Bessie Lucille Gill

Bessie Lucille Gill of Richmond, born Oct. 7, 1924 to Robert Howard Middleton, Sr. and Pauline Grace Paulson Middleton in Richmond, passed away Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 at her home.

Lucille is survived by her husband of 62 years, Joseph Ray Gill who resides at the home, along with her children Christie and Jerry White of Liberty, Missouri, John and Melanie Gill of Kansas City, Mo..  Other survivors include grandchildren Kenneth White, his wife Hannah and their daughters Grace and Faith of Kearney;  A.J. and Marcie Shinabarger of Kansas City, Mo.; Andrew Gill of Kansas City, Mo. and Grant and Emily Karr and their son Henry of Kansas City, Mo.  Lucille is also survived by her sister-in-law, Shirley Middleton of Richmond, and other members of her extended family.

Lucille dedicated her life to loving and caring for her family and service to her church, community and the world.

Lucille is preceded in death by her parents, her brother, Robert Howard “Manson” (Hoot) Middleton and a sister, Billie Rose Middleton who died in childhood.

Lucille grew up in Richmond, the daughter of a coal mining family.  After graduating from Richmond High School, Lucille spent her early career working as a teller at the Exchange Bank of Richmond.  She married Ray Gill Nov. 11, 1950.  Together they worked to build a large farming operation in Ray County while at the same time, dedicating herself to raising their two children.  She greatly enjoyed spending time with her four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Later in life, Lucille dedicated herself to many philanthropic activities including the renovation of the Farris Theatre in Richmond, the construction of the Ray County Library in Richmond, Cottey College and numerous other charitable causes.

Lucille was active in the First Baptist Church, a member of the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, PEO Sisterhood, the Allen-Morton Watkins Chapter- Daughters of the American Revolution, People to People International and served on the Board of Directors of the Ray County Historical Society.

Lucille was a charter member of the John Priest Greene Society of William Jewell College, was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International and was honored to be one of the first American Citizens allowed to travel to China during the early stages of detente as part of a group of American Farm Ambassadors.

The family wishes to thank the primary care givers during the last stage of Lucille’s life; Billie Hampton, Sheri Ford, Roxanna Sanderson, Ladonna Ford and Brogan Milsap.  They also wish to thank the wonderful care provided by the nurses and staff of Crossroads Hospice.

Visitation will be at the First Baptist Church in Richmond, Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 10 a.m., followed by a memorial service at 11 with inturnment at Richmond Memory Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to The Cottey College Fine Arts Building or the “Our Promise” Campaign for the Farris Theatre in Richmond.

Arrangements by Thurman Funeral Home.

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