On April 28 our mother, Mae Hillyer (Mae Mae), passed away at the age of 102+ and fell into the arms of our father, Oscar (Poppy) after 85 years of marriage.
She was raised in Beaumont and he lived in Sour Lake. They met at a high school football game where she was a cheerleader. She captivated him and a year later they were married. A fairy tale with a storybook ending.
Dad moved up from the oilfields in south Texas to a management position and they settled in garden oaks, in Houston. He retired and they moved to their bay home in Smith Point and later to Anahuac where they spent over 25 additional years together.
They were children of the “greatest generation” living through the Depression and World War II with the hardships that built character, which included thankfulness for what you have. And they paid it forward.
We were so fortunate to have them as parents. They surrounded us with the things in life that are truly meaningful, like family, friends, faith, integrity, helping others, and most of all love. Wherever they were they were active in leadership roles in the Methodist church and in volunteer work for the community. Chairman of the board, president of the Methodist Women and MYF sponsors to name a few. They instilled in us the important values of a good life and set our moral compass.
They loved to entertain and feed their friends with fish, shrimp, and oysters. A testament to living a long life on fried foods and margaritas. We will miss the gumbo, and her picking out crab meat for the grandchildren. That followed by the best home-made cobbler with fresh dewberries she helped the kids pick. And after cleaning up after the grandchildren in the kitchen several times, announcing “the kitchen is closed!!”.
She was an avid reader and master seamstress, making clothes for us as we grew up and later for the grandkids. Together she and dad were a team, making crafts out of almost thin air for the benefit of the debt on the Methodist Center. He made them and she painted them.
If you are lucky, your parents, like ours, became your good friends after our childhood. And we shared them with our friends, who enjoyed them.
And our children loved them. A summer month at the bay fishing, crabbing, and playing games was heaven to them.
Dad was very much the extrovert and sometimes overshadowed mother, but after he died in 2002, mother, to our surprise blossomed as a woman of her own, independent, with a strong will, but still with a gentle hand. She was never a complainer or yielded to self-pity, but just kept on keeping on as a positive person. That eighteen years allowed us to know her better and appreciate her more.
They loved each other, their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren—and the Astros. She once told me that she dreamed about dad every night after he was gone. Wow!
Again, we were lucky to have them and now with all of their many friends and family, many of which have also passed, we celebrate their life.
It is an end to an era.
The kitchen is now closed.
Thank you, Lord, for giving them to us.
Eddie and Dick
We felt that it is proper to write a tribute to both in celebration of their lives, knowing that with the current virus situation an open celebration is not possible at this time. If you care to make a contribution, please make it to a charity that is helping through the current medical crisis. They would like that.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mae Hillyer, please visit our floral store.