Judith (Judy) Gilliam-Rolle was born October 17, 1960, the youngest of four
children born to Brazil Gilliam and Mabel Lee (Dunn) Gilliam. She was born at
Sisters of Mercy Hospital in San Diego, California.
Judy was educated in the San Diego City School system. She attended Stephen
Watts Kearny High School but ultimately graduated from San Diego High School in
1978. She also attended Mesa and San Diego City Community Colleges.
Judy was a loud and passionate sports fan. She loved professional basketball and
football. She was a FOREVER FAITHFUL 49er fanatic and also a Chicago
Bulls/Michael Jordan fan! She herself played basketball and racquetball in her
younger days. Judy was a glamorous woman, or what she called “Ghetto
Fabulous”. She always had her hair and nails done, and jewelry to match every
outfit. Bling was her thing. She loved all types of music; R&B, Reggae, Hip Hop,
Pop and even enjoyed some Country music, but most especially gospel. However,
she couldn’t see any need for Broadway musicals!!! Judy loved to dance and
enjoyed “Happy Hour” sometimes after work at Dave and Busters with her best
friend Dawn and their special girls. Judy basked in her role as God mom to Sophia
Gilliam and Trinity Hatton. She also loved being affectionately called “GG” (grand-
Godmother) by Stephani’s Goddaughter Aubree, whom she brought to Christ.
Some of her other favorite pass- times were playing “Candy Crush” on her phone,
and she enjoyed old black and white movies and TV shows; specifically, The Andy
Griffith Show. Although reality shows were her guilty pleasures. Judy happily
anticipated the daily phone calls with her mother. They could laugh and talk for
forever; though they lust lived across the street from each other. She enjoyed
eating out and trying new restaurants with her daughters and sisters, especially
sushi/seafood, Chinese and Mexican food. Ms. Judy could also “throw down” in
the kitchen herself! She was well known for her Mac & Cheese.
In the 1980s Judy married and gave birth to the two lights of her life; her
daughters Tiffani and Stephani Downes. Her beloved step-daughter LaKeisha
Downes was also a member of the household. She worked tirelessly to support
her girls, mentally, physically and emotionally. Her daughters were the utmost
essence of her existence. Judy pushed even harder after the sudden loss of her
daughter Tiffani in 2010. Always there to support her was her boyfriend of 17
years, Michael. As thoughtful as Judy was, she purposely chose the date of 11-11-
11 to FINALLY marry her soulmate, Michael Rolle. She wanted her wedding date
to be a memorable one. Judy and Michael shared a beautiful love story.
Throughout her prolonged illness Michael and Stephani worked hard providing
care and comfort as they stood by her side. Together the two of them attended to
Judy’s every need.
Judy’s professional work history began shortly after high school when she became
a postal worker. She later worked as a banker for La Jolla Bank. She moved on to
become a manager at Consumer Credit Counseling Service and retired after 15
years as an insurance underwriter for Wawanesa Insurance Company. She took
advantage of her engaging, fun personality when she worked as a part time
bartender in her younger years.
Judy united with the church at an early age. She began serving the Lord at Bethel
A.M.E. Church as a young child. She was in the Y.P.D. (Young People’s Division),
the youth usher board and the youth choir. As an adult she continued to serve as
the church Financial Secretary, a member of the Steward Board and of the church
Finance Commission. Judy actively participated in Church Anniversary and
Women’s Day celebrations. She enriched her spiritual life through attending
Women’s retreats and Bible Studies. A very proud moment for Judy was when she
was inducted into the Women’s’ Missionary Society of the African Methodist
Judy will be remembered for her unwavering faith in God, her Strength and
Courage. We will all remember her sweet, engaging spirit, her contagious laughter
her genuine, caring heart and her bright toothsome smile. Anyone who ever met
Judy immediately fell in love with her. “Tru Dat!”
Judy was preceded in death by her father, Brazil Gilliam, her loving daughter
Tiffani and her nephew Sage Evans.
Remaining to cherish her memory are her beloved husband Michael Rolle, her
devoted daughter Stephani and step-daughter LaKeisha, grandsons Damon (19),
TeQuan (11) and Zykee (14), her mother Mabel Gilliam, her siblings Beverly
Gilliam, Deborah Babe Evans (Arthur), Artice Gilliam (Shirelle LeRae), her best
friend Dawn Caldwell, God daughters Sophia Gilliam and Trinity Hatton, Grand-
Goddaughter Aubree Morse; 2 Aunties and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews,
church family and friends.
SERVICES are Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 11am at Bethel Memorial AME Church. Burial will follow at El Camino Memorial Park, Sorrento Valley.
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