Doris Thomas Hill, 67, passed on Friday, August 2, 2019, 5:15 p.m. at Baptist Memorial Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee with her dear sister and brother-in-law, Ruth and Mac McGhee at her bedside. Doris left her earthly tackle of heart disease and dreamwalked into heaven; not before she spent the day personally thanking family and the Baptist Cardio-Pulmonary Transplant Unit, and medical support staff for the lockstep effort they shared with her, since 2013 in her dogged fight with congestive heart failure. A native Memphian and granddaughter of Mississippi sharecroppers Albert Gales, Sr. and Armenthry Davis Gales, Doris was born September 21, 1951, 10:17 a.m. at John Gaston Hospital in Memphis, TN to the late Willie Thomas and the late Lucille Gales Thomas (Coffee). She was educated in Memphis City Public Schools, attended Lincoln Elementary/Jr. High and graduated from South Side High School in 1969 as a proud Scrapper. She attended the University of Memphis (Memphis State) and received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Personnel Management. Doris was the widow of Dr. Alfred DeWayne Hill, former pastor of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church and Adjunct Professor of Religion/Philosophy at LeMoyne Owen College. Her only son, Alfred DeWayne Hill, II, was the absolute jewel of his mother’s eyes from the day he entered the world and until the minute she departed. After her marriage to Dr. Hill in 1984, Doris joined Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church where she remained a devout member, serving the Lord under the current pastorate of Rev. Ashton Alexander until her death. She received her Christian imprint and upbringing in Morning View Baptist Church, Memphis, TN and was baptized at the age of nine by Rev. J. J. Reynolds. In her early faith walk at MVBC, Doris served in many capacities, including Sunday School teacher, Board of Christian Education, Financial Secretary and Trustee under the leadership of Rev. L. D. Wortham. Doris truly lived life to the fullest through her witness, advocating for the underserved and spending time with family and friends. She zealously loved God and loved family. Express a need and Doris delivered – friend or stranger. She enjoyed journaling, testing new dishes and traveling. Doris retired from her position as Senior Manager of Human Resources with KRAFT FOODS. Prior to joining KRAFT, Doris was employed with WELCOME WAGON INTERNATIONAL, INC., retiring after 26 years as Vice President of Human Resources. Doris’ proudest civic and community passion was ESPN (Education, Scholarship, Preparation, Nurture) Academy where she served as its Founder and President. For over 20 years, the Academy has provided a safe, structured, and nurturing after-school environment for inner-city and at-risk children, offering “Free” tutoring in math and language arts, life-skills coping, coaching initiatives and field trips. She also organized MENtor to pair ESPN Academy boys with men who provided one-on-one guidance in helping to nurture the boys into responsible adulthood. Doris inspired the staff and volunteers to “Change Lives…One Child at a Time.” Up to the very day of her death, her ongoing efforts to raise operating funds for the Academy allows the program to continue to make a positive difference, serving students from elementary, middle and high schools across the city. Doris was the consummate volunteer. Some examples of her service -- she served as Juvenile Court Auxiliary Probation Officer; sponsored ministry teams to Jamaica, Africa, and South America; sponsored teachers and medical missionary teams to Haiti; organized Sister-to-Sister to mentor women who are victims of domestic violence and abuse; delivered meals to homebound seniors through MIFA; organized “Christmas in July” for abused women and children; organized children’s underwear drives for Porter Leath Chilldren’s Center and collected money for disaster relief and homeless shelters. Doris received innumerable professional awards and community recognition for outstanding leadership. She also made history as the first African-American presentee of the Memphis Cotton Carnival’s Crown and Scepter Award and the first African-American to serve in senior management at Welcome Wagon. She was a Board Member for the following organizations: Church Health Center, Girls Club of Memphis, and the Memphis Oral School for the Deaf. Doris held Life memberships with Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and the NAACP, and was an Honorary Booker T. Washington Warrior (Tribe ’65.) Her philanthropy was selfless. It extended internationally and the well being of children and the underserved were dear to her heart. Doris’ work on earth is done. She received an offer she could not refuse – To be with the Father in Paradise! To cherish her incredible legacy she leaves: Beloved son, Alfred DeWayne Hill II (Ericka); sisters and brothers, Willie Ruth McGhee (Willie), Phyllis Scott-Clark (Alfred), Mililani, HI, Clifton L. Thomas and Rev. Anthony L. Thomas, Nashville; five sisters-in-law, Catherine Page, Mansfield, OH, Edna Green (Herbert), Alma Clay, Margaret Hill, Adrienne Jones all of Chattanooga, and Minister Delories Thomas; three brothers-in-law, James Hill and Carl Hill (Willieta), both of Chattanooga and Edgar Hill (Glenda); two special nieces who also participated in her care: Dr. A. Zshvetta Jones (Demetrius) and Arnetria DaiShana McGhee; two special cousins Linda Gales Evans (Norris) and Oliver Gales, Jr.; “grandchildren” Eden and Brandon, Keishun, Antonio and Iylan; stepmother, Mrs. Fannie M. Thomas; stepsister, Hazel Veal (Lugene); and countless relatives, friends and extended family. The family encourages a gifting tribute to Doris Hill to support the dreams and aspirations of the children of the ESPN ACADEMY, P. O. Box 3324, Memphis, TN 38173. Visitation will be Friday, August 9, 2019, 4-7 p.m., Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, 491 E. McLemore Avenue, Memphis, TN 38106. Funeral Services will be Saturday, August 10, 2019, 12 noon with viewing from 10 a.m. to 11:50 a.m., same location. Burial in Elmwood Cemetery. R.S. Lewis and Sons Funeral Home , 2944 Walnut Grove Road, Memphis, TN 38111, (901) 526-3624 in charge of services.
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