Doris Augusta Underwood Gillen Obituary

  • Doris Augusta Underwood Gillen
    In Loving Memory of

    Doris Augusta Underwood Gillen

    Birth Date: Aug 26th, 1922 Death Date: Mar 19th, 2016
    Doris Augusta Underwood Gillen was born in the very small, central Texas town of Aquilla on August 26, 1922 to Eva Lou Hill and J.K. Underwood and died in Tyler, Texas on March 19, 2016 .

    Doris was a proud descendant of Bailey Anderson Jr., a Republic of Texas patriot. Growing up during the Depression, with few resources, molded the compassionate woman she became. Doris had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and reading, allowing her to graduate high school at age 16. One of her greatest dreams was fulfilled when she graduated from Baylor University. Although she worked two jobs to pay her tuition, she enjoyed a rich college experience making lifelong friends. Doris remained a faithful follower and a devoted fan of everything having to do with Baylor University.

    With the advent of World War II, she received an emergency teaching certificate and moved to Emhouse, a small town near Waco, to begin her teaching career. It was there that she met Blake Gillen, her husband and life partner for almost 50 years. His larger than life personality, united with her intelligence and strong will, made them an incredible team. Because of their abiding Christian faith, they served their communities through Baptist churches in Blooming Grove, Hubbard, Waco, Corpus Christi, Austin, and Corsicana. After her husband’s death in 1990, she was an active member of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler and Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio.

    Doris taught Sunday School in each church, loving and nurturing "her women" in every way.

    She fought injustice and helped the lonely and needy in her communities.

    One of her greatest achievements was serving on the school board in Corsicana where she marshaled desegregation of the schools and created a plan to combine the two middle schools. She remained steadfast in her beliefs that all men are created equal and are children of God.

    She founded two preschools, led countless civic and church committees, and organized a group of women to save the historic Temple Beth El, an abandoned Jewish temple in Corsicana which had been set for demolition.

    It still stands today and can be seen as you pass through town.

    Her three children were the joy of her life, and she was happiest when she was with them. They are Gay Gillen of Austin, Jim and Carye Gillen of Tyler, and Brian and Mary Gillen Burch of San Antonio; as well as her five grandsons Blake and Brianna Gillen, Drew and Lindsay Gillen, Ben Burch, Sam and Charly Burch, and Gillen Burch, and 10 great-grandchildren.

    Doris cherished her countless friends. She had a kind word for everyone and her smile lit up any room. By sharing her happiness with us, she inspired us to share

    our happiness with others.

    We will celebrate her life at a Memorial Service at 11:00 am on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at Green Acres Baptist Church Chapel with Dr. David Dykes and Rev. Blake Gillen officiating. A reception will follow the service in the Parlor. There will be a private family burial on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at Resthaven Cemetery in Corsicana, Texas, under the direction of Stewart Family Funeral Home.

    The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts be made to the Doris Gillen Endowed Law School Scholarship Fund (Baylor University, Office of Development â€" One Bear Place, #97050 Waco, TX 76798) or The Hospice of East Texas Foundation (4111 University Blvd, Tyler, TX 75701).

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