Jewel Davis Hill, her effervescent smile always on display, devoted her life to family.
But what you really need to know is she considered everybody family Of course, her husband Clarence, children, Tina and Clarence Jr., and her live grandchildren - Ryan, Kennedy, William, Channing and Jhira - topped her priority list.
But Jewel's heart was so roomy; there was plenty of space for her St. Paul United Methodist church family. And her Zeta Phi Beta sorority sisters.
She always had room for her kids' friends and their kids. And for neighbors and work colleagues and their families.
Strangers did not exist in her world. They were simply friends she had yet to meet.
"My mom was the sweetest person I've ever known," Clarence Jr., said. "She was selfless. She liked to take care of family and cook for her grandkids. She found so much joy and fulfillment and satisfaction in doing for her kids and others."
Jewel had one brother, BC. Her mom, Iris, also had one brother, Leonard Jr.
Coming from a small family made it that much more important to her.
Holidays were spent visiting family and tending to the resting spots of loved ones.
“I just loved her commitment to family - not just our immediate family, but anybody that was family," Tina said. "She'd sacrifice to help anybody that was family, if it was financial or her time or whatever. And she loved our friends like we loved her.
"Some families don't consider anybody past a first or second cousin to be family but in our family if there was any level of blood connection 10 generations back, you were family."
Jewel was born in Schulenburg, Texas, on Aug. 24, 1934 to Iris and Bill Carroll.
She joined her Lord and Savior on July 2, 2021.
Jewel graduated from J. A. Green High School and then from Huston-Tillotson University in 1957, where she pledged Zeta Phi Beta.
Five years later, she married Clarence Hill Sr. Last month, they celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary.
Jewel taught elementary school for 40 years in El Campo, Texas, and then in San Antonio. She was among the first to teach in integrated e schools and later learned Spanish so she could better serve her students.
She retired to take care of her mother, who had a stroke. Then she started taking care of her grandchildren and anyone else who needed her.
Retirement didn't slow her pace. It simply meant she had more time to work in the community as a member of the NAACP or attend one of the numerous social events that filled her monthly calendar. “I called her one day and she said, "I'm taking these old ladies to the store. Clarence laughed. 'What do you mean you're 80?"'
That's what she would do. She was I always trying to help and serve others. She frequently chauffeured her grandkids to practices ranging from gymnastics to soccer to karate. Channing and Jhira often stayed in San Antonio during the summer, while their father covered Cowboys' training camp.
When she wasn't doting on her family, Jewel kept her days full. She belonged to a book club for more than 20 years where they discussed fiction and non-fiction books. The former teacher still subscribed to about 20 magazines, including Time, Newsweek and People in addition to the San Antonio Express-News.
When she wasn't reading, she loved shopping for clothes and shoes, but few things put a smile on Jewel's face like buying something out of the blue for one of her children " or grandchildren.
She loved her church family at St. Paul, where she had been a member since 1968, sitting on countless committees and helping wherever God led her to make a difference.
The last year had been challenging for the Hills. Clarence Sr., suffered a stroke and a heart attack in May 2020, and his wife nursed him back to health while battling breast cancer without complaint.
Their ailments forged an even tighter bond.
“I learned so much about love and commitment from them in the last year through their interaction," Clarence Jr., said. "Their story is amazing and heartwarming and enlightening.
"To see them 24 hours a day and how they moved and interacted. We should all hope to have that kind of love."
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