Samuel L. “Tony” Gilliland, 91, of Hannibal, passed away Friday, Oct. 5, 2018, at the Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

Samuel L. “Tony” Gilliland, 91, of Hannibal, passed away Friday, Oct. 5, 2018, at the Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

A memorial service will be at noon on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, at the James O’Donnell Funeral Home in Hannibal. Full military honors by Emmette J. Shields American Legion Post No. 55 will be held at the memorial service on Saturday.  Private burial will be Monday at the Missouri State Veterans Cemetery in Jacksonville.

Friends and family are invited to Tony’s Life Celebration at a visitation that will be Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon and also following the memorial service from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m.

Tony was born in rural Frankford on July 17, 1927, to Dwight and Goldie Cook Gilliland.

Tony was previously married to Frances Bohon on Dec. 22, 1950. She preceded him in death. Tony was later married to Helen Griffin on March 21, 1987. She survives.

Also surviving are two sons, James Gilliland (Kathy) of Belle Plaine, Minn., and Philip Gilliland (Dawn) of White Bear Lake, Minn.; two stepsisters, Dorothy Flowers (Leroy) and Lola Jennings; one sister-in-law, Marjorie Gilliland; five grandchildren,  Andrew Gilliland, Erin Gilliland, Jeremy Kelley, Justin Kelley and Jamie “Kelley” Pullman; eight great-grandchildren, Patrick Kelley, Thomas Kelley, Tristan Spencer, Landon Pullman, Adelynn Kelley, Kiersten Spencer, Harper Pullman and Bowen Kelley.

Tony was preceded in death by his parents; and brother, Floyd Gilliland.

Tony attended rural Haden School through the eighth grade and later graduated from Frankford High School. Tony then served his country proudly in the United States Army. A World War II veteran, Tony served in the Brazilian theater as an Army Air Force Ordinance Supervisor.

In his early years Tony worked as a bus driver for the Frankford School District. He later was employed as a truck driver for the Mark Twain Produce Company in Hannibal. In May of 1952 Tony accepted a position with the CB&Q Railroad, later becoming Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. Tony started his career as a lineman before retiring in 1984 as the Chief Communications Director for BNSF in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

A talented musician, Tony learned to play the guitar at an early age and enjoyed playing and singing in various bands and Opry Shows in the area. From 1992 to 1996 Tony and his wife, Helen, owned and operated the Mark Twain Country Music Show near Hannibal, where he also enjoyed serving as Master of Ceremonies. Tony’s passion was country music, and he was a very talented performer. Until very recently he was still very active, performing and even volunteering his time to perform at area nursing homes and community events.

Known for his big smile and even bigger heart, Tony loved people. Tony’s charisma, wit and personality were well known. Tony especially loved to perform with his brother, Floyd, over the years. HAM Radio, St. Louis Cardinals baseball and trips to see the fall colors each season on the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota are all activities that Tony took pleasure in.  He also loved to hunt and fish. Tony simply loved people and enjoyed talking with his many friends. Tony cherished most the moments he shared with friends and family.

Active in his community, Tony was a member of the America Legion Post No. 55, the St. John’s No. 28 Masonic Lodge, the Hannibal Amateur Radio Club and the Amateur Radio Breakfast Club.

Tony was Christian by faith.

Memorials may be made to the New London Forget Me Not Senior Center or the donor's choice.

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