Jimmie Lee Messer Hilburn passed away peacefully at her home in Hatch on Aug. 16, 2012. Jimmie was a much loved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend. Those whose lives were touched by her will greatly miss her and will cherish fond memories of a gracious, cheerful and caring woman. Jimmie was born June 4, 1928 in Oakdale, Louisiana and grew up in Groves, Texas. She married O.L. "Von" Hilburn in 1947 and they started their 65 years of married life in Lovington, N.M. Jimmie would fondly recall stories about those early years, raising her first two daughters in a tiny little farmhouse with no running water or electricity, bathing in a tin tub, washing her hair at the pump outside and driving 30 miles once a week to do laundry. In 1953, with two little girls and a third on the way, Jimmie and Von packed everything in a '51 Mercury, a farm truck and a cotton trailer and moved to Bowie, Arizona. The early years of farming in Bowie were challenging, but Jimmie and Von made many life-long friends, had their fourth daughter and made a very good life for their family. Jimmie was active in the Methodist church, The Lions Club women's Auxiliary and driving her daughters the 30 miles to Willcox for clubs, piano lessons, dance lessons and many other activities to enrich their lives. In 1966, Jimmie and Von moved their family to Hatch, N.M. to start farming and ranching in the Las Uvas Valley. Jimmie made many good friends and became active in the Church of God, Hatch Farm Bureau, Hatch Book Club and Hatch Community Choir. In 1971, the first of Jimmie's seven grandchildren was born, and they became a centerpiece of her life the same way she was a central part of their lives. In 2006, great-grandchildren started arriving. There would be six at the time of her passing. Jimmie loved making a warm and welcoming home for family and friends. She took joy from her rose garden and loved collecting dolls. Holidays were always special to Jimmie. Her Fourth of July celebrations were legendary, with great food and exciting fireworks. At Halloween, she loved decorating and especially enjoyed handing out treats to the town children. Christmas was her special time with family and she would decorate and bake up a storm. Jimmie enjoyed traveling around the country and the world with her friends, but especially her grandchildren. Jimmie is survived by her husband, Von Hilburn, her daughters Frances Horton of Hatch, Patricia Hilburn of San Diego, California, Virginia Compton of Mesa, Arizona and Kathy Sulkowski of Tucson, Arizona. Her grandchildren are Sharla Hilburn, Loren Horton, Mitch Horton, Leslie Mehigan, Vaughn Compton, Ben Compton and Barrett Sulkowski. Her great-grandchildren are Hailey, Presley, Cade, Emma, Kate, and Ethan. Her sister Sarah Hammett is now living in South Dakota and her many nieces and nephews live in south Texas. Jimmie is preceded in death by her parents Rhoda and John, her sisters Clotilde and Lucille and her brother Shannon. Visitation will be Sunday from 2 – 5 p.m. at La Paz-Graham Funeral Home, Las Cruces, NM. The funeral services will be held Monday at 5 p.m. at the Hatch Baptist Church.
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Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on Aug. 18, 2012