William Edward Foley and Maidie M. Marshburn welcomed Seawillow Edwina Foley on Feb. 14, 1920. She was born in Bronson, Texas - a John Henry Kirby Lumber Co. sawmill town. Her grandfather was the mill manager, her Aunt Mary worked in the commissary, and her father was a clerk in the payroll department. As the sawmills cut out the lumber trees, they would move the mill, machine shops and resident housing to the next town. The final town for the lumber company was Silsbee, Texas.
Seawillow’s school years were spent in Silsbee. She graduated from Silsbee High School in 1938, after completing 11 years of schooling. She was Football Sweetheart her freshman and senior years. She played tennis and baseball. Her favorite teacher was Mary Ruth Holmes from Temple, Texas. When Ms. Holmes would buy new shoes, Seawillow would break them in for her.
After high school she attended St. Joseph School of Nursing in Houston, Texas. She completed two years, but had to leave due to a serious illness and surgery. She then attended Chenier Business College. After graduating, she went to work for Charles F. Young, the Operating Manager for Kirby Lumber Co.
In 1938 she married Ernest Carroll “Nick” Hill. They made their home in Beaumont, Texas. World War II interrupted their lives - Nick served in Germany for four years as a paratrooper in the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions and Seawillow lived with her parents and worked for Kirby Lumber Co.
In 1962, she moved to Sinton, Texas. While there, she worked in the County Clerk’s office and as the secretary to Sheriffs Homer Hunt and Wayne Hitt. She organized San Patricio County’s first probation department.
She raised three children. And was known as “Big Mama” to her seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. To them, she was sugar cubes in a dish on the lazy susan, made from scratch chicken and dumplings, The National Enquirer, Guiding Light, a little coffee with a whole lot of Italian Sweet Cream creamer, pine trees, Hershey’s minis, bread and butter pickles, selflessness, and absolute, unwavering support for her family. No questions asked. A long drive on many weekends to check on a grandson, a car or house payment or groceries when money was tight, a promise to raise your children if you couldn’t, countless bowls of Wilderness Hash after school - we asked and she never hesitated.
She taught us to love trees, plants, and even cactus; how to be selfless and care for others; to put family first. She has given us invaluable lessons and stories only a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother can provide. We are so lucky to have had her for so long.
Then, on July 6th, after 100 years and five months of giving, she went to be with the love of her life.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, E. C. “Nick” Hill; son, Charles Ernest Hill; and son-in-law, Robert J. King.
Survivors include her children, Amelia Sue King of Houston, Carolyn Preston and husband, Jack L. of Wylie; daughter-in-law, Charlotte Hill of New Braunfels; grandchildren and their spouses, Sunny and Chad Lucas of Lufkin, Randy and Jane Preston of Wylie, Matt and Melissa Preston of Austin, Charles King of Conroe, Lee King of Houston, Dee and Ubalda Hill of New Braunfels, Joey and Stacy Hill of Seguin; 10 great-grandchildren; and niece, Candi Hill Lacy of Richmond.
The family would like to express their sincere appreciation to the staff of Pine Crest Retirement Community and Hospice in the Pines.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Memories and condolences may be added at carrowayfuneralhome.com. Carroway Funeral Home, Lufkin, directors.