bibbsfuneralhome IMG 6744Gwenda Lenise Willingham, 60, the daughter of Gloria W. Horne and the late Marion S. Willingham, was born on March 21, 1956. After a lengthy illness, she departed this life on April 15, 2016 at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Other family members preceding her in death; Step-father, William B. Horne, Sr.; Step-mother, Minnie Willingham and a Brother, Elisha B. Horne Those who knew Gwenda remember her as a smart, confident and independent woman who never let anything stand in her way. Whatever she decided to achieve, she achieved.

Gwenda accepted Christ at an early age under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Odis B. Smith, Sr. at Zion Baptist Church in Owensboro, Kentucky. She was an active member of the church serving as the Sunday School secretary, playing the piano and singing in the youth choir, all under the watchful eye of her grandmother, Lee Chester Winstead Crump. On each visit home, Gwenda would attend services with her mother and remained a member until this day.

Gwenda was highly accomplished during her high school years at Owensboro High School where she served on the Student Council Board for three years in the positions of Recording/Correspondent Secretary and Vice President. Gwenda was an active member of the BSU, DECA, Co-Op, and also Junior Achievement. She was a Thespian her junior and senior year, a Member of OHS Rose Curtain with casting rolls in “Mame,” The Cop and the Anthem” and “Funny Girl.” Gwenda was the First Chair Flute player for OHS Marching Band; one of the original members of the OHS Drill Team and was voted captain of the team her junior year. During her senior year, she was named as one of the Top 10 Who’s Who Among American Outstanding High School Students for demonstration of leadership in academics, athletics, extra-curricular activities or community services. As a representative of Co-Op group, Gwenda was crowned Miss Calendar Girl for the Key club and received a cash scholarship. She finished her high school career as an Honor Society Graduate with a GPA greater than 3.6. In 1974, Gwenda was crowned Ms. Black Expo Owensboro. Gwenda continued her education at Western Kentucky University where she was an active member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and valued member of the WKU Marching Band; graduating again with honors in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science. She later received her Master of Business Administration from Bellarmine college in 1981.

Gwenda’s work career started with Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation in Louisville, Kentucky as leaf accountant; later rising through the ranks to become cost Accounting Manager in 1984. During her residence in Louisville, Gwenda was the recipient of the 1982 Black Achiever Award given by the Louisville Young Men’s Christian Association; named one of Outstanding Young Women American United States Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1983; served on the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation Credit Union Supervisory Committee, and the Audit Committee for Delta Sigma Theta.

In 1995, Gwenda moved from Louisville to Atlanta, Georgia where she continued her career with GlenAyre Electronic Incorporate as a Finance Manager and within three years was promoted to Director of Finance & Business Support Analysis. As the corporate world would have it, Gwenda was hit with several transitional career changes in Georgia from Unisource Worldwide Inc. (Norcross); Accountants One (Duluth) to her last employment with WinCup in Stone Mountain where she obtained the position of Director of Financial Planning & Analysis.

Gwenda was professionally affiliated with MA, NABA, NBMBAA, and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. During her years in Metro-Atlanta, she became an avid pinochle player. In 1996, Gwenda joined the Atlanta Pinochle Association (APA) and the National Pinochle Association (NPA) where she made many friends throughout both organizations.

Gwenda’s many accomplishments outweigh her small town upbringing and if you had the opportunity to know her, all would say that she was larger than life in a small frame woman. Gwenda will be sorrowfully missed by all that knew her or crossed her path on her way to greatness.

She leaves behind her life partner, Edward Perry of Duluth, Georgia; her Mother, Gloria W. Horne of Owensboro, Kentucky; two brothers, William B. Horne, Jr. of Raeford, North Carolina, Walt (Janet) Horne of Owensboro, Kentucky; two nephews, Brandon Horne of Oxford, North Carolina, Chance Horne of Owensboro, Kentucky; two nieces, Brittney Horne of Fayetteville, North Carolina and Alexis Riley of Owensboro, Kentucky; three special cousins, Gloria (Ernie) Brock of Roswell, Georgia, Lloria J. Harris of Atlanta, Georgia, and Candace (Chester) Ransom of Acworth, Georgia and one close sorority sister, Terri Broadnax of Nashville, Tennessee, along with a host of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Funeral services will be held Monday, April 25, 2016, 12:00 Noon at Zion Missionary Baptist Church, in Owensboro, KY. Visitation 10-12 at the church on Monday. Burial in Rosehill-Elmwood Cemetery and Mausoleum, Owensboro, KY. Bibbs Funeral Home, 109 Court Row, P.O. Box 394, Greenville, KY 42345, is in charge of arrangements. Minister Dante Kelly, Officiating. Walt B. Horne, Words Of Comfort.