Carmen Francis Gillam, 90, of Alexandria, slipped into Heaven on Sunday, June 7, 2020 at the Alexandria Care Center following an extended illness. Due to Alzheimer’s and the current pandemic, Carmen gave up her will to live from loneliness and not being able to see her family.
She was born Oct. 10, 1929 in Anderson, the daughter of John and Victoria (McMahan) Howe.
Carmen attended school in Orestes until eighth grade and later attended Alexandria High School.
She was a longtime member of the Alexandria Church of the Nazarene.
Carmen retired from Red Gold in 1995 where she worked in the sorting division for several years. She also worked privately for the Reichart family as a Nanny for many years and formerly worked at the T-Way Department Store in Elwood.
She married Paul M. Gillam on Oct. 17, 1993 and they shared more than 21 years of marriage together until his passing in 2015.
Carmen was formerly an active member of the Elwood Moose Lodge and a lifetime member of the Elwood V.F.W. where she served with the Ladies Auxiliary.
She enjoyed playing in a regular euchre card club for many years, was an avid Chicago Cubs fan, and enjoyed working puzzle books. Carmen was known for socializing everywhere she went, and she especially enjoyed music, dancing, family gatherings, and the Elwood Concerts in the Park during the summer months.
Carmen’s family includes a daughter, Deloris “Dodie” Howe of Alexandria; five stepchildren, Jamice (Mike) Lowery of Sulphur Springs, Sandy Garland of Water-viet, MI., Kathy Sirk of Eldorado Springs, MO., Mark (Kathy) Gillam of Elwood, and Lisa (Greg) Mick of Lexington, KY.; three sisters, Barbara Thurber of Alexandria, Charlotte (Calvin) Mercer of Anderson, and Peggy Hampton (Porfirio Veliz) of Anderson; 19 grandchildren, Marla Kemp (Tim Davis), Donna (Darrell) Bevelhimer, Camey Lane, Rachel Beane, Joseph Sirk (Mary), Cindy (Tobey) Meadows, Richard Lee (Delisa) Howe, Deloris Musgrove, Rebecca (Kenny) Marshall, Patrick Howe, Lori Delaney, Christa Pausterbaugh, Jennifer Thompson, Ken Garland, Tom Garland, Mark Garland, Tina Melton, Wendy Best, and Carrina McMannis; several great-grandchildren; several great-great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Carmen was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Paul M. Gillam; daughter, Mary (Goforth) Sirk; four siblings, David Howe, Richard Howe, Betty Russell, and Sheila Howe; and two grandchildren, Chris Howe and Melissa Emery.
A funeral service celebrating Carmen’s life will be conducted at 2:30 p.m. Friday, June 12, 2020 at Copher-Fesler-May Funeral Home with Pastor Mark Diemer of the Alexandria Church of the Nazarene officiating. For health safety, social distancing guidelines will be expected. Burial will follow in Forrestville Cemetery in rural Summitville.
Visitation for family and friends will be held from noon to 2:30 p.m. Friday prior to the funeral at Copher-Fesler-May Funeral Home.
Memorial contributions are suggested to the Elwood V.F.W. through the funeral home.
Carmen’s family would like to thank the staff of the Alexandria Care Center for the exceptional care they provided to Carmen in her final years and especially in recent months during the pandemic.
Online condolences and memories may be shared at copherfeslermay.com.