James Gilyard Jr. was born November 4, 1934 and departed this life on August 8, 2020 at Vidant Hospice in Greenville, NC. He was preceded in death by his parents, James Gilyard Sr. and Hattie Mae Georgia Gilyard, his wives, Thelma Ree Atkins Gilyard and Eleanor Pierce Gilyard; one son, Edward Lee Atkins (Priscilla).
James lived a full and happy life as a child working in the fields with his father who was a sharecropper. As a result he was only able to finish the 8th grade of schooling. He left South Carolina at an early age and went to New York where he met and married Thelma, his wife of 34 years. He later married Eleanor Pierce, they enjoyed 14 years of marriage until her death in 2014.
James served Jehovah as a ministerial servant, an elder and regular pioneer over the years. He has preached and shared his love of the Bible and the truths in it for over 45 years. His friends and co-workers will always remember his smile and his reply to the question "How are you doing?" His response was always a smile and the answer "Ruff, Ruff".
James is survived by two sons, James M. Gilyard (Cheryl) of Fort Myers, Florida and Lee Thomas Gilyard of the home; three daughters, Rhonda Michele Atkins of Oklahoma City, OK. Veronica Gilyard of the home and Suzette Dickens (Roscoe) of Rocky Mount, NC; 11 grandchildren, including David Andrew Gilyard and Liane Michele Gilyard, both of Wilson whom he raised; 21 great-grandchildren; 5 step-daughters; 9 stepsons and a host of other family and friends.
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