Colleen Cecilia Hays Gilchrest
November 1, 1960
June 20, 2023
Colleen Cecilia Hays Gilchrest, age 62, passed away peacefully at her home, surrounded by family, on June 20, 2023. She was born In Waco, Texas on November 1, 1960 to Lula Cecile LeBouef and William McNeilly Hays. A memorial service is scheduled for this Saturday, June 24, at 10 am at the Belton Church of Christ, officiated by Minister Jordan Hubbard.
Colleen and Byron Powell Gilchrest married on July 14, 1984. They have been residents of Salado, Texas for 32 years and longtime Belton Church of Christ members. During this time Colleen became mother to three children, Brittany Belle Sharum, Stetson Beau Gilchrest, and Sharla Mae Miller; and four grandchildren, Indiana, Branson, Brayden, and Blakely.
Lovingly called “Ma” by her grandchildren, she was a seasoned rocker of babies, soccer mom, theatergoer, and traveler. Being an adventurous soul, Colleen enjoyed experiencing different cultures, both domestic and international, through travel to new and exciting places with family and friends.
Colleen is an alumna of Central High School, class of 1979. She received a Bachelors in Finance and Real Estate at Angelo State University in 1983 and a Master’s of Education Curriculum and Instruction from University of Texas Arlington in 2015.
After college graduation, Colleen’s extensive career began in finance and real estate. However her true passion was found when her legacy career began as a substitute teacher at Salado ISD where she later became a 6th grade mathematics teacher for 18 years. During her career she was instrumental in helping students excel in UIL, assisting in developing life skills through her self-made after school cooking club, enriching their lives through a summer trip to Washington, DC, and leading student’s to win the national NASA’s WEAR Challenge competition. The pinnacle of her teacher career was teaming with her dear friend and colleauge Laura Tomlin and the Amateur Radio Relay League to have students make audio contact with astronaut Scott Tingle, on the International Space Station. In all of her years she has been the greatest supporter of many; whether it be her students, friends, or family.
Colleen’s love of community and the joy of helping people will be cherished and missed by many.