Ila Earle Gaines slipped away to her Heavenly Father on March 14, 2017 at her home in Huntsville, Texas. She was born to Tollie Roy Gaines and Willie Mable Petree Gaines on February 17, 1925 in Huntsville. She lived most of her early years on the Smither Farm located on FM 980 where her father was the foreman. After graduating from Huntsville High School she eloped with her one true love, Lewis Gaines, Sr., on August 1, 1942. They were blessed with almost 74 years together and shared a love that only grew stronger as the years went by. They made their home in Huntsville and raised two children Lewis Henry Gaines, Jr. and Carolyn Ann Gaines.
Ila worked in payroll for Texas Department of Corrections for many years and then was of great value in establishing and overseeing the Credit Union for TDC employees. Upon retirement from TDC she went to work beside her husband at the jointly owned Key Printing & Office Supply where she continued to serve the community of Huntsville.
Ila Gaines was a woman of incredible energy, unwavering loyalty and total commitment to her family, community and her church. She led with a servants heart in capacities too numerous to include them all. Never one to refuse a request to participate, she served eight years on the Huntsville City Council, chaired the General Sam Houston Folk Festival, Huntsville Trail of Lights, Huntsville Education Foundation and led a majority of the clubs and organizations in the city. She was honored as Citizen of the Year, Best Dressed Woman in Huntsville and recognized as Huntsville Lady of the Year by Beta Sigma Phi Sorority.
Ila was equally involved in the life of First Baptist Church for over 58 years. Many past and present members can attest that she led by example. She shared her servant heart as the teacher of Joy Sunday School Class for over 50 years and offered wise counsel, warm comfort and much love to many Joy Class members. Her ability to host the perfect social event is legend and the words "Ila wouldn't do it that way" are spoken even today.
She has been reunited in Heaven with her parents; her brother Tollie Roy Gaines, Jr. and wife LaRue Fannin Gaines; sister Mattie Ethel Flynt and husband Loyd Flynt; her beloved husband Lewis Henry Gaines, Sr.; and her much loved son Lewis Henry Gaines, Jr.
She is survived by her daughter Carolyn Ann Gaines; daughter-in-law Mary Gaines; granddaughters Cindy Grant (Tim), Kelly Vergimini (Daniel) and Kelly Corliss (Jeff); grandsons Clayton Gaines and Jamie Mulligan; great-grandsons Tyler Decker, Jackson Gaines, Jake Holden (Caitlin), Corey Holden (Stormey) and Mason Holden; and great-granddaugher Madison Gaines. She also leaves nieces, nephews and other family to mourn her loss.
Ila was laid to rest beside her husband at Brooke Cemetery on Friday, March 17, 2017 in a private family service.
A memorial service to celebrate her incredible life will be held at 11:00 AM on Monday, March 20, 2017 at First Baptist Church with the Reverend Carrol Williams and Reverend Jason Bay officiating. The family will receive friends in the chapel at First Baptist Church beginning at 10:00 AM.
Those wishing to honor her memory may do so by giving to First Baptist Church Projector Project or to the charity of their choice.
Full obituary may be viewed and memorial condolences made to the family at www.shmfh.com.
Published on March 17, 2017