Olivia Gilliland Denson, age 89, of Pass Christian, Mississippi, passed away May 19, 2023, in LaGrange Park, IL.
She was born in Pawhuska, OK, in 1934, to Chester and Mary Agnes Strikeaxe Gilliland and was a proud member of the Osage Nation. She moved to New Orleans, LA, in 1954, and embarked on a career in administrative work across various industries, including hospitality, shipyards, and engineering. In addition to her professional pursuits, she actively engaged in community theatre, got involved in her Catholic parish, and volunteered in the Louisiana Engineering Society, Ladies’ Auxiliary. In New Orleans she met and married Leonidas Denson in 1968. The couple moved to Pass Christian, MS, in 1976, where she was an active parishioner at Holy Family Catholic Church (previously St. Paul), volunteering with St. Vincent de Paul, the Altar Society, the annual Seafood Festival, and other ministries. She was a Lumen Christi award winner in the Diocese of Biloxi.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Leonidas Denson; son, Jonathan Denson (deceased shortly after birth); her parents; sister, Nancy Reber; and a brother, Rusty Gilliland.
She is survived by her sister, Freda Moore of Aurora, CO; son, David (Julie) Denson of LaGrange Park, IL, and son, Noah (Betsy) Denson of Houston, TX; and grandchildren, Olivia, Everett, and Natalie Denson.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Holy Family Catholic Church in Pass Christian on June 17 at 11:00 a.m. with visitation at 10:00 a.m. Interment will be at Live Oak Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul at Holy Family in honor of the deceased.
The Riemann Family Funeral Home, Long Beach, is serving the family and online condolences may be offered at www.riemannfamily.com