News & Updates

Lillian Gill: A "Giant" of Integrity and Talent

Lillian Gill (1917 - 2014)

Recently, the City of Grand Rapids lost a “Giant.” In September, Lillian Gill, 97, passed away.  Among her many awards, she received the 1986 Giant Award from the Grand Rapids Community College Foundation for her religious service in her church and beyond. For 15 years she played the organ for her church choir, and for 32 years she was the president of the "Sunday School" Congress of the Western District Association of Baptist Churches in Michigan.  

Ms. Gill also received recognition for her service to the Grand Rapids Public Schools with the A. C. Talbott Award. As a volunteer, she was a “liaison for schools,” helping parents whose children had dropped out of school.

In 2007, Ms. Gill was presented the WoHeLo Award from the Camp Fire USA West Michigan Council. She was the first black leader for the Camp Fire Girls, a fact uncovered by a Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council member, Pamela VandenBerg. (To read about the story behind this award, click here.) The WoHeLo Award is Camp Fire’s highest honor and has gone to few recipients, according to Ms. VandenBerg. She described this award as the embodiment of “one’s dedication to education, leadership, speaking out about community needs, and serving the community.” 

Ms. Gill was a perfect example of this description, and WoHeLo Award and many others were only a part of her exceptional legacy. She left behind a model of unshakable integrity and unending ambition, energy, compassion, and generosity, not only for children, but for those of all ages and backgrounds. . . .

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Join the Gathering and Help Preserve and Spread the "Slice of Life" Stories of Interesting Local Women

Do you like to read interesting stories about ordinary people—what you might call “slice of life” stories? The kind of narrative in which the characters are often struggling with the day-to-day chaos of young children, too many obligations, or yet-to-be-filled dreams, whether personal or professional. Sometimes they succeed with their daily challenges and sometimes they fail. But either way, it makes for good reading because as a reader you can relate. You have had similar experiences and lessons. In short, you’ve been there and done that.

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