On August 9, 2021, in the early morning hours before the beginning of the work week, Mary Ann Hill, loving wife and mother of two children joined the love of her life Bill who had preceded her to heaven to rejoice with her Lord and Savior Christ Jesus.
Mary was born on May 8, 1935, to Andrew J. and Lillian (Duncan) Garner in San Gabriel, Texas.
She was the second youngest of nine children born to a tenant farmer in a conservative home. Attended the First Baptist Church of San Gabriel every Sunday.
She said her Father took them to church and her mother stayed home to have Sunday dinner prepared for them.
Her Mother being a seamstress made sure they had nice clothes to wear and polished their shoes with biscuits, an unintended consequence being that the files usually liked their shoes and followed them around. They could invite or go to one of their many cousins for the day. Her favorite was to go to Aunt Bessie and have ice cream made in a refrigerator. They played house in the cane stalks that made a private tent.
Being the tomboy of the family of two boys and seven girls, Mary usually did not want dolls for Christmas but did enjoy giving her younger sister Lucy’s dolls haircuts or operations to see why they cried. She learned to be competitive at an early age because she was allowed to drive the John Deere tracker to the gin if she picked 100 pounds of cotton in a single day.
She accomplished this goal at age 6.
Going to college as a first-generation student on a basketball scholarship she met the love of her life Bill Dale Hill in Clarendon, Texas, where he was a high school student. Once he saw this junior college beauty, he started showing off to her by doing tricks on the trampoline while she was teaching a class. They were married on January 5, 1956, in San Gabriel, Texas. They were a dynamic couple never apart from each other for 62 years until Bill passed away in 2017.
Mary received her B.S. from WTSU in 1962 and her M.Ed. from WTSU in 1968. She was a tenured college professor at WT teaching Kinesiology.
Mary also started and coached Women’s Track and Field and Women’s Softball at WT as there were no women’s collegiate sports. She felt it was important to have these as it allowed women to compete and then become coaches themselves once they graduated and help them secure jobs in the high schools of the Texas Panhandle. Mary also taught outdoor recreation which became useful as she and Bill ran a private summer camp in the mountains of New Mexico for 14 years and all of the counselors were former students of this class who had been observed and graded unbeknownst to them. Everything Mary did she did with purpose. When once being interviewed for an article, she was asked if she experienced any challenges as a female as she advanced in her career. She stated that when she was 50 and was asked by the President of the University to become the Chief Student Affairs Officer/ Dean of Students it was an honor, and she took the position and gave it her best. Mary started many programs that are today still being replicated across the United States in Universities one being Peer Educators. However, when she retired, they immediately made the position Vice-President of Student Affairs with a $10,000 increase. Most would be incensed, Mary said I loved my position and was not in the position for the money or title but for the impact I hope to make on the students I had the opportunity to work with. In that same interview, the question of wish to share in regards of “I wish someone would have told me?” her response was “Someone DID tell me. I always felt the Holy Spirit led me and I would say, ‘listen to every small nudge’ to make the very best decisions you can make in life, and you will have peace and happiness.”
Mary is predeceased by her husband Bill Dale Hill, her father Andrew Jackson Garner, mother Lillian (Duncan) Garner, brothers Clifford Duncan Garner; Andrew Jackson Garner Jr; Sisters; Verna Jo Malone; Evelyn E. Adams: Lillian L. Stiles; Bobbye Treuthardt.
She is survived by her sisters Doris Haepp; Lucy Bess Ditmore. Mary is also survived by her daughter Phyllis Ann Clary and husband Charles, son Dr. Trent Hill and wife Carole. Her grandchildren Reed Jeffery Redus (wife Amy), Major Riley John Redus, U.S. Army, John Wayne Hill (wife Megan), Alex Clary, Naudia Vasquez, and Nikolaus Roark and great-grandchildren, Noah and Emmarie Redus, Sierra, Ella, and Caleb Redus, Ryan, Jace and Riker Hill, Lauren Clary.
Mary will be forever remembered by her large and loving family and innumerable former students, athletes and campers.
Viewing will be available from Noon-8:00 P.M., Tuesday, August 10, 2021, at Boxwell Brothers Funeral Home, 2800 Paramount Blvd., Amarillo, Texas.
Services will be held at First Baptist Church Amarillo on Wednesday, August 11, 2021, at 10:30 am in the Chapel. And Friday, August 13, 2021, at First Baptist Church Canyon Lake, Texas at 10:00 am.
Graveside following at Fischer Cemetery, Fischer Tx.
In lieu of flowers, the Family suggests that memorial contributions be sent to the Bill and Mary Hill Scholarship Fund at West Texas A&M University. Or to a charity that benefits young people as this was Mary’s passion.