John ‘Todd’ Gilliland Obituary, John ‘Todd’ Gilliland of Kearney, Nebraska, has passed away
- by Alex Danvers
John ‘Todd’ Gilliland Obituary, Death – On November 16, 2022, John (Todd) Gilliland passed away suddenly due to reasons that are currently unidentified. On May 6, 1964, Todd Gilliland was born in Kearney, Nebraska, to his parents, Terry and Sonya Gilliland.
In his younger years, Todd was a phenomenal athlete who was known throughout the state for his size, speed, and fierce competitiveness. During this time, he competed in a variety of sports. He was also known as a gentle giant for the compassion and kindness that he showed to those who were having a hard time or were in a difficult situation. It was well known that he stood up for people who were being mistreated by others.
Everyone who knew Todd was aware that he was a huge fan of the Oklahoma Sooners football team. He also took great pleasure in watching the annual Big 12 football game and was ecstatic when there was a crossover game between the Big10 and the Big12 this year. Even more so, he couldn’t contain his joy at the news that the Sooners had won. His love for classic music from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s was on par with his enthusiasm for the Sooners. He was able to accurately recite every lyric and recognize every tune! There was no one who could beat Todd at “Name That Tune”!
Todd was not only one of the most talented athletes of his time, but also of all time. He excelled in all three sports he played while attending Auburn and Mitchell High Schools: football, basketball, and track. Because of Todd’s outstanding performance on the football field, he was selected to participate in the annual Nebraska Shrine Bowl game and received numerous scholarship offers to play the sport at the collegiate level. However, despite the fact that he was a fantastic football player, he was most likely best known for the numerous accolades that he received as a track athlete. The year that Todd was a senior was a banner year for him because he won the state championship in both the 100-meter and the 200-meter dashes in Class B and anchored the winning 4×100-meter relay team. Even today, Todd’s name can be found on record lists for competitions held all over the state, and he was the holder of the state Class B record for more than thirty years.
When Todd was in his late teens, he began a fight against schizophrenia that would last for decades. He remained devoted to his family and actively involved in their activities despite the debilitating effects the disease had on his life. Todd had a heart of kindness and was known for his generous nature. He cherished his family. He kept up with everything important that happened in the lives of his nieces and nephews, including their athletics, activities, marriages, careers, and even the births of his great-nephews and great-nieces. The courageous battle that Todd fought against this debilitating disease inspired many members of his family to pursue careers in advocacy. The family’s hope is that more people will become aware of the effects that mental illness has on individuals as well as families, as well as the significance of advocating for services that can help those who are afflicted with the effects of mental illness.
Todd is survived by his loving and devoted mother, Sonya (Vasquez) Gilliland, a brother Troy (Michelle) Gilliland of Fairview Park, OH, two sisters, Traci Gilliland of Scottsbluff and Tanya (Mitch) Carter of Castle Pines, CO, and a number of nieces and nephews. These include Max, Zane, and Cecilia Gilliland of Fairview Park, OH; Hannah Gilliland of Lincoln Todd’s grandfathers, John Vasquez and JR Gilliland, as well as his father, Terry Gilliland, have passed away before him. His grandmothers, Ruby Vasquez and Elizabeth Gilliland, also passed away before him. A service commemorating the life of the deceased will be held at a later time.
John ‘Todd’ Gilliland Obituary, Death – On November 16, 2022, John (Todd) Gilliland passed away suddenly due to reasons that are currently unidentified. On May 6, 1964, Todd Gilliland was born in Kearney, Nebraska, to his parents, Terry and Sonya Gilliland. In his younger years, Todd was a phenomenal athlete who was known throughout the…