Educator and Former First Lady of Pink Hill
Pink Hill – Edna Marie Thornton Hill, age 92 died peacefully on July 27, 2019. Mrs. Hill was born at home in Newton Grove, NC on September 21, 1926. Marie was the second child and the oldest daughter of Rossie Marion Thornton and Pearl Keen Thornton.
Marie was a role model for her siblings and her community. Piano lessons were paid for with milk and eggs from the family farm. As a pianist she accompanied the church choir and school events. At 16 years of age she graduated from Newton Grove High School as a class Salutatorian. Entering Atlantic Christian College at 16, she lived with a family and babysat their son in exchange for a room. She rode a bicycle fourteen blocks at 5:30 AM daily to begin serving in the college cafeteria at 6:00 AM to pay for tuition and meals. On Saturdays she worked at Belk’s to earn money for clothes and to purchase gifts for her siblings and parents.
One Sunday while in college a group of girls went for a picnic in the park. No one had remembered to bring a knife to cut the cake. A young man by the name of Ethro, who was visiting some girls from his hometown of Pink Hill, located a piece of string and began slicing the cake. Marie thought: “How resourceful he is”. He thought: “That certainly is a beautiful girl eating the cake I just cut.” Neither let the other know of their thoughts. He went away to war and the Navy. She continued her education and began her teaching career. Several trips across the ocean gave him time to think about future plans. Once World War II ended he returned to seek out that lovely young girl. The rest of the story is the history of their 65 years together.
At age 18, Marie began teaching at Lake Waccamaw High School. After three years teaching at Lake Waccamaw, to get nearer home she accepted a job as a 4th grade teacher in Harnett County at Angier Elementary School. Marie was an excellent and beloved teacher. Marie was an educator for 32 years with most of those years being in Lenoir County schools Pink Hill Elementary and Woodington Middle School. She was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma an honorary education society for women. She was an active member of NCAE, NEA, the Eastern Star, and the Salvation Army Auxiliary. For years, she was an active member of the Pink Hill United Methodist Church.
Mrs. Hill was First Lady of Pink Hill for ten years while her husband was Mayor. She was a charming hostess with a magic touch for perfection in most community events including hosting Governor Bob Scott.
She was a caring and dedicated sister and mother always assisting her siblings and children anyway she could. All who had the privilege of meeting Marie knew they were in the presence of someone special. Poor health for the last few years made her less productive, but she never lost that little spark in her eyes nor caring nature that touched so many. Her family and friends will miss her dearly.
Marie was predeceased by her loving husband Ethro Dail Hill. Marie is survived by her three sons, three grandsons and one granddaughter. Sons: Jeffrey Dail Hill and wife Neal of Greensboro, Tony Thornton Hill and wife Kim of Deep Run, Johnny Cecil Hill and wife Cindy of Clayton. Grandsons: Nathan, Jason and Eli Hill. Granddaughter Emma Marie Hill. She is survived by her brothers Wendell Thornton and wife Linda of Goldsboro, and Kenneth Thornton and wife Linda Joie of McLean, VA. By sister Sue Thornton Warren of Fayetteville. Two brothers Cecil and Richard Thornton and two sisters Jean Thornton Johnson and Carolyn Thornton Stone predeceased Marie. Her brother-in-law Art Stone of Raleigh and sister-in-law Hazel Thornton of Clinton also survive as well as 17 nieces and nephews that she loved and cared for deeply.
Services are scheduled for Thursday August 1st. Family will receive friends at Pink Hill United Methodist Church, 102 W Walnut St, Pink Hill, NC from 12:00 Noon – 1:00 PM. A funeral service will follow at 1:00 PM. Burial will follow immediately after the service in the Pinelawn Memorial Park, 4488 US Highway 70 W, Kinston, NC.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Pink Hill United Methodist Church, 313 North Central Avenue, Pink Hill, NC, 28572.
To send flowers to Marie's family, please visit our floral section.
Pink Hill United Methodist Church
313 N Central Ave., Pink Hill NC 28572