Terri Lynn Gilley

October 18, 2023

Terri Lynn Gilley completed her passage on earth peacefully while surrounded by loved ones on Wednesday October 18, 2023.  Terri fought a brave and valiant battle against a rare brain condition and made the most of each day she had with loved ones.

Terri was born in Williamsburg, Virginia on January 11, 1962 to Robert Edwin Gilley and JoAnn Hertzog Gilley.  The middle child of the Gilley family, Terri was raised in Williamsburg and grew up to not only love her hometown but to dedicate herself to the positive promotion of the area hospitality industry and the people she loved.

A graduate of Lafayette High School Terri went on to attend Christopher Newport College.  One of her first jobs was working at The Fort Magruder Hotel with her longtime friend Myra Willing Seward. It was there that Terri fell in love with the hospitality industry.  Working at area hotels for several years Terri became a respected member of the community welcoming visitors to the area and making their Williamsburg experience memorable.  Over the years Terri developed communication and working networks between the accommodations, restaurants attractions & entertainment, and City officials to develop programs beneficial to visitors and local establishments.  Serving the historic triangle Terri worked at the Williamsburg Area Chamber of Commerce as Director of Tourism Marketing for over 13 years before moving on to Colonial Connections, Inc. In 2006 Terri partnered up with friend and owner Sophia Harler as Jamestown was preparing for the 400th anniversary.  A historic event coordinating over 3000 visitors and performers.  Terri continued at Colonial Connections for the next 16 years until the onset of her medical condition.

Terri’s love of the sand and surf is well known and next to Williamsburg her happy place was Buxton, NC.  When not working, which was most of the time, Terri enjoyed reading and travel, cooking, gardening and canning.  Some of her best moments were out on the water boating and fishing.  Music was in Terri’s soul and she would easily break into dance as she believed it was a path to happy.  She never met a stranger and truly loved to see others enjoy life.  Her most precious time was with her grandson Mason who brought her joy and gave her the will to fight and survive, giving us 15 extra months to make some wonderful memories.  Terri made the most of her time on earth and gave so much to others.  It is no wonder her flame went out so soon when she gave so much.

Terri is survived by the love of her life Mark McIlwean, her son William (Billy) Massey (Trish), grandson Mason Massey, sister Leigh Ann Gilley, brother Edwin Gilley (Meredith), niece Samantha Gilley, nephews Noah and Harrison Gilley and Donald Gilley.

A memorial service will be held on Thursday October 26, 2023 at the James River Baptist Church at 2pm.  A celebration of life will be held at the 757 Moose Lodge following the service.  Memorial donations can be made in the name of Terri Lynn Gilley to the James River Baptist Church.


Celebration of Life

Thursday, October 26, 2023
2:00 PM

James River Baptist Church - Directions
4931 Centerville Road
Williamsburg, Virginia 23188

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  • December 19, 2023
    Cynthia Piersall lit a candle:
    Lit since December 19, 2023 at 12:35:04 PM

  • November 02, 2023
    James Nightengale says:
    I was saddened by the loss of my cousin. She was such a sweet lady and always supported of my family. May God bless the Gilley family.

  • November 01, 2023
    Linda Scott Jeffries lit a candle:
    Lit since November 1, 2023 at 11:20:26 PM

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