Robert Oliver "Bob" McIlwain

Celebration of Life services for Robert Oliver "Bob" McIlwain will be held at 2:00 PM Thursday, January 24, 2019 at Cross Roads Baptist Church, 7025 Hwy 126, Grayson, Louisiana with Danny Sidders, Drew Keahey, Ronnie Darden and David Varnell officiating. Interment will follow at Cross Roads Cemetery under the direction of Riser and Son Funeral Home, Columbia, Louisiana. The family will receive visitors from 5:00 PM until 8:00 PM on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 also at Cross Roads Baptist Church.


Bob McIlwain, age 75, went to be with his Lord following a bravely fought battle with cancer. He was a resident of Grayson, Louisiana. He was preceded in death by his parents, Gerald Clinton McIlwain, Sr. and Olive Gene Grant McIlwain and wife of 43 years, Charlotte Ella Hogg McIlwain.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife Gaylne Wilkins, daughters: Ellen McIlwain Girod and husband, Mark of Ringgold, Georgia, Jennie McIlwain Hull  and husband, John of Grayson, Louisiana, Susanne McIlwain of West Monroe, and son, Jim Bob McIlwain and wife, Lori Poole McIlwain of Grayson, and stepchildren, Beth Lowery Beaubouef and Josh Lowery. Brothers: G.C. "Gerry" McIlwain, Jr. and wife, Kitty Colvin McIlwain and Ronald McIlwain and wife, Judy May McIlwain. Grandchildren: Lexie Girod Rouhotas and husband Adam, Haley Girod Waller and husband Scott, Brittany Purvis Ellis and husband Collin, Sophie Molaison, Chelsea Purvis, Bobby Frey, Taylor McIlwain, Mallory Girod, Lauren Townsend, Tanner McIlwain, and Jack Hatton, and great-grandson Bennett Ellis, as well as his step-grandchildren: Coty Guerrero, Alexa Tingle, Jackson Lowery and Benjamin Lowery and numerous nieces and nephews.

Bob and Charlotte were high school sweethearts who graduated from Grayson High School in 1961. They both attended and later graduated from Louisiana Tech University. Bob graduated with a Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1966. He and Charlotte were married on April 16, 1965 in Grayson, Louisiana. He worked at Dow Chemical in Rocky Flats, Colorado as an engineer. He later returned to Columbia to work with his father and grandfather at McIlwain Motor Company. In 1989 after the Ford dealership closed, he joined Charlotte in the day-to-day running of the Western Auto store. They were a team at the Western Auto until retirement in 2001. After retirement, Bob worked even harder as a farmer, contractor, trucker and demolition contractor for the state. In 2007, after 6 short years of retirement, Bob lost Charlotte to cancer. Afterward, he continued to focus on his work and was always busy. Bob was blessed to find love again and on January 2, 2009 he and Gaylne Wilkins were married. They were able to spend ten wonderful years together. As Bob's health declined, Gaylne lovingly cared for him, making his life so much better and all of the family is forever grateful to her.

Bob was involved in many local community endeavors. He served as a member of the Caldwell Industrial Development Board, Ward’s 4 & 5 Water Board, Caldwell Parish Housing Authority, and one of the founding members of Homeland Federal Savings Bank.

He was also very active in the Columbia Church of Christ. Following in his father’s footsteps, he was one of the driving forces to get the new Columbia Church of Christ building built following the highway 165 expansion. He led the song service for many years and would step in to teach a class or prepare a sermon when needed. He led many souls to Christ and was privileged to baptize many of his grandchildren. He also married many couples and helped many families say goodbye to their loved ones.

Pallbearers will be Bobby Frey, Tanner McIlwain, Jack Hatton, John McIlwain, Drew Keahey, Mark McIlwain, Joey Varnell, Chris Hatten, Coty Guerrero, and Taryn Varnell.

Honorary pallbearers are Board members of Homeland Bank, Buddy James, David Varnell, Billy Joe May, Buster Mullin, Steve Beckley, Jerry Strickland, Bill Spangler, Russ Leidy, Randy Cagle, Jerry Meredith, and Jody Williams.