Betty Sue Gilliam-O'Keefe, 88, of Alexandria, Virginia passed away Saturday, January 8th, 2022 at Inova Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia.
Betty was born in McDowell County on September 6th, 1933 to the late William Howard Gilliam and Viola "Rosebud" Davis Gilliam. She was raised on Cedar Creek in Black Mountain and graduated at the top of her class at Old Fort High School in 1952. At the tender age of 18 and just after graduation, Betty bravely left the mountains for Washington, D.C. for a life of better opportunity.
Over her distinguished career in Washington, Betty worked for several branches of the US Government and also Capitol Hill. Betty was passionate about traveling and throughout her lifetime did visit much of the world. She loved taking cruises but her true love was Ireland-where she often visited with her late husband Timothy O'Keefe after marrying in 1978. Later in life, Betty opened "Cruiseland Travel" which she operated successfully for many years. She also achieved tremendous success and wealth throughout her lifetime as a landlord- owning properties in several states.
Betty was tremendously generous and loved her family. For many years she sent money home to help provide for her mother, younger siblings, or her nieces and nephews. She was well known to help others in need and give generously to all because she understood how hard living with need is-having experienced the harshness of poverty when she was younger. Betty was a woman of faith and a member of Cherry Springs Baptist Church.
In addition to her parents, Betty is preceded in death by her husband, Timothy O'Keefe, four siblings, William Logan "Cotton" Gilliam, James Theodore "Jake" Gilliam, Patricia "Toad" Gilliam Waycaster, and Aaron "Boe" Gilliam, four nieces and nephews, and one stepson, Timothy "Timmy" Jude O'Keefe.
She leaves behind three Siblings, Kathy Gilliam McKinney Ragan (Eddie), David L. Gilliam, and Gary Michael "Mickey" Gilliam (Helen), three Stepchildren: Ann Marie LeBeau, Eileen Nora Churchill and Brian Patrick O'Keefe, and 16 nieces and nephews.
A funeral service will be held on Saturday, January 22nd, 2022 at 11:00 am in the Chapel of Beam Funeral Service. The family will receive friends from 10:00 am until 11:00 am. Burial will follow at Cherry Springs Memorial Park.