Elizabeth Ladelle "Liz" Gillispie
of Chatfield, Navarro County, Texas


Biography Index


Obituary - Corsicana Daily Sun March 18, 2004

Elizabeth Ladelle Gillispie

Elizabeth Ladelle Gillispie, 76, of Corsicana passed away Tuesday, March 16, 2004, in Crandall.

Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. today at Corley Funeral Home.

Services will be 1 p.m. Friday at Chatfield Community Center with the Rev. Gene Bowman officiating. Interment will follow at Chatfield Cemetery.

She was born April 9, 1927, in Navarro County. She was an active volunteer at Pioneer Village and the Genealogy Department of the Corsicana Public Library.

Survivors include her brother and sister-in-law, Louis B. and Martha Gillispie of Canton; sister, Mary Louise Metcalf of Sugar Land; nephews, Gary Gillispie and wife Paula, Kenneth Gillispie and wife Sharla and Brooks Morris, all of Crandall, Bruce Gillispie of The Colony, and Tommy Metcalf and wife Beth of Waco; nieces, Sherryl Gunner and husband Jerry of Las Vegas, Nev., and Teddy Bowman and husband Gene of Missouri City; and numerous great-nieces and great-nephews.

Arrangements by Corley Funeral Home.

3/21/2004 BILL YOUNG: We have lost a super lady, E.L. 'Liz' Gillispie

Tuesday, E.L. "Liz" Gillispie passed away rather suddenly after a short illness. Just a few weeks ago, she developed a blood clot in her leg. From there, she went steadily downhill. Part of the clot broke off and went to her lungs. She developed pneumonia and then they discovered that she had lung cancer and the cancer cells had already entered her bloodstream.

When we think of people who are involved in volunteer work, Liz, as she was known by all, stood at the front of the line. Ever since she retired from the Marine Corps and moved to the Corsicana area, she has been totally immersed in several organizations dealing with history. Most any day, she could be found at either the library in the genealogical room or at Pioneer Village. She did all kinds of research and typing without ever mentioning any compensation or asking anyone for recognition. She rarely talked about any of her military experiences other than to mention how long she was in the Marines or some of the places where she had been stationed. She would rather be involved with the day-to-day affairs of both societies.

She has been typing and organizing the quarterly report for the Navarro County Genealogical Society for many years. Just in the past few weeks while Liz was in the hospital, Ines Waggoner took over and did an excellent job of getting out the new "Leaves and Branches." While she was putting together the publication, she remarked several times how much she missed having Liz here to help and guide her. I heard someone remark the other day it may take some time to find where everything is filed in the genealogical society's room. Liz had been filing and organizing most of the biographical material kept there. She had a great memory when it came to certain family genealogies and she was exceptionally proud of family lineages. She sincerely loved to attend various family reunions and always came back talking about who was there and how she was related to them.

Her volunteer work for the Navarro County Historical Society at Pioneer Village was outstanding. There were many mornings when I would see her car at the Village shortly after 7 a.m. She always was an early riser but I don't know if this can be attributed to her military experiences or the way she was raised but she liked to get up early and get going. I know in the past year, she had been having trouble with her eyes which caused her to have difficulty driving at night. But as long as there was daylight, she was at one of the locations working on some project. Recently she had some corrective measures on her eyes which helped her vision tremendously. Self taught on a computer, she forced herself to use the computer for all kinds of publications that she compiled. Occasionally something did not come out correctly and she would get upset and say a few appropriate words to let everyone know she and the machine were not thinking along the same lines. Then she would resume her work like nothing had ever happened. She and I were very similar in our inability to use a computer to its fullest extent and we both liked to use the machines. I will admit she could do several things on her computer I have not learned to do.

Liz was also a long-term member of the Navarro County Historical Commission and for the past few months, she had been typing and correlating a new brochure the commission plans to publish about all of the historical markers located in Navarro County. Currently we have 134 Texas Historical Commission markers scattered across the county honoring people and places of significant history to both our county and the State of Texas. Last fall, our commission voted to print this brochure so the general public will know where these markers are located along with the information engraved on each marker. These brochures will be available to the public in the very near future.

I think of the thousands of hours of work Liz volunteered to do and ponder at the same time who will step forward to take her place. We will go on without her but her shoes will never be filled and her memory will last forever in our hearts and minds.

Bill Young is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears Sundays.

Gillispie will be missed

To the Editor: The death of Elizabeth L. Gillispie is great loss to Navarro County, known by most readers of the Daily Sun as, E.L. Gillispie, author of numerous letters to the editor, but her friends called her Liz. I could think of no better way to honor her, than writing a letter to the editor in her honor.

Liz provided numerous hours volunteering, to ensure that the history of Navarro County was preserved for future generations. She was a member of the Navarro County Historical Commission, the Navarro County Historical Society and Genealogical Society and her dedicated service to these organizations will be missed. Liz could always be found at either Pioneer Village or the Genealogy room at the Corsicana Public library. I first meet Liz while working on the War Memorial. I went to her looking for records on Navarro County veterans buried in the county. She not only provided me with the records, she went right to work helping me compile a list from them.

Liz was a true patriot. She served 20 years in the Marine Corps where she retied in 1970, as a Gunnery Sergeant. She was proud to have served her nation and her love for this Country never died. Liz always wore something patriotic whether it was a simple red, white, and blue ribbon, or her famous hat that was decorated with red, white, and blue. Yes, Liz loved America and what it stood for and was always willing to speak her mind about what made this Country great. Sometimes that offended people, but that was her right, and unlike most, she fully understood the price that was paid to ensure that freedom, the lives of American service men and women

Liz, I will miss you and I know that others feel the same. Till we meet again dear friend, Semper Fi.

Tim Easley

3/19/2004 Gillispie remembered for many years of volunteer efforts


Elizabeth Ladelle Gillispie passed away Tuesday after a short illness. A former Marine, Gillispie spent many hours volunteering for the genealogy room at the Corsicana Public Library, Pioneer Village, the Chatfield Community Center, and the Navarro County Historical Society.

"She was a full time volunteer, six days a week," said Bobbie Young, director of Pioneer Village. "She started at Pioneer Village in 1980 and worked every day as an unpaid volunteer."

Young said Gillispie was a very giving person, and had many callers checking on her during her brief illness. Gillispie opened up Pioneer Village in the mornings, gave tours, worked on anything that needed repairing, did monthly tourist reports, and had lots of good suggestions for improvements.

"It will probably take five or six people to fill her shoes in her volunteer work," Young said. "She was just a wealth of information, especially about genealogy ... It's a big void in all our lives."

Wyvonne Putman, former director of Pioneer Village, worked with Gillispie for many years.

"This volunteer work was her life -- this is what she enjoyed," Putman said. "Very sad -- what can we say about someone who has given their life to preserve our history and heritage of Navarro County -- she's priceless. Whatever we were doing at the village, she was right in the middle of it."

Gillispie's volunteer service in the genealogy room at the Corsicana Public Library endeared her to head librarian, Pat Spiller. Spiller said she went at her work with a military efficiency, and even had a T-shirt she liked to wear which said, "Once a Marine, Always a Marine."

"It is kind of hard for us to talk about this, because she was an important part of our family," Spiller said. "I used to tease her and say, 'Liz, if anything ever happens to you, I don't know what we'll do -- you know where all the bodies are buried.'

"Not only have we lost one of our best friends, the community has lost a vast storehouse of knowledge. I don't think the people fully understand the contribution she has made to this community -- between Pioneer Village and the Library, she has given over 20 years of volunteer service."

Spiller said Gillispie logged over 500 hours of volunteer work last year at the library alone, and those were the hours she logged. Spiller feels sure she put in many hours she never counted, and wondered what it would have cost the city to pay her for her commitment.

"She did it just for the sheer love of doing it," Spiller said.

A resident of the Hester Community near Chatfield, Gillispie was an active supporter of the Chatfield-Tupelo Community Center. Gillispie served on the Community Center Board with Toni Miles, another Chatfield resident. Miles said Gillispie was the one who decided the goal of the community center would be fun -- and was dedicated to making the center a family place which included the entire community.

"She liked critters the way I do," Miles said. "Some of my cats I got by Liz calling to say she'd found them at Pioneer Village -- I have her cats now. I smuggled her 18-year-old cat in a carry-on suitcase into ICU and put her on Liz's bed. Her eyes lit up and she just loved on that cat.

"She was just an eccentric, unbelievably giving person -- not only of her time and talents, but would dig in her pocket for anything she believed in -- she was quick on the draw to help."

Miles said you never knew which side of a debate she would be on, but she would definitely pick a side. Gillispie's funeral will be held at the Chatfield-Tupelo Community Center, because that's where she wanted it.

"You didn't wonder what she was thinking," Miles said. "She was blunt, she was opinionated, and she was smart. She could make you think.

"She liked to pop in and ask, 'Do you have any coffee on?' -- she liked it black, and she didn't like any fancy-blended coffee. She also liked to watch my donkeys. She's just the epitome of an individual ... She was a female John Wayne."


Deanna Pawlowski may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected]

I was very sad to learn from your e-mails that Liz Gillespie had passed away. I met her at the Chatfield Cemetery Reunion last year and felt that I had a new friend.
I know she will be missed at the Library and the Pioneer Village. My condolences to her family.

Ruth Sanders

Liz was descended from my gr-grandfather's sister - Cynthia Gardner Persons who m. a Joyner.    Not seeing her all the time is bad enough, but I feel for those who worked with her  - and she always went the extra mile for anyone.  Liz was a "guiding light" with the Pioneer Village, the library and the Society - but she was also family with the Hodges - Barbara Knox

My daughters and I send condolences to the Navarro Genealogical Society for the loss of their most devoted volunteer. She has always been very helpful to us whenever we were able to come for research and we will miss her.

I read of a reverend who stood to speak at the funeral of his friend. He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning...to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time that she spent alive on earth… and now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own; the cars…the house…the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard… are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left.
(You could be at "dash mid-range.")

If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real, and always try to understand the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger, and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect, and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy’s being read with your life’s actions to rehash... would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?


On March 19, 2004, the Marine Honor Guard from Grand Prairie Texas, laid to rest  Gunnery Sgt. Elizabeth L. Gillispie, USMC, Ret., with the laying of the casket at the final resting place, a 21 gun salute, the playing of Taps and the folding and presenting of her flag.....the rest of us, her family and her friends, paid tribute and said "See ya later." to someone we knew and loved, simply as LIZ.   I would like to say that LIZ lived her Dash very well.  She is missed

Submitted by: Glenda Bowling


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