Connie Gilstrap of Lake Saint Louis, MO, passed away Monday, May 14, 2018, at the age of 72. Beloved wife of 51 wonderful years to Jim Gilstrap; cherished daughter of the late Harry and Marie Bechtel; devoted mother of Eric (Ronna) Gilstrap and Traci (Kevin) Morkassel; loving grandmother of Kaitlin (Francis) Ballek and Kelsey (Jeffrey) Wright; and treasured great-grandmother of Rebekah Ballek.
Connie loves the Lord our God, loves His church, and loves her family. She was baptized into Christ Jesus in February, 1978 at the Bammel Road Church of Christ in Spring, Texas. Connie worshipped and served the Lord at the Crystal Lake Church of Christ in Illinois and until her passing, the St. Peters Church of Christ in Missouri. For 40 years she taught children Bible classes and opened her home to host parties for the children among her many ways of service. For the past several years, Connie has enjoyed designing and decorating bears for children at hospital emergency rooms and a pediatric urgent care. Each of the 240 bears each year is unique and “dressed” as appropriate for the month and season.
Connie’s family is central to her life. She and Jim were blessed that Connie was able to stay home and raise her children. First were her son Eric and daughter Traci, who have become remarkable adults with strong faith and work ethics. Their spouses, Eric’s wife, Ronna and Traci’s husband, Kevin are Christians also. Then came the joy of being the day care for Traci’s daughters, Kaitlin and Kelsey. Two amazingly talented and lovely young ladies. Both married great young men, Kaitlin’s Francis and Kelsey’s Jeffrey, bringing our grandchildren number to four. All her grandchildren are Christians and active in their congregations as are her children. For the past two years, the excitement has been to experience the wonder that is Connie’s great granddaughter, Kaitlin’s Rebekah.
Connie’s example and faith have impacted the lives of many, including her husband, Jim, their children, and grandchildren. That influence will continue through them for generations to come.
Connie is greatly loved. Her absence leaves a void in many lives that cannot be filled. Yet it is comforting to know that Connie died in Christ and is in Paradise looking forward to the resurrection to life in heaven.
Memorial contributions in Connie’s honor may be made to Potter’s Children’s Home, 2350 Nashville Road, Bowling Green, KY 42101.