Marie Vivian Parsons Gilmore passed away at Grove Hill Memorial Hospital Friday, May 3, 2019, after a long, productive and happy life of 92 years.
She and her twin sister, the late Sarah Mirian Parsons Heaton, were born March 10, 1927, in Talladega, Ala., to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Donald Parsons. She grew up in Selma and graduated from Albert G. Parish High School. She also lived in Orrville. Her college career began at Alabama College, (now the University of Montevallo) and she earned her master's in biology at the University of Alabama.
While visiting her roommate, she met her future husband, the late Wyman Oscar Gilmore, Sr. Their first home was in Butler, Ala., in his native Choctaw County, where he practiced law and she started her teaching career. Later she became principal at Butler Elementary School.
It was during this time they started their family, Vivian Wylynn Gilmore-Phillippi was born first followed by Wyman Oscar "Gil" Gilmore, Jr. Mr. Gilmore moved his practice to Grove Hill in the early 1960s and Vivian enjoyed teaching again. Incidentally, two weeks ago, men and women celebrating their 50th-year reunion at Clarke County High School told of her influence in the science classroom.
Her next venture was opening Wyman's Jewelry and Gift Shop in Grove Hill. She cherished the many relationships weaved over two decades through this business. Another excitement early on during this venture was the birth of her third child, Frederick Parsons "Ric" Gilmore.
Wyman died in 1988 but she continued on, staying busy with her business and many civic activities.
She was a devoted member of Grove Hill Baptist Church where she taught an adult Sunday school class. When health issues prevailed, she taught the class in her home.
She had always loved the card game of Bridge and it was during this time that she opened her home to Clarke and Choctaw County ladies (and a few men!) who loved the game as much as she did. It was well known that Wednesdays were off limits to everything else because that was "Bridge Day." Vivian enjoyed the game not only because it allowed people to get together but she also believed it helped keep the mind sharp and stimulated.
She was an avid reader. She loved to read all genres of books and often donated her books to the library for others to enjoy. With her zest for promoting Grove Hill she was often referred to as Grove Hill's greatest cheerleader.
She was an active member in the Chamber of Commerce, the Community Study Club of Grove Hill, the Grove Hill Academy School Board, Children's Center of Clarke County, (now the Regional Child Advocacy Center), the Grove Hill Beautification Committee, the Grove Hill Memorial Hospital Auxiliary and she was an unwavering supporter of the Grove Hill Public Library as well as many other areas of the town. It was easy to see that she would be the perfect candidate for Citizen of the Year in 1996. Then to top that, she was selected to receive the inaugural Eddie Slayton Award from the Regional Child Advocacy Center in 2012.
A Grove Hill senior citizens center constructed in 2008 was named in her honor, the Vivian P. Gilmore Senior Center.
Yet with all these accolades, she was most proud of her children. All three followed their father as lawyers and have successful practices. All three have families and they blessed her with nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Vivian radiated with joy anytime she was sharing stories and/or accomplishments of her family.
She is survived by her children:
Vivian Wylynn Gilmore-Phillippi, (Bo), Wyman(Gil) Oscar Gilmore, Jr. (Cindy), and Frederick Parsons Gilmore (Nikki).
Grandchildren: William (Billy) Robertson Phillippi, III, (Mallory), Wyman Gilmore Phillippi, Wyman Oscar Gilmore, III, Patricia Leigh Gilmore Terry (Gordon), Sarah Marie Gilmore Weaver (John), Vivian Parsons Gilmore, Frederick Parsons Gilmore, Jr.(Par), Frederick Walter Gilmore, and John Wallis Gilmore.
Great grandchildren: Harper Marie Weaver, Gordon Morrow Terry, Jr. and William Robertson Phillippi, IV.
Per her instructions, a graveside service was held Sunday, May 5 at 3:30 p.m. at the Magnolia Lawn Cemetery in Grove Hill. Gil Gilmore gave the eulogy and her cousins, Rev. James Cohorn, read scripture and gave a message. Bill Allbriton sang "It Is Well With My Soul" and Winky Hicks played "In the Garden" and "I'll Fly Away" on his banjo.
Afterwards, friends and family gathered in the fellowship hall of the Grove Hill Baptist Church for a time of fellowship and remembering.
Lathan Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.