Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas


June 9, 2014

Wanda McLain Gillen

Wanda McLain Gillen, 89, of Blooming Grove passed away Friday, June 6, 2014 at Baylor Hospital in Dallas.

Wanda was born March 20, 1925 in Mertens, Texas to Earl and Lucille McLain. She attended school in Mertens and was the Valedictorian of the Class of 1942.  She attended the University of North Texas for one year and was then asked to teach business classes at Blooming Grove High School.  She continued her education in the summers and graduated from UNT in August 1949.  She received her M.S. in Education from Baylor University.

While teaching at Blooming Grove, Wanda met the love of her life and married Billy Gillen on July 30, 1945.  He told her that he was going to marry her on their first date, and until his death in 1982 they were inseparable.

She had a great love for teaching.  She taught business for 24 years at Blooming Grove.  She also sponsored pep squad, cheerleaders, drill team and anything else she was ask to do including becoming the counselor.  In 1968, she became a counselor at Navarro until her retirement in 1988. She loved the students at Blooming Grove and Navarro, and often said she gave advice that no one listened to.  However, they did because she was stopped almost every day and told by someone how much she had affected their lives. After retirement, she was elected to serve on the board of Navarro from 1989 until 2002.  The highlight was a trip to Russia in 1998 to a college that had students also attending Navarro.  Overall, she served the young people of Navarro County and their educational needs for over 60 years.  She was always proud of her “kids” as she called them.

Wanda was an active member of the Blooming Grove Central Baptist Church where she had served as a Sunday school teacher and pianist. She was a former member of Delta Kappa Gamma, retired Teacher and other clubs in Navarro County.

She and her husband loved to travel.  She continued this by taking her grandchildren to Europe for graduation and then continued to travel with friends and family often.

Wanda was preceded in death by her husband, Billy Gillen Sr., her parents, brother and sister-in-law, Travis and Beverly King McLain, and son-in-law, Bill Hill.

Survivors include her son and daughter-in-law, Bill and Karen Jarvis Gillen of Corpus Christie, daughter, Gale Hill of Blooming Grove; grandchildren, David Hill, Dustin Hill, Stephanie Wigington and husband, Daron, Shane Gillen, and Jason Gillen and wife, Natalie; great-grandchildren Forrest, Wesley, and Katelyn Wigington, and Wyatt, Garrett and Riley Gillen; brother and sister-in-law, Del and Wynell McLain of Rockport; sister-in-laws, Maxine Brown, Doris Gillen, and Carolyn Gillen.

Visitation will be 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at Griffin-Roughton Funeral Home.

Service will be 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at Central Baptist Church in Blooming Grove, Texas. Burial will follow at Rose Hill cemetery. Pallbearers will be grandsons and great-grandsons.

An online guest book is available at

Arrangements by Griffin-Roughton Funeral Home.

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