Gilliam, longtime county supervisor, dies

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 2, 2008

COURTLAND—Reggie W. Gilliam, a former chairman of the Southampton County Board of Supervisors, died Saturday at Southampton Memorial Hospital in Franklin.

Gilliam served as the Drewryville representative on the Board of Supervisors for more than 25 years, including eight years as chairman.

“We are shocked and saddened at his passing,” Southampton County Administrator Michael Johnson said Tuesday. “He was a great guy.”

Johnson took on the role of county administrator at about the same time as Gilliam took on the role of chairman of the Board of Supervisors.

“A lot of people don’t realize the extent to which he was a leader,” he recalled during a telephone interview Tuesday. “He was a real quiet leader.”

Despite that quiet demeanor, however, Gilliam served during a time of great progress for Southampton County.

Among the notable achievements for which he shared responsibility, Johnson said in a 2003 speech honoring Gilliam at his retirement, were the elimination of Route 58’s “Suicide Strip;” implementation of an E-911 service; construction or renovation of schools and county office facilities, as well as a new business park; construction of new water and sewer systems; and ratification of revenue-sharing and non-annexation agreements with the City of Franklin.

“The quality of life in Southampton County has improved remarkably over the past 25 years, and Reggie Gilliam played no small part in that progress,” Johnson said at the time.

Gilliam, a retired self-employed radio and television technician, was a member of Pleasant Plain Baptist Church in Drewryville, where he was on the Board of Trustees and treasurer of the building and maintenance fund.

He was also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc/ and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., as well as the Franklin Sportsman Association, the NAACP and the Franklin/Southampton Chamber of Commerce.

A wake will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Engram Funeral Home, 1001 Armory Drive, Franklin. The funeral will be held at noon Wednesday at Pleasant Plain Baptist Church, Drewryville, with the Rev. Carlton Powell officiating and the Rev. Henry Blunt delivering the eulogy.

Burial will be in the church cemetery.