Betty Joe Boyte Gillis-Kennedy

Published 10:33 pm Friday, November 24, 2017

Funeral services for Betty Joe Boyte Gillis-Kennedy, of Brookhaven, are Monday, Nov. 27, 2017, at 2 p.m. at Riverwood Family Funeral Service in Brookhaven with burial at Easthaven Cemetary. Rev. Bendon Ginn and Rev. Greg Warnock will officiate the services.

Visitation will be Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Riverwood Family Funeral Service in Brookhaven.

Mrs. Gillis-Kennedy, 86, died peacefully at her home Friday, Nov. 24, 2017, surrounded by her family. She was born Feb. 25, 1931, to Versie and Mary Jane Boyte. She graduated with honors from East Lincoln High School and received a certificate in interior design from the University of Mississippi. She served as Worthy Grand Matron two of her 61 years in Chapter No. 1, Order of the Eastern Star. She was also an active member of First Baptist Church.

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Mrs. Gillis-Kennedy touched every soul she ever met, whether she was taking food to the elderly, square dancing with the Dixie Dancers, eating lunch at her favorite restaurants, Georgia Blue and Golden China, or waiting for you to jump when you see the plastic spider she strategically placed on your seat. If she were there, you knew she would leave you smiling. She was caring, compassionate, witty and fun. She loved her puppy, Princess, loved her daughter, Diane, her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and family and precious friends. She loved life and you could always feel that love around her. Her family knows that what she could only love more now is her life with the Lord.

Preceding her in death were her parents; sister, Mattie Pearl Jordan; husband, Billy M. Gillis; husband, Dee Kennedy; and son-in-law, Nick Vesa.

Survivors are her daughter, Diane Gillis Vesa; stepson, David Kennedy; niece and nephew, Rodney and Debbie Jordan; grandchildren, Micky and Telci Vesa and Kevin and Angel Vance; four great-grandsons, Rigby, Ruger, Cooper and Sharps; two great-granddaughters, Layla and Elise; Melissa Boyte Martin, who she considered one of her own, and Jack Smith, a loving companion always at her side.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in her memory to the Nick Vesa Memorial Scholarship Endowment. Checks should be made payable to The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation and mailed to 118 College Dr. Box 5210, Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001. Please reference in the memo/notes section: Nick Vesa Memorial Scholarship Endowment. Gifts are tax-deductible.

If you would like to leave words of sympathy for the family, you may do so at

Betty Joe Gillis-Kennedy