DeLois Freeman Killen died peacefully at home Sunday, March 22, 2020. She was born on January 26, 1934 as the third of six daughters of the late Auston and Alma Freeman and lived her entire life in Newton County, Mississippi except for the early years of her marriage when her husband’s military service led her to San Antonio, TX and Biloxi, MS.
DeLois was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend. Her full-time job was taking care of her family by cooking unbelievable feasts (always with a caramel cake), giving advice, helping do whatever was necessary, growing flowers and vegetables, and canning everything in sight. She managed to raise five kids, ten grandkids, and twelve greats, while still holding down a full-time job outside of the home most of the time. Until July 1, 2018, she dispatched the graveyard shift at Union Police Department five nights per week, so that she still had time to do her real jobs during the day. Prior to then, she worked in Food Services at Laird Hospital and for many, many years at Midland Shirt Company. She graduated from Sebastopol High School and married her high school sweetheart, Grady (Bud) Killen. Their first four children were born while Grady was in the Air Force, with the last born the year after they moved to Union. At the age of 27, she had five kids, (eight and under), a full-time job, and a huge garden. When she had time for herself, we will never know.
DeLois was a member of First Baptist Church of Union and loved to enjoy television gospel singing programs to help her feel ready to “Rest High Up On That Mountain” which she requested to be sung at her funeral. In her constant “advice to her family—given freely whether you wanted it or not”, she would always direct you to what the Bible said you should do and to “judge not lest ye also be judged”. This weekend she told us that she and the Lord were right and that she had reflected about the wrongs she regretted and had received forgiveness. She knew her time was near. Although we will miss her, we are comforted by the knowledge that her soul is safe with Jesus.
DeLois is survived by her children, Sandra Dolan of Union, Charlie Killen and wife, Barbara, of Brandon, Linda Gressett and husband, Ricky, of Brandon and Debbie Halford and husband, Bill, of Meadville; grandchildren, Kris Dolan and wife, Amanda, of Union, Gary Dolan and wife, Bethany, of Union, Dea Dolan Hill and husband, Heath, of Steens, Amy Smith and husband, Scott, of Union, Jana Hebert and husband, Michael, of Baton Rouge, LA, Claire Shirley and husband, Matthew, of Baton Rouge, LA, Zachary Gressett of Brandon, Cole Gressett and wife, Claire, of Hattiesburg, Morgan Poore and husband, Dain, of Meadville and Will Halford of Meadville. Her great-grandchildren are Lacey Dolan, Lane Dolan, Hayley Stephens, Mackenzie Dolan, Hayden Dolan, Katelyn Hill, Jordan Smith, Ava Claire Smith, Tyler Smith, Cecelia Hebert, Sam Hebert and Clark Shirley. She is survived by her sisters, Janis Watts of Union and Kate Thomas of Union; sister-in-law, Sarah Jo Killens of Union and Nell Killens of Sebastopol; and brothers-in-law, John Watts of Union and Fred Cliburn of Brandon. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews and their families who were always welcome at her holiday feasts.
DeLois was predeceased by her husband, Grady (Bud) Killen; her parents, her son, Martin DeWayne Killen; her sisters, Mae Sistrunk, Austine Cliburn and Bobbie Bearden; and a special friend, James (Sonny) Loper.
In light of the current world problems, the family had a private family viewing at Milling Funeral Home in Union, Mississippi with a limited attendance graveside service at Union Memorial Cemetery at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. The service was conducted by her “nephew” Rev. Ricky Rogers. Pallbearers were her grandchildren. Honorary pallbearers were her great-grandchildren and Chief Billy Pat Walker and members of the Union Police Department. Your prayers for the family are appreciated at this time. Any memorials may be sent to the charity of your choice or the Union City Cemetery Fund, 404 Bank Street, Union, MS 39365.