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Obituary Listings

Willa Rose Gilson

August 5, 1926 April 13, 2015
Willa Rose Gilson
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Obituary for Willa Rose Gilson

Willa Rose Gilson

August 5, 1926 April 13, 2015

Sublimity, Oregon

Willa Rose Gilson, 88, a long-time resident of the Mehama and Stayton areas, has moved on to share her beautiful singing voice with choruses of angels.  She passed quietly on Monday, April 13th, 2015 at Marian Estates in Sublimity to join The Lord, her husband, Eldon, son John and other loved ones preceding her in death, surrounded as she had been in life, by family and friends.

Willa was born August 5, 1926 in Gresham, Oregon, the third child of Dewey and Rena Marie Carpenter of Corbett.  She was later joined by five younger sisters and lived in Corbett until she married Eldon W. Gilson in 1943 and moved to San Francisco to be close to his home naval base for the duration of WWII.  Following the war, she and Eldon returned to the Portland area, settling in St. Johns where they started their family.

In 1954, they moved with their three older sons to the Lyons area, eventually settling on a property with frontage on the Little North Fork River where they lived for over 30 years, adding another son and daughter to their family and opening their arms to welcome an endless string of family members, neighbors, and other friends, and assist victims of numerous accidents along the Little North Fork Rd.

While Willa’s many roles later in life never included a job outside of raising a family and seasonal field work, she never ceased working and serving her family, church, and all others needing her assistance.  Her cooking and baking skills were legendary.  No gathering was complete without one of her delicious pies or other deserts.  She was also known for her strength and capacity for hard, physical work.  Even into her 70’s her wood splitting skills could put young men to shame.

She passed on her homemaking skills to her children and neighbor kids as a 4-H and Home Extension leader, and also served as a room mother at Mari-Linn Elementary School and as a Sunday school teacher.  When Eldon retired, he and Willa worked for 7 years as caretakers at the Four Corner Rod and Gun Club before settling in Stayton in 1991 for the remainder of their life together.   For over 15 years their home continued to be a gathering site for their children and grand children, extended family members and their many friends, who were all greeted with open arms, pleasant conversation, laughter and, generally, something delicious from Willa’s kitchen.

Willa was preceded in death by her husband, Eldon W. Gilson;  her oldest son, John M. Gilson of Salem; her parents, Dewey and Rena M. Carpenter of Corbett; and siblings, Bethel Paul of Franktown, Co., Leo Carpenter of Mill City, and Margaret Shlavin and Gertrude Cross of Portland.  She is survived by sisters Carol Daiber of Portland, Nolia Pickering of Lincoln City, and Rita Smith of Corbett;  daughter-in-law Judy Gilson of Salem;  sons Bob Gilson of Sublimity, Bill (Patti) Gilson of Stayton, Larry Gilson of Eugene;  daughter Elizabeth (Steven) Baldwin of Lyons;  13 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

Donations may be sent in Willa’s memory to the Stayton Church of Christ, P.O. Box 189, Stayton, Oregon, 97383 to be distributed as Willa requested.

Her internment services will be held for family members at 12:00 p.m., Thurs., April 23rd at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland.  A memorial service with reception following will be held at 11:00 a.m, Sat., May 2nd, 2015 at the Stayton Church of Christ at 189 E. Washington St., Stayton.

Arrangements entrusted to Weddle Funeral Services Stayton Oregon

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