Louis C Hill passed away on May 25, 2020.Graveside services will be held today at 1 pm at Glendale Cemetery. Louis C. Hill, the 16th child and youngest son of Major Sr and Allie Hill, was born February 24, 1934 in Kewanee, MS. He transitioned on May 25, 2020.
As a young adult he courted Christine Wilson. They married and created eight bold, beautiful, blessed,busy and bossy children (Gerri, Louis, Milton, Pat, Lora, Shannon, Travis & Terri); making their start as a family first in Kewanee, then later moved to Lauderdale, MS, in a wood framed house right up the road from his sister, Adline.
That was the first house the kids remember. It had a red top, a long front porch, a wood burning stove in the kitchen, kerosene lamps and chamber pots. Yup. Water was carried from a well to use in the house.There are vague early memories of the young family in the mid 1960’s picking cotton, using burlap sacks, putting it in a trailer and taking it to the old cotton gin in Lauderdale.
At some point L.C. and the three older children united with the Elizabeth Baptist Church in Lauderdale, MS, where he was a devoted trustee and active in the church. He was also a Mason. L.C.made a nice life for his family during the early years. He was a self made man, a good provider, a man of many talents, he was a farmer, a hunter, a logger and entrepreneur. The family, moved to Toomsuba, MS, to their newly built home with indoor plumbing in 1966. They eventually got a washing machine with a ringer, but the clothes still had to be hung on the line to dry.Before that, clothes were cleaned by hand in a black cast iron wash-pot with a rub-board, and rinsed in a metal tub.
In addition to his full time job at Lockheed/ Martin, he became a businessman who owned a bulldozer, tractor, bushhog, a five ton truck, trailer to haul the dozer, a log truck, and a trusty pickup truck; in addition to the family car, complete with an industrial sized gas task in the back yard. Many years later he owned a mobile home that was converted into a social club in Toomsuba.
With his wife as the dutiful homemaker the family flourished. Unsure if it was the love of the land or the desire to see things grow; L. C. planted acres of vegetables and produce Chris and the kids, when they were old enough (and often times neighbors) would either be planting, weeding, fertilizing, or harvesting the fresh food: peas, a variety of greens, lima beans, corn, potatoes (sweet and white), tomatoes, okra, squash, cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, and, of course, the Hill family staple, Peanuts! During harvest time if you came by the house, you would see freshly pulled peanut vines on the roof of the house to dry. Remember the farmer? He even had a goat. Yup.While, raising cows, hogs and chickens, the family usually went to the store, only for flour, milk, sugar, seasonings and sometimes for a variety in meat,but for the most part, L.C. lived by his hands. He would hunt and fish and owned the associated equipment. He gathered, and Chris and the kids would prepare or cook whatever game he brought whether it was squirrels, rabbits; deer and wild turkeys. Canning and freezing food was a big deal back then, he had his own smoke house. He built a huge stationary brick barbecue pit in the front yard and during the 4th of July he and some close friends (DoWee and Will Smith) would roast a hog (that he raised,butchered and cleaned). He put a cot beside the pit so the meat could be turned during the night. After the hog was done, for the next few days, the yard was teeming with visitors and relatives coming to get a barbecue sandwich, crackling or chitterlings.
Employment at Lockheed offered the family company picnics and holiday parties. And they vacationed. One early trip was to the coast to see Major, Jr. and his family (Mildred, Deborah, Carol (deceased) and Alvin in Gulfport, and another time the family visited relatives in Laurel (both cities in MS). He did like to keep in touch with his older relatives who were nearby.These cousins also came up to Toomsuba a time or two. Alvin spent a few summers at the house, getting in trouble with Louis, Milton and Jack.
L.C. documented the early family memories with a Polaroid camera. This exposure was the initiation to his girls’passion for photography. Lora owns a photography studio and printing business. Pat and his granddaughters, Tamecisha and Erica can hold their own behind a camera as well. With his many skills, he taught his boys the value of hard work and showed them how to build things, to drive big trucks, tractors and live off the land.The big truck experience must have rubbed off as Louis and his wife, Tracy, are Over-The-Road Truck drivers;
who are affectionately known as “Team Total”. Louis and Milton also owned Hill Brothers Logging at one time which operated out of Cuba.
With the 4 older children grown, the marriage dissolved, and at the encouragement of his sisters ‘Babe’ and Allie Maude he moved to Des Moines, IA, leaving his country life behind. However, he did not leave his love of “collecting” odd and ends behind. He got an apartment and was living the city life as a bachelor. His need for ‘stuff’ was sometimes an issue for him and city officials. He was no stranger with the law, as he did like to grow things in unusual places. Yup.He was as ornery as he was eccentric. But nonetheless, he existed by his own standards. Oftentimes he was long winded and repeated himself, but in recent years he was more relaxed, mellow and in good spirits, with a touch of grouchy; but that’s to be expected when you’re 86!
Uncle L. C. was quite the character. He always wore a ball cap, khaki’s and a button down shirt. The shirt pocket normally held his glasses and an ink pen that he rarely used. He sometimes had an unusual item hanging out of that shirt pocket, too, like a spoon for example. Occasionally his pants were fastened with a sock or simply held up by a belt when he couldn’t fasten the pants. Yup.He had nice clothes but he wasn’t one for dressing up unless he was going to church or a formal event. As the oldest living patriarch, he has ‘stood in the gap’ for two nieces (Deborah and Anita Smith Buchanan) and walked them down the aisle. Babe and L.C. were both in Pennsylvania to give away their niece, Deborah (Hill), she and her husband Ronald Bryant still live in Maryland.
Another trip the brother and sister took together was to the military retirement ceremony of his daughter, Patricia, at Naval Air Station Meridian, MS in 2002. In his heyday, on Sunday mornings, L.C. had brightly shined shoes (polished by one of the kids of course) a fresh haircut, that he and the boys got on Saturday mornings at Mr. Serton’s house in Lauderdale, a suit and a crisp white handkerchief. (In recent years he still carried the hankie). Everyone piled in the car, a green Oldsmobile, and went to church. Afterwards they would sometimes visit his in-laws or other relatives in Alabama.
As his health began to fade he resided with his sister, Babe. They coexisted until he needed more personal care and he was placed in the Fleur Heights Nursing home in Des Moines. He spent his autumn years under the watchful eye of the staff and his niece “Sandy Ann” Smith; who held it all together.
Recollections of his childhood years departed with the passing of his 14 siblings and parents. Preceding him in death were eight brothers, Aaron, Major Jr, Arthur, Roosevelt, Johnnie C, Leo, twins, Zeno and Denmo; six sisters: Roseanna, Adline, Arsenia, Kathleen, Fannie Bell, and Allie Maude Overstreet.
While not much is known about his childhood and early years, what we do know is that L.C. was a self-made man. Without any formal education or training he was self-taught. Whatever he got out of life, he invested in himself and made things happen. While he was ‘making himself’, he made his children into what they are as well; the good, the bad, the ugly and the indifferent. There’s no denying his influence on their lives and personalities. Mary Lee Smith, Babe, of Des Moines, IA is his last living sibling(she will be 89 in November 2020). L. C. and
Baby Sister have lived long and full lives with some of their lasting memories under the same roof. In recent years, Sandy, Babes youngest daughter, has been the primary caregiver for these two seniors. They were always surrounded by family but in every generation there is ‘the one’ who always seems to step up. THANK YOU! SANDY, and the midwest family (Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa), for looking out for ‘Uncle L’ when he first moved to Des Moines in the 20+ years since; your downsouth cousins appreciate ya’ll. (He had good times at Nell’s house one summer. The gang was all there (Allie was still alive) along with a cookout, libations, and lots of pictures).
Uncle was not always easy to deal with, but you all ‘made it work’. For the southern family (Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia) that Archangel is Shannon. She and Sandy, with their nurturing spirits, have kept in touch and kept things on track for Allen, the nickname from his kids.Three children also preceded him: a son, Milton J. Hill (2016), and the oldest and youngest daughters, Geraldine “Gerri” Little-Hill (2011) and Terri Denise Hill (2008). Their mother, Christine, departed this earth in (March 2018). He was also preceded in death by his grandson, (LaWillie “Duke” Little To carry on his ancestry are three sons: Louis (Tracy) Hill and LaTravis Hill of Cuba, Alabama and “Sonny Boy” Cooper; Four daughters: Patricia Hill in Little Rock and Lora (Jerry) Jones of El Dorado, Arkansas; Shannon Hill of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Diane Jackson of Lauderdale, Mississippi. Sixteen Grand Children: Christy HillDavis, Markeeta Lake, MarkezHill, all three of Cuba; Tywanda L. (Will) Thacker, Fairburn, Georgia; Tamecia L. (Malcolm) Abrams of Tuscaloosa, Latoria (Sedrick) Ruffin-Russell of York, Alabama; LaKeisha R. (Emmanuel) Barber of Reno, Nevada; Dr. LaBarron K. Hill of Durham, North Carolina; Earl M. (Amanda) Singleton of Little Rock; Erica M. Singleton of Los Angeles, Bryan A.L. Hill of Fredericksburg, Virginia; Thomas K. Turner and Victoria S. Turner both of Tuscaloosa, Travisia A. Hill of Meridian, MS, Terrance ‘Alex’ Hill, of Poplarville, MS, and Carson Robinson of Tennessee; eight Great-Grands, Creshanna Hill, Joshua Savoy, Bryson Thacker, Daimya Lake, Reaynundo Lake, Kingston Lake, Ethan Barber, Eli Barber and Five Great-Great
Grandchildren: Kaitlyn, Kameron, Kourtney, and the newest additions Serenity Abrams born January 1, 2020, and Zoe Noelle Singleton arrived May 18, 2020 plus five furry grand-dogs: Omega Prince, King Cole, Sir Bandit, Princess Amora and Apollo Creed. (ALL of these are owned by Shannon). The Smith and Hills families love dogs. L.C.’s first family dog was a terrier named Pootsie. She lived a long time.
Relatives and friends, nieces, nephews and acquaintances, too numerous to name,from Alaska to Maryland,will long remember him. He was a kind soul (to most), with a tempered spirit and misunderstood views to others.
God has not said Life’s patterns is one we’ll understand
But he promised He will keep us in the hollow of His hands!
He has not promised days serene And free from all alarms
But he’s said that underneath us Are“The everlasting arms!”
God has not promised mountain heights As on through life we go
But he’s promised to be with us In the valleys dark and low!
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