SUBMITTED PHOTO Roncalli students (front, from left) Jennifer Murillo, Chelsea Garcia Andalon; (middle row) Mariel Martinez and Carlos Garcia were presented Bluff Creek Golf Course George Greer Memorial Scholarships Sept. 12 by Steve Coffman (back)
Joseph Marlo “Joe” Gilliam Jr., 26, died Sept. 11, 2018, in Indianapolis. He took his last breath at 1:53 p.m. and was welcomed into heaven with fully restored lungs and a body that was made new. Joe is survived by his beloved wife, Rachel; grandparents, the Rev. Donnell and Beverly Liddell; parents, Yvette Hawkins and Joseph (Vickie) Gilliam Sr.; sisters, Chelsey Henry and Khlyra “KK” Winters; and uncle, Darius Barker.
He was preceded in death by his great-grandmother, Magnolia White, and grandmother, Virginia Gilliam. Joe was born March 18, 1992. He attended Mary Bryan Elementary School, Southport Middle and Southport High, where he excelled academically as well as in track, basketball and football.
He was recently inducted into the Southport Wall of Fame. He attended Purdue University and was a linebacker on the football team. Many of his teammates recall him as a team-first guy with a smile that could light up the room. He graduated from Purdue with a degree in sales management and began his career at Enterprise Rent-A-Car in a sales role. He married Rachel in 2016, and they began to build a life that they were proud of and grateful for.
His wife will always remember him as a strong, devoted and even-keeled husband. He was her calm in many of life’s storms. Joe was diagnosed with grade 4 spinal glioblastoma in March 2017. Even though the odds, survival rate and lack of medical research were stacked against him, he never once doubted that he would be healed.
His faith in our Ultimate Healer was concrete, and he often encouraged others to keep their faith during his season of illness as well. Joe spent nearly a third of the past year and a half of his life in hospitals as the tumor began to spread throughout his spine and brain.
Many will never know how relentlessly he fought his fight against cancer with several rounds of radiation, chemotherapy, experimental/trial drugs, rehabilitation and countless procedures. Joe came to know the Lord at the age of 7 and served on the usher board at Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church as a teenager.
He attended Calvary Baptist Church in West Lafayette and Lakeview Church in Indianapolis. He allowed the Lord to guide every day of his life and is now worshipping at the feet of our Heavenly Father.