Former mayor’s daughter dies in Texas crash

Former mayor Mike Gilroy came back to town from his home in New

The daughter of Mike Gilroy, the city’s former mayor, died in a
motorcycle accident on a Texas highway Sunday night. Full article;
complete obituary
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The daughter of Mike Gilroy, the city’s former mayor, died in a motorcycle accident on a Texas highway Sunday night.

The former mayor confirmed the tragedy Monday, saying that his daughter, Denise Williams, had died when a pick-up truck plowed into a car from behind that was making a left turn in the highway’s fast lane. That collision sent the car careening into the slow lane where Denise, 48, and her husband, Mitch Williams, 44, were riding separate motorcycles.

She died instantly, according to news reports. Her husband was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

She is the mother of twin sons, 2001 Gilroy High School alumni Chris and Tim Henderson. Chris Henderson lives in Gilroy with his wife Kristen and their 2-month-old daughter Adlin. Tim Henderson lives with his wife, Elise, in Georgia and they have a 4-year-old daughter, Paige. Tim is on active duty in the U.S. Air Force, and Chris is a former U.S. Marine. Tim is on duty in State of Qatar, an Arab emirate, in the Middle East.

The four-vehicle wreck that occurred in Blanco County left three travelers injured, causing traffic to back up for three hours in both directions of U.S. 281 for several miles in both directions.

Officials say the accident was called in just before 6 p.m. Sunday. Cheryl Hoggard, 45, of Spring Branch was driving a Toyota station wagon on southbound U.S. 281. She was stopped to turn left when she her car was struck from behind hit by a Dodge pickup, according to news reports.

“The truck was heading southbound and apparently did not realize that the car was stopped in the traffic lane and crashed into it from behind,” said Trooper Erich Neumann of the Department of Public Safety in Johnson City.

There have been “several crashes in the area from the same sort of thing” because no left turn lane exists and drivers often fail to notice vehicles stopped in front of them, Neumann said.

“There is a history of accidents happening in the area,” he added. “But they’re not usually this severe.”

Authorities said Hoggard’s car was pushed into the northbound lanes, where it struck Denise. Her husband was on another motorcycle and was able to avoid the collision, but still lost control and struck a tree, reports state.

Denise was pronounced dead on the scene, while Mitch was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Both were wearing helmets, according to reports.

Denise was a resident of Pflugerville, Texas. She and Mitch had visited with her father and his wife, Pat, that day and were heading home when the accident occurred.

Mike Gilroy is the great-great-grandson of John Cameron Gilroy, for whom the city is named. He was first elected to the Gilroy City Council in November 1991, then again in November of 1995, serving a total of six years. After the mayor’s seat was vacated by then Mayor Don Gage, Gilroy ran for mayor in 1997 during his second term as councilman.


Cecelia Denise Williams passed away Sunday, July 17, 2011 in Spring Branch, Texas at the age of 48.

She is preceded in death by her mother, Mary Nell Quinn Gilroy of Wilburton, Oklahoma and her grandparents; Henry and Margaret Gilroy and William and Mary Cecelia Quinn.

Denise was born in McAlester, Oklahoma on July 26, 1962. She graduated from Woodbridge High School, Woodbridge, Virginia. After graduation she moved to Texas with her father and brother and attended Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. Denise loved to read, cook, learn and travel, and life was always a wonderful adventure for her. Her father bought her a Camaro when she graduated from high school, with the stipulation that she had to learn to change the oil, tune the engine and change flat tires. She did. During her early years, she lived with her family in Texas, Oklahoma, Washington D.C., England and Alabama. Travelling with her family around the United Sstates and through the United Kingdom was one of her great joys.

Denise married Mitch, the love of her life, in Gilroy in 1994. They have lived in Pflugerville, Texas for the past six years. Being a Mother and a “Nana” brought her great joy.

Denise touched the lives of everyone she met. Whether she knew someone for only one encounter or someone for years, they all would have similar comments about how warm and kind hearted she was. She was a selfless person who always put the needs of others before her own. Denise was the master of multi-tasking and planning. She could talk business on the phone while holding a baby in one arm and cooking a meal with the other. If an event or vacation needed to be planned she would have it organized with ease and excitement.

Denise was employed for 11 years with several insurance companies in Gilroy, California including Di Buduo and De Fendis and AAA. After moving to Pflugerville, she was employed with The American Cancer Society. She had been the Office Manager for the American Casualty Insurance Company in Austin, Texas for the past six years.

Denise is survived by her husband, Mitch Williams; twin sons and wives: Christopher Michael (Kristen Rosa) Henderson of Gilroy, California and S/Sgt. Timothy Matthew (Elise Little) Henderson of Warner Robbins, Georgia; her brother Michael Gilroy of Gulf Breeze, Florida; her parents, Kevin A. Mike and Patricia Gilroy of Spring Branch, Texas; her mother-in-law Amelia Lamb and her husband Al of Hollister, California; father-in-law, Greg Williams of Salinas, California; grandmothers Arlene Duggins of North Carolina and Lila Silva of Prunedale, California ; and two granddaughters, Paige Lindsey Henderson and Adlin Rose Henderson; many nieces and nephews and aunts and uncles.

A funeral mass service will be held in Wilburton, Oklahoma at Sacred Heart Catholic Church with burial to follow in Calvary Cemetery in Wilburton.

A memorial service to celebrate Denise’s life will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday July 30 at Crofts Funeral Home in Blanco, Texas at 911 Mesquite St., Blanco, Texas, 78606.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Arthritis Foundation.