William “Billy” Henry Hitt
Published 11:15 am Friday, August 18, 2017
OXFORD — William Henry Hitt died on August 17, 2017, at his home in Oxford. He was born on August 9, 1929 in York, Alabama to Irene and Oscar Hitt, both of whom preceded him in death. He has one sister, Stella Hitt Harvell, of York, Alabama.
Billy graduated from Sumter County High School where he was a standout athlete and received a football scholarship to Ole Miss. He met and married Mary Helen Clift, originally from Tupelo, while both were students at Ole Miss. They were married for 64 years. Their devotion to each other was remarkable, and without a doubt, the care and love Mary Helen provided kept him going through many medical issues these last years.
Billy and Mary Helen have 3 children: Sandra Perkins (Lawrence) of Tupelo, Bill Hitt (Lori) of Pontotoc, and Helen Phillips of Oxford, and 3 grandchildren: Mary Clift Hitt Abdalla (Jerry) of Jackson, William “Collier” Phillips and Andrew “Drew” Clift Phillips of Oxford. They have one great granddaughter, Anne Simon “Sims” Abdalla of Jackson.
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Known as Billy to most, he was Mama Hitt to his closest college friends. There are many stories as to the origin of this nickname with each involving his football playing days at Ole Miss. While at Ole Miss, Billy played on the team that beat Maryland and the first Ole Miss team to play in the Sugar Bowl.
After graduation and marriage, Billy and Mary Helen settled in Aberdeen, MS where they raised their family and he owned the local Ford dealership. Aberdeen Motor Company, “the Ford place”, became the morning coffee spot for many local men. Numerous problems were solved and pranks planned and instigated around the old heater at the Ford place.
Billy was always involved in his church and community. He served as President of the Aberdeen Chamber
of Commerce, President of the Exchange Club, and was a longtime board member and President of the Aberdeen Monroe County Hospital. Throughout his life, he continued to enjoy his association with Ole Miss and the M Club, where he served as President.
In 1998, Billy and Mary Helen retired and moved to Oxford, where they were able to reconnect with old friends, attend Ole Miss events and be involved with their grandchildren’s lives. It was a great time for both of them.
Billy lived life to the fullest and had one speed, wide-open. He never met a stranger and would talk to anyone and everyone. He loved Mary Helen and told her that each day. He was immensely proud of his children, grandchildren, and great granddaughter and always told each of them how much he loved them. He played a vital role in each of his grandchildren’s lives, teaching them many lessons, most of which can’t be repeated. His greatest joy was having all of his family with him and he was so pleased with the close relationship they each share.
A private family burial will be held at Oxford Memorial cemetery. A memorial service will be held Monday, August 21, 2017, at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church at 4:00 p.m. with The Reverend Jody Burnette and The Reverend Ann Whitaker officiating. A reception to celebrate his life will be held in the church parish hall following the service beginning at 5:00 p.m. until.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Lovepacks, P.O. Box 721, Oxford, MS 38655 or to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 113 South 9th Street, Oxford, MS 38655.
For additional information or to sign an online guestbook, please visit our website at www.wallerfuneralhome. com or call 662-2347971.