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Beam Funeral Service & Crematory
Saturday January 22nd, 2022
10:00am - 11:00am

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Funeral Service

Beam Funeral Service & Crematory
Saturday January 22nd, 2022

View Details

Order Flowers now for guaranteed delivery before Betty's visitation.

Betty Sue Gilliam-O'Keefe

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.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Betty Gilliam-O'Keefe, please visit our flower store.


Mrs Betty, was a woman with a good heart, forever will u be in my heart, 💘 u but God loves u more. RIP, till we meet to part no more. My condolence to the entire 👪

Oluchi Amadi Jan 23 2022 7:36 PM

Betty was a wonderful Sister-in law. She had a great sense of humor, loved her family, had a generous spirit, and was always kind and encouraging to me . She always seemed be looking on the brighter side of life's challenges, and she had plenty. She is with the Lord and her beloved Tim and family now. How beautiful Heaven must be! We love you Betty, Ed

Eddie J. Ragan Jan 22 2022 8:52 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Betty Gilliam-O'Keefe

ED RAGAN Jan 22 2022 8:40 AM

Hey Bet, GiGi's Mother, our sister Pat, left a massage for you and really all of us. Her cousin Don sang it at her departing. It was; "God's children too long have been burdened They are longing for heaven's green shore. Where heartaches are left far behind us and burdens are carried no more. Chorus: Come morning I'll walk by the river, I'll rest neath the evergreen tree I'll carry my cross through the midnight Come morning there's glory for me!" I am sure you have seen her by now and our Dear Mother. I look forward to walking by that river with Jesus and you 3 girls. Thank you for encouragement to me during some of my darkest times. Thank you for financial assistance, helping your nephew through the Citadel. We had fun there for the "Ring Ceremony" Thank you for encouraging me to return to school and then to college. Thank you for teaching me sewing and cooking and many other things. You were always a protector. Thank you for introducing me to cruises and the special encouragement to take Eds Mom & Dad on a cruise about 20 plus yrs. ago. Thank you for your sharing, Williamsburg and Orlando. Most of all thank you for your love. I will one day Stroll over Heaven with You. I love you Sis, always have and always will. Kathleen Gilliam-Ragan.

KATHLEEN RAGAN Jan 21 2022 10:20 PM

Rest in eternal peace Betty. Say hi to Dad. Hug him for me!

Ann Marie LeBeau Jan 19 2022 7:56 PM

Aunt Betty… What will I do without our chats? I love you tremendously and I'm grateful for every experience I had with you in my lifetime… And for everything you did for our family in our lifetime. Enjoy your downtime and I'm so happy you're with all of our family who have passed previously. Get your rest you deserve it! Love, gigi

gigi waycaster Jan 16 2022 7:07 PM

A candle was lit in memory of Betty Gilliam-O'Keefe

gigi waycaster Jan 16 2022 7:05 PM

A candle was lit in memory of Betty Gilliam-O'Keefe

Wilma Brooks Jan 16 2022 4:32 PM

You will be missed Aunt Betty. Thank's for all your help. I love you!!!

Aaron M. Gilliam Jr. Jan 15 2022 10:51 PM

A candle was lit in memory of Betty Gilliam-O'Keefe

Aaron M. Gilliam Jr. Jan 15 2022 10:47 PM

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