Ms. Gilda Williams Reese, 89 went to be with the Lord on Thursday, September 2, 2021 at her home surrounded by her family.
A funeral service will be held at 4:00 PM on Sunday, September 5 at Center Baptist Church with the Rev. Kay Autry officiating. Burial will follow at Maxwell Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 3:00 – 4:00 PM at the church prior to the service.
Let us remember the life of a wonderful woman, Gilda W. Reese, better known as Tom, a nickname given to her by her dad.
Tom was an amazing woman who lived a life story in a time when what she had to accomplish was not the tradition. Even with the obstacles she faced, one would never know it. She loved her family deeply and had lifetime friendships.
Tom was born in Cumberland County on April 15, 1932, the daughter of the late William K. and Mamie Pope Williams. Tom was preceded in death by Lewis Starling, her husband of two years, who passed from a spinal injury; three sisters, twins Melbalene Culbreth and Ethelyne Matthews, Melrose Bochy and brother Brack Williams.
She is survived by: two daughters: Beverly Gray Horne of Fayetteville and Donna Reese Stringfellow of Wade; five grandchildren, Ethan Stringfellow of High Point, NC, Wyatt Stringfellow of Wade, NC; Kayla Stringfellow and her husband Aaran Connolly; Casey Joe and wife Breanna Marie Horne; Moriah Elizabeth Horne all from Fayetteville; twin sister Wilda Mae Stewart; many nieces and nephews. A special mention of her son-in-love Delton Jay Stringfellow of Wade, NC. We cannot forget Miley, her beloved pet companion, who added much love to her life.
Gilda would be so honored and humbled by her family and friends here to celebrate her life today. All of those who are here to pay their respects is a wonderful testimony to the lives she touched.
Tom loved to reminisce about old stories of her life growing up with her sisters and brother. According to Mae, when Tom tore or stained her handmade clothes after playing with Brack and his friends, she would switch her tattered clothes with Mae to aggravate her. In high school, Tom loved to play basketball. She made friendships during those years that neither distance nor time could take away. Once you knew Tom and her spunkiness, love of life, and giving heart, you were forever a part of her life.
Shortly after Tom graduated high school, she married Lewis Starling. Lewis became paralyze during a diving accident while they were at White Lake, just a few months after they were married. “Tommy”, as Lewis called her, cared for Lewis when she was not working full time at her day job. At the young age of twenty-one, Tommy lost the love of her life upon his passing. She later remarried and moved to Texas and had two daughters, Beverly and Donna. Donna was just six months old when Tom moved back to NC as a single mom. She raised her girls in a time when being divorced rarely happened but Tom did it with grace and style. She always took pride in her girls and raised them by example. She worked as a secretary with Modern Moving & Storage for more than thirty years. While income was limited and making ends was hard to meet, Tom always had a lot to give. The girls never wanted for anything.
Tom waited about fifteen years for her first grandchild and it was worth every minute. She loved all five of her grandchildren very much. She loved calling Kayla and Ethan to hear their voices when they were living in Texas. When Ethan was about 4 years old and Grandma Tom would call, Ethan would ramble on with his grandma for over a half hour every time. She never knew what Ethan was saying, but would listened lovingly and patiently each time. She loved it when her grandbabies stayed with her and she was able to play with them outside. In her eyes, teaching them to hit a baseball was her responsibility.
Gilda, Tom, sister, aunt, momma, grandma or friend; however, you knew Tom in your life; you knew she loved unconditionally and would always be there for you. Now is our time to say goodbye to a wonderful mom, family member and friend.
Go rest high on the mountain and find the love and joy with Jesus as you also gave. You will be miss dearly and often.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Dementia Alliance of NC, 9131 Anson Way; Suite 206, Raleigh, NC 27615 or to the American Heart Association, 10 Glenlake Parkway NE Tower; Suite 400, Atlanta, GA, 30328.
Services entrusted to Butler Funeral Home, 6535 Clinton Road, Stedman, NC 28391.
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