz. He subsequently attended and graduated from the then Ferrum Junior College where he met his future bride Jean. Both Fred and Jean participated in the Ferrum tuition assistance program of the time which were the school dairy and produce farms, kitchen and other work which supported the operation of the school. Fred also worked in the Ferrum sawmill, labor with which he was keenly familiar from his teen years. He attended the then Asbury College, Wilmore, KY, for one year on an academic scholarship, and subsequently attended and graduated from Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, VA with a B.A. in history, 1954. Reverend Gilley was a 1965 graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC.
Fred’s and Jean’s ministry took them in the spring of 1955 to their first appointment at the Clover and Scottsburg churches in Halifax County, VA. An appointment in Nokesville, VA followed and an appointment to the NC Conference in Raleigh, NC while Fred attended seminary. Subsequent Virginia Conference appointments were Dry Fork, Keysville, the North Amelia Charge (Epworth, Salem, and Holly Hills), Salem and Vinton, VA and Gordonsville, VA. Fred was a field reporter for the Cooperative Farmer magazine published by Southern States Cooperative for 7 years while serving as a full-time pastor for the North Amelia Charge. Fred was also a former editor of The Enterprise, Stuart, VA. A life-long learner, he engaged in theological self-study through voracious reading and wrote religious articles and commentaries for local newspapers and religious periodicals. He also served in retirement as what he jokingly and lovingly referred to as “full-time, part-time ministry” as a supply pastor for local Presbyterian churches and as a substitute pastor during absences of fellow clergy of all denominations.
A graveside service will be held Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at 2:00 PM at Patrick Memorial Gardens with Pastors John Franklin and Thomas Shepherd officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, Patrick County Chapter, P. O. Box 1301, Stuart, VA 24171 or to a charitable good works of the donor’s choice. Online condolences may be sent to www.moodyfuneralservices.com.