Willie Harris Gillenwater was a pioneer in educating children with mental challenges in Richmond Public Schools.

Mrs. Gillenwater was among the first 10 teachers in Rich- mond and Virginia to earn state certification to teach children with special learning disabilities, according to her family.

During her nearly 36-year career in education, theAlabama native rose to become an administrator in RPS’ Exceptional Education Department before she retired in the early 1990s.

Mrs. Gillenwater died Monday, Jan. 20, 2019. She was 91.

Family and friends celebrated her life during a service Monday, Jan. 27, at Scott’s Funeral Home Chapel in North Side, with the Rev. Brint Pratt Keyes officiating.

Mrs. Gillenwater came to Richmond in 1958 to complete her degree in education at Virginia Union University. In

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