Orland James Gant, Jr. (“Jim”)
Orland James Gant, Jr. was born May 30, 1938, in Fort Worth, Texas to his proud parents, Orland and Aline Gant and stepped into eternity December 3, 2021. He was known to all as a loving husband of 65 years, son, brother, father, grandpa, great grandpa or “PawPaw,” and an uncle to many.
Our dad was an awesome example of love and kindness. He was very patient except when it came to our homework. He was a gentle genius who received dual BS degrees in Mathematics and Physics from North Texas (1960), a Masters in Physics from Vanderbilt (1962), and a PhD from SMU in Nuclear Geophysics in 1975 simultaneously with “little Jimmy’s” high school graduation.
He was an outdoorsman who loved to camp, fish, boat, and hunt. He loved spending time at Cedar Creek Lake with our mother and greatly enjoyed the times they had together at South Padre. He loved walking on the beach and fishing in the surf when our mom would allow it. He was never allowed to do this alone after he hooked his thumbs while fishing alone one day.
Our father was an avid reader who researched everything he ever did. He loved studying God’s Word and learning all he could about Jesus. He taught Sunday School and was a dedicated lay leader in the church.
Our father was loved by many and left his legacy on the faces of his family. He influenced the lives of many others including family, friends, coworkers, and anyone he ever met. He was a blessing to our family and we will miss him until we meet again. We love you Dad/PawPaw.
Gary Robert Lau
Gary Robert Lau was born on July 20, 1945 in Elkader, Iowa to Robert and Eileen (Hyde) Lau. He passed away peacefully on September 27, 2021 in Aurora, Colorado.
He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Gloria, his daughter Kris Mistler and husband, Andy, his son, Scott Lau and his wife Tiffani and his granddaughters that he loved and doted on, Allison Mistler Davis and her husband, Tony Davis, Kaitlin Mistler, and Jordyn and Addisyn Lau. Also survived by his sister-in-law Janet Utley and husband Keith, his niece Jennifer Coulonge and husband Tien, and their children Evelyn and Joe, his sister-in-law Joanie Pieper and her children, Malorie Marchant and Jamie Harrison and their families, niece, Erin Pack and her three girls, niece JaNan Wilson Cooper, nephew, Jason Wilson, and nieces Cheri Manella and Candy Alexander. He is preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Barbara and his brother-in-law, Gary Pieper.
Gary entered the automobile business at Friedman Motors in Des Moines, Iowa in 1968. From there he was on the fast track to become one of the youngest auto dealers in the country. His 37 years spent at Preston Chrysler were some of his most cherished memories. Gary was involved in the Chrysler Dealer Council at the state and national level as well as a member of Mopar Masters, NSRA, ISCA, and Goodguys. His love for cars extended past the dealership and his passion was building and showing cars around the Southwest.
Gary enjoyed their home in Edwards, Colorado where he played many rounds of golf and entertained family and friends. He always lived life to the fullest and never met a stranger.
A celebration of Gary’s life will be held October 28, 2021 at 2:00pm at Christ United Methodist Church, 3103 Coit Rd, Plano, TX 75075, with a livestream available. Those who wish to make a memorial contribution in Gary’s memory may do so to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at www.stjude.org/donate.
Kay Ann (Hills) Terrill
Kay Terrill passed away November 28, 2020 at the age of 79 in Plano, TX. She was born August 18, 1941 in Akron, OH. She attended Akron University for two years following high school, then entered the Frances Paine Bolton School of Nursing at Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve University) in Cleveland. She graduated with a BS in Nursing in the spring of 1964. She and her future husband Chris L. Terrill met in the college group at Epworth-Euclid Methodist Church while they were students and married June 26, 1965. They are the parents of a son (David) and daughter (Heather).
Kay was preceded in death by her parents Donald and Catherine Hills. She is survived by her husband Chris, son David (wife Shannon and daughter Samantha), daughter Heather Sheffield (husband Brian, daughter Hope, and son Liam), and her sister Donna Parham.
Kay worked as a nurse both in the hospital and doctor’s offices. She was an accomplished pianist, sang in choirs, enjoyed painting and other artwork, poetry, sewing, square dancing, and cooking. Kay and Chris moved to Nashville, TN in the fall of 1967. They both obtained their private pilot licenses in the spring of 1968, and over the next 15 years flew themselves on many trips. In the fall of 1983 they moved to Plano.
In the spring of 1991 Kay had a near fatal heart attack. Thanks to Dr. David Schwartz of the Legacy Heart Center, she got another 14 years of life. In the spring of 2005 Kay entered the University of Texas Southwestern heart transplant program in Dallas and received a heart transplant near the end of September 2005. This extended her life another 15 years. We thank God for all the miracles in her life. Donations may be given in memory of Kay to the Plano Salvation Army and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Linda J. Ellis (Kerbs)
Linda Ellis passed away August 12, 2021 in Frisco, TX at the age of 76. Linda was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, as well as a wonderful friend to many. She is survived by her husband of 51 years, Richard, and her children, Timothy (Marge), Julie (John), Christopher (Laura), and Amy (Art), as well as 11 grandchildren and 3 great-grandsons. Linda was predeceased by her brother David Kerbs, and is also survived by her sister Bonnie (Kerbs) Ewing and brother James Kerbs.
A memorial service will be held Thursday, August 19, 2 PM, at Christ United Methodist Plano, 3101 Coit Road, Plano TX 75075. Livestreaming available. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Denton County Animal Shelter, 3717 North Elm Street, Denton, TX 76207.
Claudia Young was born December 29, 1955 in Tulsa, Oklahoma to parents James and Patsy Kuzilik and left this earthly world on June 30, 2021. Claudia is survived by her loving children, son Sam Young and daughter Brooke Young, both of Dallas. She is also survived by her mother Patsy, siblings Roy Alan Kuzilik, Sonia Bland and Jim Kuzilik as well as cousins Michael Dunham, Bruce Cox, Carolyn Rosende and Keith Cox and a host of second cousins and loving friends and other relatives. She was preceded in death by the father of her children, Ben Young, her father James Kuzilik, Grandmother Thelma Bennett and Grandfather, Roy O. Bennett.
Claudia’s first job in high school was at Mr. Donut, which her kids always made fun of her for. She graduated from East Central High School in Tulsa in 1974 and began her office career, showing a strong affinity for accounting at her first office job that would continue throughout her life. She also began her lifelong professional education. Claudia moved to the Dallas area in the mid-1980s starting with Grand Energy in accounting not long thereafter. She eventually became a Certified Public Accountant, the crowning achievement in her lifetime of professional learning and an extraordinary accomplishment for a mother of two with a big job. Claudia loyally served Grand Energy for over thirty years and was Comptroller of the company at the time of her retirement.
Time with Claudia always included lots of laughs and dancing. Her smile lit up every room she walked into and was very contagious. She was the queen of laughing at her own jokes before she could even get out a word. If she didn’t pursue a career in accounting she probably could have considered auditioning for SNL. Claudia’s love for amateur dancing began at an early age. While in Tulsa, she and her brother Alan often went to Cain’s Ballroom in downtown Tulsa to dance. They were third-generation Cain’s patrons as parents Jim and Pat and grandparents Roy and Thelma Bennett also spent many nights at Cain’s.
Claudia always had a taste for the finer things in life. Her favorite place in Dallas was Nordstrom’s at Northpark Mall. She would argue that Nordstrom’s anniversary sale should be a national holiday! Claudia also had a strong love for fine dining. Her love for going out to eat is partially because one of her weaknesses was cooking. She made up for her perceived lack of cooking skills by being the greatest at making reservations, and knowing what frozen meals had flavor. Hot pockets!
Claudia’s two greatest treasures in life surprisingly weren’t any handbags or shoes (though she did love them), but her two children – Sam and Brooke. She always made sure her kids had any opportunity they wanted and supported any dream big or small. She was everyone’s biggest cheerleader, but was the best at cheering on her babies. She always made sure Sam was involved in any dancing, singing, or acting lesson in the DFW area. Claudia also showed up to every sporting event that Brooke had, even if it was 30 degrees outside, and you could see her on the sidelines bundled up in her pink parka and 3 blankets. What made Claudia the happiest was seeing her kids, friends, and family happy.
Though Claudia’s last four years were difficult as she dealt with early on-set Alzheimer’s, she kept a smile on her face for almost all of it. The disease took many things away from her, but her family and friends were very grateful that her joyful personality wasn’t one of them. She was still smiling, laughing, and giving everyone hugs in her last days. Claudia was a strong woman, and that strength was experienced by many throughout her battle. We have peace today knowing that she has been restored. Claudia no longer has Alzheimer’s and is walking the streets of gold with many of her loved ones and her Heavenly Father.
A celebration of Claudia’s life is Saturday, July 17, 11:00 a.m. at Christ United Methodist Sanctuary, 3101 Coit Road, Plano. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at https://bit.ly/3yO9dAd.
Carroll “Janice” (West) Leonard was born in Fairview, Oklahoma on March 13, 1943 to parents Clovis R. and Mildred L. (Sober) West. She died at home April 17, 2021 from the effects of endometrial cancer.
Janice treasured the closeness of both family and friends growing up amid small town life in western Oklahoma. Her loving parents provided constant nurturing in her early life. Her extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins would become enduring parts of her life. Janice had two older brothers: Karl and Gerald, and a younger brother Neil. When Neil was born, Janice tended to him as if he were hers to raise. Janice would later attend school in Taloga, Oklahoma. Her school was small; only ten in her Senior class.
Growing up, Janice contributed to the family, helping with the garden and cooking chores, and even working in the raising of cotton. She excelled in 4H; loved sewing and placed nationally in the Make-it-with-Wool contest; and was Valedictorian of her high school class. Janice worked hard to save money to go to college at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. She majored in Sociology, with a specialty in counseling. Janice was a caring and thoughtful person, and her friendships were an important part of her life.
It was at OSU that she met Robert “Gary” Leonard on a blind date. By the time they were seniors, they knew that marriage was the next important step in their life. Janice and Gary were married in Taloga, Oklahoma on August 15, 1965, shortly after college graduation. They both continued their educations, attending graduate school at the University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri.
They would remain together as loving life partners for more than 55 years. She was a sweet, caring person, careful shopper, and terrific cook.
Following graduation, they settled in the Dallas area, shortly building a home in the small community of Plano that would grow to become a major suburb. Their marriage was blessed by the addition of two sons: Scott and Derek. Janice quickly moved to make family the centerpiece of their lives together, while developing many lifelong friends. The glue that would hold their lives together was the fellowship offered by a small new church in Plano called Christ United Methodist Church. Especially important to them was the Family Living Sunday School class that focused on family and faith development.
In addition to nurturing their two sons, Janice had many interests including reading, spirituality, tennis, photography, and the card game Bridge, at which she always strived to win. Competitiveness was a strong quality of Janice’s nature. She did not like to lose at any sport or game, so she excelled at the ones she liked. When the opportunity for travel arose, it was Janice who researched and organized the family trips to Europe.
Janice took advantage of an opportunity to get into the business world, by joining the JCPenney Company upon its move from NYC in 1987 to its new headquarters in Plano, Texas. Janice used her eye for color and style to become a buyer in the JCP toddler area, buying for both retail and catalog. She followed this career for more than ten years; and later becoming an independent sales representative for several toddler lines.
Following a five-year period of living in the D.C. area, Janice planned the update of their home in Plano, and she and Gary returned in 2009 to continue life there and be so much closer to Scott and Derek and their families and long-time friends. Having granddaughters sleep over became a frequent blessing.
Janice is survived by her husband Gary Leonard; sons Scott A. Barnett and his wife Paula, and Derek A. Leonard and his wife Amy, and their children Ashleigh, Michelle, Taryn, and Caroline. She is also survived by brothers Gerald West and his wife Christel of Atlanta, Georgia, and Neil West and his wife Barbara of Enid, Oklahoma. She was preceded in death by her parents Clovis and Mildred West, and a brother Karl West.
A celebration of Janice’s life will be held Saturday, June 26, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at Christ United Methodist Church, 3101 Coit Rd., Plano, Texas. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Journey of Hope Grief Support Center: johgriefsupport.org
Linda Sue Gulick (Dunham)
Linda Sue Gulick (Dunham) passed peacefully in her sleep to be with our Lord on February 15th, 2021. She is survived by her husband Matt Gulick, daughter Chelsea Reed, son and wife Curtis and Frances Gulick, all in the local area, and sister Connie Page of Denver. She was preceded in death by her father Joseph Oliver Dunham, mother Iva Rosalie Dunham, and aunts Nora and Ruth Long.
Linda was born November 2nd, 1953 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where her father was Principal of the American School and her mother taught math. She was born prematurely with no incubator available, and brought back to the U.S. with her older sister, Connie Lou, by her mother as soon as she was strong enough to travel. She grew up in Tulsa, OK until her family moved to southern California when she was twelve years old. She loved ballet and her father drove her 60 miles each way for the best lessons after school. She graduated from El Dorado High School in Placentia, CA in 1972. Her later studies included times in Florida, Winnipeg, London, The University of Oklahoma for her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet Performance in 1975, and The University of Utah for her Master of Fine Arts in Ballet in 1977. Her first job was with the Etgen-Atkinson School of Ballet (the teaching school for the Dallas Metropolitan Ballet Company). She met her future husband, Matt Gulick, through a mutual friend on May 20th, 1978. A week later they had their first date and they knew it was love at first sight. They were married in Dallas seven months later on December 17th, 1978. Linda continued teaching ballet in Dallas but later moved on to Toby’s School of Dance in Richardson for 19 years, The Hockaday School of Dallas, was the director of Bright Beginnings Preschool at Disciples Christian Church of Plano for 16 years, and taught ballet at Canyon Creek Day School of Plano several years as well. The number of young children whose lives were touched by Linda’s dedicated teaching and caring was immeasurable.
Linda was the artist in the family. After teaching ballet or directing preschool all day, she would spend hours hand painting thousands of items for the craft business she and Matt operated for many years. She created beautiful pieces without a single painting class.
The Plano Symphony Orchestra was another love of Linda’s. She volunteered for the Guild in several capacities over the years, just like her mother who provided the impetus for Matt and Linda’s involvement in those activities soon after she had moved to Plano and became involved herself. Like mother, like daughter. Linda’s love of music began with her parent’s influence. She was not only a beautiful ballerina, but she played piano and organ, and had a beautiful voice as well.
Linda and Matt had two beautiful children, Curtis and Chelsea, who have been part of the closest family imaginable. She supported them in every endeavor they attempted. She taught Chelsea ballet for ten years, and chaperoned Curtis’s high school marching band performances. Linda also helped chaperone senior high youth groups on Spring Break ski trips and skied most of the mountains with the kids. She was so proud of both of them for becoming fourth generation graduates of The University of Oklahoma. That family increased when Curtis married Frances, who became their second daughter.
Eventually Matt convinced her to retire in 2018 like he had done a few years earlier so they could travel even more all over the world – their favorite hobby for several years prior to retirement. They were able to continue traveling even after her diagnosis of Adrenocortical Carcinoma in Summer of 2018. She had multiple passports with additional pages added to accommodate all of the stamps from the many different countries she visited over the years.
This close family is what gave Linda the support and encouragement to continue fighting her rare cancer. Like her mother, she subjected herself to multiple trials of medical treatments knowing her cancer had no cure, but hoping her efforts would provide help for other victims in the future. We know she is now wearing her pointe shoes, dancing and singing with the angels above, and is happy and in no pain. We miss you and love you, Linda, and know we will all be united again.
Helen Jean Houseman
Helen Jean Houseman, age 94, passed away peacefully in her sleep on January 20, 2021. Jean was born on May 9, 1926 to Ivy and Pansy Powell and grew up in Van Alstyne Texas.
Jean loved creating a home for her family. Jean and Ken retired to Pecan Plantation in Granbury, Texas in 1991, close enough to the metroplex so that many of their extended families could visit. They enjoyed living near June and Charles and their many friends on Pecan who shared Ken’s love of aviation and Jean’s cooking and gardening.
She also enjoyed attending the First Baptist Church in Acton and her Sunday School there.
We want to thank Prestonwood Court Assisted Living and their wonderful care-givers who made mom’s last years so pleasant.
Mom was ready to go home, and we know Our Lord has welcomed her with open arms, but we will all miss her greatly.
She was preceded in death by her loving husband of 59 years, Kenneth Houseman, her daughter Kathleen Apperson, son Kenneth Houseman II, her grandson William Coker and her brother Charles Powell.
Jean is survived by her 3 children, Connie and husband Lynn Coker, Sherry and husband William Hartman and Randy and wife Susan Houseman: 10 grandchildren Erik, Carolyn, Richard, Arron, Autumn, Lauren, Kenneth, Alex, Jacob, & Sarah; 10 great grandchildren Mackenzie, Blake, Grant, Brooklyn, Stephanie, Ian, Skylar, Marissa, Gavin, Griffin and 2 step great grandchildren Rhiannon and Zachery. Jean is also survived by her sister June Johnson.
A celebration of life service will be held Saturday, August 7, 11:00am, Christ United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to The Dallas Morning News Charities.