Derek Jay Gillam

Derek “Jay” Gillam died Thursday, October 22nd at 12:50 A.M. at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

He was born April 25, 1956 in Manhattan, Kansas. The son of John N. “Jack” and Betty Gillam. He graduated from Salina Central High School in 1974. Jay then went on to the University of Kansas where he graduated with a degree in Business Administration in 1978.

Jay’s work took him many places, one being Lubbock, Texas where he met the love of his life. After moving around the country, his long-term goal was to move back to the town that held so many wonderful KU memories: Lawrence, Kansas.

Jay specialized in the transportation and logistics industry and was currently working for Ancra International LLC where he was Midwest Sales Executive of the Cargo Systems Division.

Jay was a loyal member to Trinity Lutheran Church in Lawrence and an alumnus of the Sigma Chi fraternity where he met many lifelong friends and was affectionately known as “Jaws.” He was the life of every party and never met a stranger.

He married Terri Thorn Gillam on July 7, 1984 in Lubbock, Texas who survives of the home.

Other survivors include his son, Alex of Kansas City, MO; daughter, Abby and her husband Kyle of Dallas, TX; brother Jack and his wife Kim of Salina, KS; brother Jeff and his wife Lynn of Salina KS and a dearly beloved niece and nephews.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Jack and Betty Gillam.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the American Heart Association. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Online condolences may be sent at www.rumsey-yost.com.

Messages & Condolences

From Thaine Foster...

What a great guy and EX brother Jay was. Everytime we got together or talked on the phone since those college days it didn’t even take a minute of conversation to seem like we’d not been apart which sometimes had been years.
It was great to play golf last year at the Scholarship Tournament with Jay and go out for reminiscing over a few adult beverages.
Thank you Terri for sharing this good man’s time with all of us who loved him.

From Joe H...

I am sorry to hear of Jays passing. He was a great guy who always had a smile on his face. I had not seen Jay in many years when we crossed each other path on the turnpike. He came right up and said hello with that smile. I knew right away it was “Jaws”.
I know he will be greatly missed. RIP

From Mary Dillon...

I am so sorry! Terri, you and your family are in my thoughts & prayers today and in the days to come.
I wish I could give you an in person hug my friend. Mary

From Stephen Grace...

Worked with Jay for years through 2 companies. Many great times and stories. He will be missed. Thoughts and prayers go out to his beautiful family!

From Lisa Rooney and Allie Martinez...

Your family is in my thoughts and prayers during this time and into the future. Let me know if you need anything.

From Kristen Goodson...

I worked with Jay at Peterson and have many fond memories of him. He was such an amazing salesman and person. I always said he could sell ice to an Eskimo and with the office set up as they were I could listen to his many conversation with customers, reps, and friends. He will be missed in the industry. Many thoughts and prayers for his family during this tragic time. May God grant you the strength to find peace in the coming days.

From Linda Wineteer/Eckhardt...

OMG…, how tragic. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends. I am so sorry for your loss. He was a kindred soul to all those that knew him or got to know him through FB. He always had a kind word and was very uplifting to everyone. May Jay Rest in Peace as you look back and recall all the fond memories you had with him. May those time comfort you, bring peace and even laughter of all the great times one spent with him, shared thoughts, laughter, tears and love of life with one another. Jay, you will never be far from all those you loved and cared about. Peace be with you, my friend. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

From Marty and Taryn Martinez...

Jack and Kim, my deepest condolences and thoughts and prayers on your loss of your brother, may he rest in peace 🙏🙏🙏

From Mark Kramer...

I was heartbroken the moment I heard about Jay’s passing. Jay and I became instant friends some seven years ago when we moved in next door to the Gillam family. Jay taught me how to install wood floors in my home. He and I would often go out to lunch. We’d talk about our common experiences when we were students at KU. We would have great conversations about politics, work, domestic projects, but mostly about family. Jay was a warm and kind human being. Whenever you approached him, you could see the smile and joy in his eyes. He loved people. Jay loved his wife, and he was ever so proud of their children, Alex and Abby. I only knew Jay for a short seven years, but I am thankful and honored to have known him for the time I did. Jay was a good man, he was a good father, and he was my friend. I give my deepest sympathies for Terri, Alex, and Abby.

From David Duncan...

Jay was always in a good mood, so much fun to be around. Much more interested in how you were doing than talking about himself. I’ll miss you Jaws. RIP

From Lisa Harrod...

Terri…Always treasured time with both of you. He was so proud of his family. We are here for you always. Keep those memories of him close. Continued prayers for you and your family. Love you! Lisa and Lynn

From Bob Derby...

Terri the Educator of my four granddaughters. Thinking of you and your family. Your pain may lesson with time but your memories will be forever!

From Tad Scales...

Jay and I were the best of friends from the time we were 4 years old. He never changed from the kind, funny adventurous soul I met so very long ago. He adored his wife and children, was thoughtful beyond description and always could make you laugh with a great story. Jay, I will miss you more than words could ever describe. And to his family, my heart is with all of you for this loss. He was the sweetest, kindest friend one could ever ask for. And, I will always be here for all of you, in anyway I can help you through this difficult life event. Rest easy my friend, I will always be here to help your family.

From Chris Connington...

Really enjoyed working and talking with Jay. So knowledgeable within the industry and such a good person, through and through. Jay is in a far better place and has left so many people with the joy of knowing him. With my deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers for the Gillam family – God bless you Jay.

From Nancy Price Freese...

I’m so very sad to hear of Jay’s death. I didn’t know him well but enjoyed speaking with him and Iknow Terri was always smitten.

From Jean Dreiling...

So very sorry for your loss. May God speed you all comfort and peace..

From Craig Houghton...

I grew up in Salina and spent a lot of time with Jack, Jay, Jeff, my aunt Betty and Uncle Jack until my family moved to California in 1961. I was fortunate when I was 14 to be able to spend several weeks with them in Ellsworth before our move and still remember how they all made me feel welcome and accepted me into their lives during that time. Years later on a trip through Kansas my wife, children and I were welcomed by the Gillams into their home. Jay and his family traveled from Lawrence to see us and he still had the same warm smile and caring personality that I had remembered. It was the highlight of our trip to see Jay and the Gillam family again and to meet Terri and Abby. Jay will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

From Mary Becker...

May the God of Strength wrap His loving arms around each of you and give you Comfort and P1eace.🙏🏼🙏🏼

From Thomas Bland...

I was very saddened to learn of Jay’s passing. I worked with Jay for 5+ years at Tiger Accessory Group and then here at Hopkins with the acquisition. I really enjoyed being a teammate of Jay’s. His passion & knowledge of his business was unparalleled in the industry. When ever he traveled here to our Long Grove facility, Jay would always stop by my office for a chat. He had some great stories and always put a smile on my face. I learned a lot from Jay and enjoyed our conversations. I am a better man for having known and worked with him. God bless his family. You are all in my family’s thoughts and prayers. RIP my friend.

From Larry Winter...

Jay was a year behind me in the Sigma Chi house. He always had a smile on his face. In recent years Mark Zecy would get us together for happy hour and Jay was almost always there with the same big smile and positive attitude. We will all miss him.

From Carolyn Price...

Jay and Terri were next door neighbors until we moved to California. He was a wonderful neighbor, always happy and helpful, and it was a joy to see how much he loved his family. Always encouraging, kind, and all around great person. We kept in touch on Facebook, and I will miss his humor and decency. We are all better for having known him. Thinking of you Terri, Abby. and Alex.

From Phil McWilliams...

Heaven has just gained an amazing gentleman and we have lost an incredible friend, father and husband. Some friendships are just impossible to replace. Jay never had a bad day, no matter what difficulty he faced. He always found something positive in any circumstance. Jay was a bright ray of sunshine every time he came into my office. He had to be one of the most optimistic and positive people I have ever met. The only time I ever saw Jay less than excited was when we were on ellipticals at Rock Chalk Park. Jay was the kind of guy that lifted your spirit every time you saw him. I don’t think I ever saw him without a smile and a quick laugh. Jay was the first person to think of others over himself. He was one of the most selfless people I ever met. I don’t think I have ever met a parent that was more proud of his kids than Jay. His face would always light up anytime you asked about Alex or Abby. He also loved to talk about his future plans with Terri and how he loved to travel with her. Not many friends come along like Jay. My life and others will forever be changed as a result of knowing Jay. He will forever be missed.

From Stephen Dreier...

I knew and worked with Jay while he was with Peterson Manufacturing. He was passionate person, I learned much from Jay. We kept in touch after Peterson as friends, he had many. You will be missed.

From Clete Crutcher...

I’ll miss our long conversations and your always upbeat personality my long time friend. We met in 2009 when you were with Blazer Lighting and truly enjoyed traveling the highways and byways with you. I love you Brother! Clete

From Rosemary Chapin...

Jay was our neighbor. He was always there with a smile and ready to chat. We enjoyed watching his loving interactions with his children and always knew we could count on him. He and his family are in our thoughts and prayers.

From Bjorn Nilsen...

We started as business associates – grew to be friends – extended our business relation to partners – always remained friends. Jay was such a warm and welcoming soul and will be missed by many – so honored I could call him “friend”.

From John Craig...

Stunned to hear about my friend, Jay. We had lunch a couple of months ago. Jay talked about travel he wanted to do with his wife. Pride in his children. Of course we talked about some side gigs that he wanted to do after retirement.

RIP my friend.

From Marty Birch...

Having known Jay through his time at Relco/Reliable during his years there. Jay was such an awesome sounding board with insightful opinions. He was what I call a company man. He had no personal agenda only what was good for the company. After the company was sold and he reappeared recently on Facebook, I was happy to see him. If you go onto the Reliable Reunion Group Facebook page you will see a long list of posts from people from Reliable and from the automotive industry and see that he was well liked and well respected within the industry. So sorry for your loss as he was an outstanding individual.

From Jim Murphey...

I knew Jay based on my relationship with Reliable initially as a supplier and later as an employee.

Jay was the consummate sales professional. He was smart, great way with people and very positive. He made a difference.

He also was a great guy, he had a positive impact on all that knew him.

Prayers and thoughts for his family and friends.

From Morrie Sheets...

What a great friend I had in Jaws.
Always smiling, laughing and full of stories, some of which were true. He and his love of life will be missed greatly. Continued prayers for his family. He was loved.

Messages are closed.