Reverend Cora Elizabeth Hill, affectionally known to many as "Bess", was born June 26, 1929 to Mr. John Henry Hill and Mrs. Austine Leslie Hill, in Dade City, Florida. At an early age, Bess confessed her life to Christ and joined Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church, Dade City. She completed both elementary and high school at Moore Academy in Dade City; and she received a B. S. Degree in Elementary Education at Morris Brown College, Atlanta, Georgia and a Certification in Special Education at North Carolina College, Durham, North Carolina. Bess had an adventurous spirit and zest for learning; and she enjoyed teaching her elementary, special education, and adult education students. Because of her thirst for knowledge and desire to educate, inspire, and help formulate the minds of her students, she taught school for 36 years in Pasco County at Moore-Mickens and Lacoochee Elementary. Also, she was nominated three times by her peers as Teacher of the Year; she served as the first and only African-American President of the Pasco Teachers Association, and she served on the Dade City Historic Preservation Advisory Board. In addition to these accomplishments, Bess also was: A faithful lifetime member and servant of Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church in Dade City; and a dedicated member of the Golden Girls Craft Group; An ordained minister from the Orlando Florida Conference under the direction of Bishop Cousins; An Associate Pastor at Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church in Dade City; The loyal founder of the Beta Sigma Chapter of Alpha Pi Chi Sorority, a local service Sorority; A member of Delta Gamma International, Lily White Lodge, #24 J. K. Court of Heroines, at which she served as Most Ancient Matron; and a member of the African-American Heritage Society of East Pasco County, Inc. Bess was a very kind-hearted and generous person, she adored teaching her amazing students; and she loved her home town of Dade City, her family, and Mt. Zion A. M. E Church as well. But most of all, she cherished and prized her very special relationship with God. She loved the Lord Jesus Christ with all of her heart. Bess was also very proud of her family heritage and she was extremely loyal to her family roots. She was so happy to be a descendent of the Hill and Leslie families. One of her favorite pastimes was attending the biennial “Leslie, Garlington, Hoard” Family Reunion, held in various locations throughout the country. She was always so delighted to meet her family members and get to know them. Bess had a strong sense of devotion to her family; and she was preceded in death by her parents, brothers, Peter, Clifford, James, Theodore, and Lewis; and her sisters, Katherine, Meriel, and Norma. She leaves to cherish her precious memories: her sister, Dorothy Johnson, Tampa, and her special children she raised as her own; Hershel Craig, Noel Craig, and Alisha Reed, all of Dade City and Loretta Yvonne Stoudemire (Clark), Prattville, Alabama. Nieces: Clemonstine Blanford, Spring Hill, Florida, Angela Pierre-Charles (Luke), Audrey Cooper, Sandra Fields, all of Dade City, Martha Ann Magno (Carl), Melbourne, Florida, Kristen Hill, Tampa, and Debbie Craig, Gainesville, Florida; Nephews: Clifford Hill (Joan), Milton, Florida, Larry Hill, Long Beach, California, Ronald Southward (Shawn), Frank Cooper, and Michael Charles Cooper, all of Dade City, Reginald Southward (Kathy), Georgia, and a host of grand nieces and nephews, great-grand nieces and nephews, and cousins. She will also be truly missed by her many wonderful friends, her daughter in Christ, Minister Carolyn Smith, her very lovely Christian sisters, Mrs. Rebecca Mitchell and Mrs. Margaret Smith—Scipio, her beautiful Sorors of Alpha Pi Chi Sorority, and her loving Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church family.
*Due to the Conoravirus pandemic, all services will institute the CDC guidelines throughout the duration of the Visitation, Funeral, Graveside, or Memorial services. Masks must be worn during every Visitation, Funeral, Graveside, or Memorial service, this assures that everyone is safe. We also ask that everyone practice social distancing at all times. If you are attending a public graveside service, we ask that you bring your own chair and provide your own water bottle, should you need either of the two. We thank you in advance for your cooperation!
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