Minnie Hill, Driving Force in San Antonio’s NAACP Branch, Dies at 74

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Minnie Hill bows her head as a prayer is said. Photo by Scott Ball.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

Minnie Mabry Hill passed away on May 4, 2018. In this 2015 photo, she bows her head in prayer during an event.

On Thursday afternoon, local and national NAACP leaders saluted Minnie Mabry Hill and her husband, Oliver, with a standing ovation for bringing the organization’s 109th convention to San Antonio this July – the first time the city has hosted the annual event.

Minnie Hill served as the local branch’s chair of the convention, but she was too ill to attend the event.

“She’s in transition,” Oliver Hill told the Rivard Report at the event Thursday, holding back tears.

After suffering a series of strokes since 2013, Minnie Hill passed away early Friday morning. She was 74.

Described by her husband as a native San Antonian, she was born in 1943. The couple was married July 31, 1964, at the San Antonio West End Baptist Church.

A driven and diligent civil servant, Minnie Hill never let anything slow her down, her husband said, recalling how she gave him tasks to complete while she was in a hospital recovering from a stroke in November 2017.

“That’s the kind of person she was,” he said. “She always wanted to make sure everything was done decently and in order.”

Hill is survived by her husband; children Oliver Wendell Jr., Caron Susann Jackson, and Shannon Diane Simpson; and grandchildren Hannah Marie-Caron Simpson and Jillian Elessee Simpson, according to the San Antonio Branch of the NAACP.

“Our community was blessed by Mrs. Minnie Mabry Hill’s presence and leadership,” Councilman Cruz Shaw (D2) said Friday. “We are hurting today, but we must stay strong for Mr. Hill and for their children and grandchildren. Mrs. Hill’s passion for serving our community and her fearless advocacy on behalf of the NAACP will live on forever. We are lifting up her family and friends in prayer.”

Despite San Antonio’s relatively small black population, less than 7 percent, the San Antonio branch of the NAACP is one of the most “active” and engaged in the nation, said Leon Russell, chairman of the NAACP’s board of directors, on Thursday.

Russell attributed the selection of the Alamo City for the 2018 convention, which is also the 100th anniversary of the local chapter’s founding, largely to Minnie Hill.

“Let’s do this for Minnie,” he said.

Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert (Pct. 4) remembered her as an elegant woman.

“Her spirit is going to shine over that convention,” Calvert said. “I also think that she is just a good human role model. She was kind. She had integrity. She was a person who loved her family and took care of her family and her community. … She’s had a life well lived and a lot of adoring fans and friends who will miss her.”

Calvert said he last saw her during a recent centennial celebration of the local NAACP branch at St. Paul United Methodist Church.

“She was a big part of that celebration,” he said. “She was dealing with her health issues but she was still standing. She went strong for her community to the very end and we appreciate her.”

Hill’s husband said she had more than just an eye for her own style. She would buy and pick clothes for him to wear so that he always represented his public position properly.

“She kept me shipshape, believe you me,” he said.

She also was involved with the PALS Social Club in San Antonio. Founded in 1925, the organization serves as a way to mentor black youth with an annual Debutante Presentation Ball.

The Hills would go bowling together when they were younger, Oliver Hill said, but his wife’s true love was for tennis. She played regularly at the Fairchild Tennis Courts.

San Antonio NAACP Chapter President Oliver Hill during the meeting discussing the future of Ella Austin Community Center.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

San Antonio NAACP Chapter President Oliver Hill (left) sits next to his wife and NAACP convention Chair Minnie Hill during a discussion about the Ella Austin Community Center in 2017.

“Minnie Hill’s dedication to the San Antonio Branch of the NAACP was extraordinary,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “She was truly inspirational and her determined fundraising produced results that improved our community in many ways. Our hearts and prayers go out to Oliver and their family.”

“Minnie Hill was an incredibly gracious woman,” City Manager Sheryl Sculley said. “We worked hard together to bring the NAACP conference to San Antonio, and I regret that she won’t be here to celebrate the fruits of our labor and the 100th anniversary of the local NAACP chapter.”

In lieu of flowers, Oliver Hill said, the community can make contributions in his wife’s memory to the San Antonio branch of the NAACP.

Funeral services will be held next week at the St. Paul United Methodist Church, her “home” church, he said.

12 thoughts on “Minnie Hill, Driving Force in San Antonio’s NAACP Branch, Dies at 74

  1. I enjoyed working with Mrs. Hill as a NAACP committee member. She was a tireless advocate for our community.

  2. Although I never met Mrs. Hill, I loved her through her beloved daughter Ms. Shannon Hill! Shannon Hill has blessed my life tremendously. I love her to life and my heart aches for her familie’s loss. Blessings to the Hill family…we are praying for strength during this difficult time 💙

  3. Minnie Hill will always be one of the best memories I hold in volunteering at the local NAACP chapter. Her gracious help and friendship to me are unforgettable. God bless her memory, and God bless her beloved husband Oliver and her descendants.

  4. I have only none the hills thought their daughter Ms Shannon hill but knowing her big heart and how much love she shares with the people around her I can only imagine the love her mother had to share with the people surrounding her. My heart hurts for Ms Shannon hill and her two daughters and the rest of the hill family. Rest in love

  5. Minnie inspired me to get involved in the NAACP Convention Committee to help with planning, fund raising and development. Her commitment was contagious and I found it difficult not to follow her lead and directions. I will always cherish our friendship.

  6. Dearest Family,

    Praying for the Lord’s hand to comfort you and give you peace. Love each of you and so thankful to have known Mrs. Minnie and to have called her my friend. Much love, Julie, Quad and Zachary

  7. Minnie Hill was our Michelle Obama, Maya Angelou, and made each person she came into contact with a better person … Minnie Hill was a role model of womanhood. The Bible defines her as Proverbs 31. I always admired how she stood with her husband every step of the way. It was her contagious smile that made you know everything would be alright. As she led the NAACP San Antonio Branch she was open minded to new approaches. Mrs. Hill is now resting in peace – she fought the good fight of faith. Her Legacy Is Left In Every Heart and Every Soul she touched. May God Bless her life and her family richly. LOVE!

  8. May Mrs Minnie Hill Rest In Peace as we pray for peace, hope and love we offer our sincere and deepest sympathy to Mr. Oliver Hill and Family! God bless you all!

  9. Minnie Mabry Hill was a vibrant force in the San Antonio community. She was socially aware and participated in many local civic efforts. She was a mentor to many, a loving person and my dear friend. My sympathy to her family.

  10. Minnie a dear friend and woman of God. We have had conversations and most were about love of God and love of family. We prayed with each other and knew the special place we had with each other. Minnie served this community well. Thanks Be To God for her life and legacy.

  11. Minnie was a proud Jefferson High School graduate and an even prouder Lasso. She served on the Lasso Alumni Association Board for several years as membership chair. She was a beautiful and gracious lady whose friendship I enjoyed as we worked together to mentor young ladies. The Lasso Alumni Association was blessed to have Minnie. Our sympathy to her family.

  12. To the family of Minnie Hill, the members of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc., Ruth Jones McClendon Section thank you for sharing Minnie with us. She was joy to be around, she laughed and lived life. We were blessed to have her attend our March 2018 Section meeting. She looked beautiful!

    Our love and prayers to you, may God provide the continued strength he has already given you!

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