• 52°

Marie Hill turns 100 years young

On Feb. 22, Marie Hill will turn 100 years old, but she remembers segments of her life like it was yesterday.

Hill is a native to the historic Hobson village in the Crittenden area.

Living during segregation, Hill was only able to go through the seventh grade at a Suffolk grammar school. There, she was second in her class when it came to reading, writing and arithmetic.

At the age of 16, Marie Hill married her husband Earnest Hill Jr., who passed away in 1999 after 65 years of marriage. Together they have nine children, 56 grandchildren, 45 great-grandchildren, 20 great-great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-great-grandchildren. When they married, they received the deed to the house that Hill still lives in today and has been in their family for generations.

Marie Hill never worked outside the home, but spent her time being a housewife and raising nine children. After years of making sure her children were educated, she decided to go back to school and get her GED. After three years of hard work, retaking tests and never giving up, Hill received her GED at the age of 92.

“If I can do it at my age, anyone can too,” said Hill. “It’s never too late.”

Now, Hill wants to tell her story and inspire others to pursue their education.

Hill says her secret to living a long and full life is prayer and faith. This is reflected in her life that was full of activism.

Hill remembers segregation and the time she traveled with her husband to New Jersey on a Greyhound bus and was forced to sit in the back.

In 1963, when integration came to Nansemond County Public Schools, Marie Hill was among the first parents to send their children to the newly integrated Chuckatuck Elementary School.

Now, Hill likes to spend her days reading her Bible as well as romance novels. Her favorite author is Danielle Steele.

“Every morning, she wakes up and asks me what the agenda is today,” said her daughter, Mary Hill. “I’m always telling her that there’s nothing on the agenda today. She can just relax.”

For those who would like to wish her a happy birthday, a drive-through birthday parade will start at 2 p.m. Feb. 20. The parade route will begin at Hudgins Circle, then go onto Macedonia Avenue and past her home at 8316 Crittenden Road. Due to the weather, she will stay inside by the window, so participants are encouraged to honk their horns. The family will be out with a table for cards and gifts. Folks can also mail a card or gift to P.O. Box 6008, Suffolk, VA 23433.

“We are hoping to get over 100 cards,” said Mary Hill. “She loves to read and will read each and every one of them.”