BIrds 02

Bess Gilliam Davenport

October 10, 1919 ~ April 30, 2022 (age 102)


Elon – Bess Gilliam Davenport (102) of Twin Lakes Retirement Center, died peacefully on Saturday Evening, April 30, 2022. She was born in Alamance County, North Carolina on October 10, 1919, the daughter of the late Elder John Wesley and Mary Idol Gilliam of Elon, North Carolina.

She was a graduate of Altamahaw-Ossipee High School, attended the University of North Carolina in Greensboro and received her Batchelor Of Arts Degree from Elon College, North Carolina. She was a Member of the Tau Zeta Phi Sorority. Bess began her educational career in 1941 teaching in Stokes County and Mt. Airy, North Carolina as well as Tazewell, Virginia. She was also with the NC Extension Service in Mt. Airy before joining her husband in various businesses, including 25 years with Western Auto Associate Store, and partners in the Mt. Peak Sub-Division Development and the Fincastle Motor Inn of Tazewell, Virginia.

Mrs. Davenport was a member of the Main Street United Methodist Church of Tazewell, Virginia, serving as Trustee on the Administrative Board, as well as Secretary and Treasurer. Following the passing of her husband, she returned to Elon where she became a member of Berea Christian Church and served on the Board of Deacons.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 40 years, David C. Davenport, her parents, one sister: Naomi Gilliam Sadler (& Harry) of Burlington and 7 brothers: Junius Wesley Gilliam (& Pearl), Frederick K. Gilliam (& Ralphene), John J. Gilliam (& Hilda), Robert D. Gilliam, Charles G. Gilliam, William R. Gilliam all of Burlington, NC, Theron I. Gilliam (& Sybie) of Richmond, Virginia, and 1 nephew, Don L. Gilliam. Survivors include one sister, Sara B. Gilliam and two sisters-in-law, Polly N. (Bill) Gilliam and Ann P. (Charles) Gilliam, along with 6 nieces and 11 nephews.

The family would like to take this opportunity to extend heartfelt gratitude to the staff of Twin Lakes for their personal loving care and concern.

A private graveside service will be held on May 7, 2022, Saturday morning at 11:00 in the cemetery at Gilliam’s Primitive Baptist Church of Elon, North Carolina, by Rev. Jeff Smith, pastor of Berea Christian Church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Gilliam’s Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery Fund, c/o Arnold Gilliam, 715 Westbrook Drive, Burlington, NC 27215, or Berea Christian Church, 2828 Old NC 87, Elon, NC 27244, or Frederick K. Gilliam, Sr. Scholarship Fund, Elon University, 2600 Campus Box, Elon, NC 27244.

Rich & Thompson Funeral and Cremation Service in Burlington is assisting the family. Condolences may be offered online at


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Bess Gilliam Davenport, please visit our floral store.



Gilliam Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery
NC Hwy 87 North
Burtlington, NC 27217

© 2022 Rich and Thompson Funeral and Cremation Service. All Rights Reserved. | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy