In memory of
Helen Gilliland
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Memorial service begins in 35 days
In memory of
Helen Gilliland
Helen Gilliland Retired insurance professional dedicated to social justice Helen Gilliland died peacefully, surrounded by loved ones, on Dec. 18, 2019, in Oakland, Calif., at the age of 66. Helen cheated death twice before, in 1958 with nephritis and in 1971 after a cancer diagnosis. Helen was a resident of Alameda, Calif., and grew up in New Providence, N.J. Helen is survived by her sister Mary, husband Peter Fortunato of Ithaca, N.Y.; brother Jimmy, wife Luann, nephews Patrick, Steven, Paul and John, of Bloomsburg, Pa.; sister-in-law Marie Colangelo, husband Stephen, nieces Lauren Risho, Erin Trasser, and Michelle Colangelo, of Stirling, NJ; brother John, husband Eric Pfeiffer, nephew Andrew Adams, niece and goddaughter Claire Adams, of San Francisco, Calif.; sister Nancy Wolstenholme, partner Mike Hollis, niece Francis Partridge, of London, England; brother Gerald Vincent Gilliland, wife Eileen, nephews Harry and Louis, of Easton, Pa. Helen was preceded in death by her father James Bonner Gilliland and her mother Mary Eileen (Wunderlich) Gilliland; brother Thomas Gilliland and nephew and godson Michael Gilliland, both of Stirling, N.J.; brother Edward Gilliland and brother-in-law Eduardo Rubio-Arzate, both of Albuquerque, N.M. Helen was born on July 8, 1953, in Philadelphia, Pa. She received her associate in arts degree from Laney College in 1997, graduating Phi Theta Kappa for her outstanding academic record. She received her Charter Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation September 29, 1986, awarded by the American Institute for Property and Liability Underwriters. She was a 1971 graduate of Academy of St. Elizabeth's High School in Convent Station, N.J., and attended The Academy of Our Lady of Peace School in New Providence, N.J. She graduated from Miss Pat's School of Dance charm school in 1966. Helen began her professional insurance career with Kemper Insurance Company in Summit, N.J. Prior to starting her professional insurance career, Helen worked as a taxi driver for Geddis Cab Company and as a retail sales clerk at Brooks Department Store, both of Summit, N.J. Helen found her true passion in training and teaching other insurance professionals before retiring from USI Insurance Services in April of 2019. Helen's sobriety date was Jan. 9, 1982, and thereafter she became an active member of the recovery community. She sponsored many others in their journey and completed extensive service work, giving back the gifts she was given. Thank you Bill W. and Heidi P. Helen was dedicated to social justice and was passionate about making the world a better place. With a particular love for Mexico, she participated in three national and state election observation delegations, monitoring polls for free and fair elections in association with Global Exchange. In 2004, she worked with Election Protection Volunteers in Tucson, Ariz., during the United States presidential election. Live music and theatre were two passions she shared with family and friends, having attended many Grateful Dead concerts on New Year's Eve, seasons of Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and dancing with abandon at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. She was also passionate about baseball. A dedicated fan of the San Francisco Giants, Helen attended spring training, along with regular season games with family and friends, both near and far. World Series championships in 2010, 2012, and 2014 were a particular thrill, and she became a secret fan of Journey in the process. Go Giants! Helen loved to travel, was a voracious reader, and played a mean game of canasta. She spent a lifetime crackin' wise with her best friend Melissa Faitoute of Berkeley Heights, N.J. A memorial service is scheduled for Feb. 22, 2020, at 11 a.m., at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 2808 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland, Calif., with a lunch reception to follow at the parish hall. Father Tom Weston will officiate the service. Please join us to celebrate Helen's life. In lieu of flowers, and in her memory, please give to the ACLU, National Immigration Law Center, or your favorite organization that fights against injustice.
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In memory of
Helen Gilliland
Helen Gilliland Retired insurance professional dedicated to social justice Helen Gilliland died peacefully, surrounded by loved ones, on Dec. 18, 2019, in Oakland, Calif., at the age of 66. Helen cheated death twice before, in 1958 with nephritis and in 1971 after a cancer diagnosis. Helen was a resident of Alameda, Calif., and grew up in New Providence, N.J. Helen is survived by her sister Mary, husband Peter Fortunato of Ithaca, N.Y.; brother Jimmy, wife Luann, nephews Patrick, Steven, Paul and John, of Bloomsburg, Pa.; sister-in-law Marie Colangelo, husband Stephen, nieces Lauren Risho, Erin Trasser, and Michelle Colangelo, of Stirling, NJ; brother John, husband Eric Pfeiffer, nephew Andrew Adams, niece and goddaughter Claire Adams, of San Francisco, Calif.; sister Nancy Wolstenholme, partner Mike Hollis, niece Francis Partridge, of London, England; brother Gerald Vincent Gilliland, wife Eileen, nephews Harry and Louis, of Easton, Pa. Helen was preceded in death by her father James Bonner Gilliland and her mother Mary Eileen (Wunderlich) Gilliland; brother Thomas Gilliland and nephew and godson Michael Gilliland, both of Stirling, N.J.; brother Edward Gilliland and brother-in-law Eduardo Rubio-Arzate, both of Albuquerque, N.M. Helen was born on July 8, 1953, in Philadelphia, Pa. She received her associate in arts degree from Laney College in 1997, graduating Phi Theta Kappa for her outstanding academic record. She received her Charter Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation September 29, 1986, awarded by the American Institute for Property and Liability Underwriters. She was a 1971 graduate of Academy of St. Elizabeth's High School in Convent Station, N.J., and attended The Academy of Our Lady of Peace School in New Providence, N.J. She graduated from Miss Pat's School of Dance charm school in 1966. Helen began her professional insurance career with Kemper Insurance Company in Summit, N.J. Prior to starting her professional insurance career, Helen worked as a taxi driver for Geddis Cab Company and as a retail sales clerk at Brooks Department Store, both of Summit, N.J. Helen found her true passion in training and teaching other insurance professionals before retiring from USI Insurance Services in April of 2019. Helen's sobriety date was Jan. 9, 1982, and thereafter she became an active member of the recovery community. She sponsored many others in their journey and completed extensive service work, giving back the gifts she was given. Thank you Bill W. and Heidi P. Helen was dedicated to social justice and was passionate about making the world a better place. With a particular love for Mexico, she participated in three national and state election observation delegations, monitoring polls for free and fair elections in association with Global Exchange. In 2004, she worked with Election Protection Volunteers in Tucson, Ariz., during the United States presidential election. Live music and theatre were two passions she shared with family and friends, having attended many Grateful Dead concerts on New Year's Eve, seasons of Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and dancing with abandon at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. She was also passionate about baseball. A dedicated fan of the San Francisco Giants, Helen attended spring training, along with regular season games with family and friends, both near and far. World Series championships in 2010, 2012, and 2014 were a particular thrill, and she became a secret fan of Journey in the process. Go Giants! Helen loved to travel, was a voracious reader, and played a mean game of canasta. She spent a lifetime crackin' wise with her best friend Melissa Faitoute of Berkeley Heights, N.J. A memorial service is scheduled for Feb. 22, 2020, at 11 a.m., at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 2808 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland, Calif., with a lunch reception to follow at the parish hall. Father Tom Weston will officiate the service. Please join us to celebrate Helen's life. In lieu of flowers, and in her memory, please give to the ACLU, National Immigration Law Center, or your favorite organization that fights against injustice.
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Memorial service
 
22
Saturday, Feb 22
11:00 AM
Our Lady of Lourdes Church
2808 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland, CA 94610
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