Betty Milam McClain
Sunday, March 12, 2017 at 4:16PM

Anderson, SC - Betty Gambrell Milam McClain, known to her family and friends as “Baba”, died peacefully on March 10, 2017, at the age of 91 at Morningside of Anderson in Anderson, South Carolina.

This spirited and fun-loving woman was born on August 12, 1925, in Pendleton, South Carolina to her parents, Leila Pinson and John Patterson Gambrell. She graduated Pendleton High School and Winthrop University with a degree in Physical Education. She married her high school sweetheart, Robert Preston Milam, in 1945 and together they produced six children. She was later married to Carl Hawkins McClain until his death in 1987. Betty was a housewife and later a teacher at La France Elementary School and at Townville Elementary School in Anderson County and retired from the school system in 1993. She was a Christian and a former member of Pendleton Presbyterian Church. 

She volunteered with Meals on Wheels for many years and often gave of her time and energy to her many friends and neighbors. Betty loved being at the beach, on the water and in the sun, spending time with her family, playing bridge and drinking martinis with friends at a favored spot in Pendleton. 

Betty is survived by her children: Linda Milam Brannen, John Preston (Pete) Milam (Lori), Patricia (Pat) Milam Padgett (Horace), Walter Edward (Ed) Milam (Betty), Leila Milam Hilley (Bill), Joseph (Joe) Adair Milam (Chris) and her grandchildren and great grandchildren: Beth Brannen Richter (Steven), Will and Nick; Kristi Brannen Phan (Binh) and Brannen and Jacob; Amanda Padgett Stevenson (John) and Leila, Adair and Vivian; Emily Stone Padgett; Cassie Milam Nunn (Matt) and Abby, Samm, and Kaitlyn; Lauren Hilley Steele (Chris) and Katy; Erin Hilley Lairsey (Eric) and Eve, Clara, Ellie, and Coleman; Kristen Hilley Davis (Bill) and Ella Kate, Josiah, Miley, Levi, Adalyn and Titus; Preston, Maggie and Jack Milam. She is also survived by Gunn and Diana Gomez of Bogota, Colombia whose relationship with the Milam family began when he lived with Betty and Joe as a transfer student.

A memorial service to celebrate the life of Betty McClain will be held at a later date. Memorials in her memory may be directed to Meals on Wheels, Post Office Box 285, Anderson, SC 29622.

Sullivan-King Mortuary

Article originally appeared on The Anderson Observer (
See website for complete article licensing information.