Ami Marie Gregory Guilliams of Valdosta died Thursday, April 27, 2017 at Langdale Hospice House, following a courageous battle with cancer, one of the only battles she ever lost. She was 43. She loved her boys and baseball more than anything, and she touched all she met with her contagious smile and kindness.
Ami is survived by her loving husband, Greg Guilliams, and two sons, Elijah and Isaac, all of Valdosta; her parents, Ray and Jill Gregory of Pittsburgh, PA; two sisters and brothers-in-law, Kari and Randy Chandler of Chevy Chase, MD, and Jodi and Ron Thompson of Bear Rocks, PA; her brother, Patrick Gregory of Pittsburgh, PA; her grandmother, Marie Gajewski of Pittsburgh, PA; parents-in-law, Jim and Shirley Guilliams of Newark, OH; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Todd and Julie Guilliams of Lexington, KY; her nieces and nephews, Colette and Brigette Chandler, Angelique and Jacob Thompson, and Casey, Grace, and Wyatt Guilliams; and many, many loving friends.
Ami was born on September 10, 1973 in Pittsburgh, PA. She was raised in the town of Brentwood, attending St. Sylvester's grade school and Brentwood High School. While attending Brentwood High School, Ami participated in the swim team, marching and concert bands, and she was a member of the National Honor Society, student director of the Senior Class play, and a lifeguard. She had aspirations of becoming an astronaut; it was a dream come true when she was accepted to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU). Ami attended ERAU in Daytona Beach, FL, from 1991 to 1996, where she met her husband Greg. Ami earned a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Science. Following university, Ami had a colorful career exploring her many passions, including teaching as adjunct faculty at ERAU; serving as director of Big Brothers Big Sisters (as the youngest local director in the United States at the time); writing scientific tests for educational institutions; teaching 8th grade science in Hamilton County, FL; providing public relations and consulting support for NASA; and even serving as a crime scene investigator for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Ami also had a love for books (Stephen King), and worked more recently in bookstores.
Ami and Greg married in July 1998. Their first son, Elijah, was born in 2003 and their second son, Isaac, was born in 2005. Isaac was born with a severe brain condition, agenesis corpus callosum. Isaac exhibited many developmental problems, but Ami, with her never-ending drive, advocated endlessly for him. In 2007, Ami and her family moved to Valdosta, where Greg accepted a head coaching position at Valdosta State University. She was an active member of the Crossroads Baptist Church, an ardent supporter of all-things-baseball, and friend and confidant to many.
In May 2013, Ami was diagnosed with Stage IIB Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC). Following a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation, in January 2016 the TNBC returned, spreading to Ami's lungs and liver. Over the past year, Ami fought Stage IV metastatic cancer, suffering as the disease spread throughout her brain, organs, and bones, despite continuous chemotherapy, radiation, and clinical trials. With her larger-than-life personality and her inexhaustible grace, she continued to rescue animals, provide a shoulder to lean on, and make all around her feel loved and important, even in her final days. As anyone who knows her, there are no words to describe how very special she was.
Memorial services will be held at 11:00 am, Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at the Crossroads Baptist Church with Dr. Ken Alford and Rev. Ross Cook officiating. Memorials may be made in lieu of flowers to "Gregory Allen Guilliams in trust for Elijah and Isaac Guilliams," Citizens Community Bank, P.O. Box 3788, Valdosta, GA 31604-3788, or in-person at any Citizens Community Bank branch. Condolences to the family may be conveyed online at www.mclanecares.com. Carson McLane Funeral Home.