HILL, Elizabeth Graham|
Elizabeth Graham Hill, 89, of Houston died peacefully at home on Sunday, the 1st June 2014, surrounded by her family. Known as Elizabeth Ann and Bitsy to her many friends, as Bissy to her ten grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren, and as Miss Elizabeth to hundreds in the prison ministry she served, Elizabeth was born on the 12th of July 1924, in Olney, Texas, to Roy Jewel Graham and Ruby Andrews Graham. When asked about his having only one child, her father replied, "When you start with perfection, what more is there?"
Elizabeth Ann lived on the family ranch in Anarene, Texas, before moving to Olney, Texas, where her father worked in banking and the oil business and was elected Mayor. She graduated from Olney High School, where she was selected Most Popular Girl, Band Sweetheart, and State Champion in Declamation. Elizabeth Ann attended Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, making the Dean's List, before transferring to the University of Texas at Austin. There she pledged Chi Omega, studied Social Science, and fell in love with her future husband, John Hill.
No one had more fun or made more friends at the University of Texas than Bitsy. Her dance card was always filled. She forged a lifelong bond with her sorority sisters who held annual retreats for more than fifty years. Friendships made during her early years of marriage to John remained vibrant throughout her life. Old friends and new friends all claimed to be her very best friends. Bitsy wholeheartedly agreed and loved them all.
A recalcitrant "political wife," Bitsy threw herself into that role during John's years in politics, and the people of Texas took her into their hearts. With a poised, easy-going manner and terrific sense of humor, Bitsy supported John, and he relied on her judgment and guidance throughout their marriage. Bitsy never sought nor wanted the limelight, but due to her grace, humility, and beauty, it always found her.
Community service was important to Bitsy. She accepted leadership roles in every organization to which she belonged in both Houston and Austin, including the Chi Omega Alumnae Club, the Blue Bird Circle, the Settlement Club and the River Oaks Rose Club. Along with her dear friend Jody Tomforde, Bitsy welcomed the Young Life youth ministry to Houston in 1965 (and later to Austin in 1967) by opening her home to its first meetings. Always loyal to UT, she fervently followed Longhorn football and served on the University of Texas's Committee of 125 and School of Education Advisory Council.
She also was an active member of St. Luke's United Methodist Church. When she was over 80 years old, she completed the 50 hours of training to become a Stephen Minister. Perhaps no volunteer work was more meaningful to Miss Elizabeth than her service with InnerChange Freedom Initiative. She served as a mentor to inmates, whom she affectionately referred to as "my guys." As recently as the 26th of April 2014, Miss Elizabeth attended an IFI graduation, proudly congratulating and dancing with her guys.
Faith, family, and friends were central to Bissy's life. She and John enjoyed 63 years of marriage and spent as much time as they could with family at the Double L Ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas. Bissy was a wonderful listener and savored every detail of each interesting life. She had a unique and special relationship with each family member. Bissy also had a special talent for interior decorating and took great delight in helping with family moves. Packing and unpacking boxes, wiping down shelves, and hanging pictures during each move, Bissy left family members with great appreciation and sweet memories.
Elizabeth was preceded in death by her parents and by her beloved husband, Judge John Hill. She is survived by her three children and their spouses: Melinda Hill Perrin and husband Mike; John Graham Hill and wife Lindy; and Justice Martha Hill Jamison and husband Bruce K.; and her ten grandchildren and their families: Elizabeth Perrin Eades and husband, Jonathan, children, Oliver, Lilla, and George; Carter Perrin and wife, Lizzy, children Grace and Eliza; Hunter Perrin and wife Mary Bonner; John Hill and wife Maria, children Jackson and Cecilia; Peter Hill and wife Kelly, son Peter Ryan; Taylor Hill Bawcom and husband, Clint, children Emmy and Bo; Bo Hill; Matt Clark; Meredith Clark; and Sam Jamison.
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from five o'clock in the afternoon until seven o'clock in the evening on Thursday, the 5th of June in the library and grand foyer of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston.
A memorial service is to be conducted at two o'clock in the afternoon on Friday, the 6th of June, in the Fellowship Hall of St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 3471 Westheimer Road in Houston, where Dr. Tom Pace, Senior Pastor is to officiate.
(Kindly note: There will be ample self-parking for guests in St. Luke's parking lot, but for those who desire, valet parking will be provided at the Westheimer Road and Edloe Street Entrance).
Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception to be held at the River Oaks Country Club.
Prior to the service, the family will have gathered for a private interment at Glenwood Cemetery.
Should friends desire, memorial contributions may be sent to St. Luke's United Methodist Church Stephen Ministry, 3471 Westheimer, Houston, Texas 77027, or InnerChange Freedom Initiative, 2 Jester Unit, Richmond, Texas 77409.
Bitsy would never miss an opportunity, even this one, to ask "Have you met Jesus my Lord?"
Published in Austin American-Statesman from June 4 to June 5, 2014