Reverend Byrd Hillman

Reverend Byrd Hillman Jr.

Thursday, May 17th, 1934 - Friday, July 26th, 2019
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Obituary

Rev. Adam Byrd Hillman, Jr. – Memorial Obituary
Rev. Adam Byrd Hillman, Jr., 85, passed away peacefully on Friday, July 26, 2019 at his Kosciusko home, surrounded by his family, after a lengthy and courageous battle with cancer. Rev. Hillman was born on May 17, 1934 to Lessie and Byrd Hillman, Sr. of Union, Mississippi. Byrd was raised in the BeBetter community of Neshoba County and graduated from Union High School. Upon graduation, he attended Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi and was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. While working in the Standard Life building, he met Sara Simmons, who became his beloved wife of 60 years, as they married on September 3, 1957. He subsequently received his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. He then attended and graduated from the Chandler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and was ordained as a minister in the United Methodist Church in 1962.
Rev. Hillman’s early career ministries in the United Methodist Church included appointments in the Mississippi community churches of McLain, Buckatunna, State Line and Pelahatchie. In 1967, Rev. Hillman was appointed as the Associate Pastor of Central United Methodist Church of Meridian, where he served until 1973 when he was asked to become the Pastor of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Ocean Springs, where he served until 1980. His next appointment was at First United Methodist Church in Clinton until 1988, when he was honored to be appointed as the District Superintendent for the Brookhaven District. This was the highlight of his career. After serving this six year appointment, Rev. Hillman continued his ministry at First Methodist Church in Philadelphia, followed by St. Marks UMC in Brandon, Mississippi until his retirement. Byrd and Sara semi-retired to remodel Sara’s family’s home, fondly known as the Simmons Country Place in Kosciusko, where he concluded his formal work ministering to the congregations at the United Methodist Churches of Ethel and Tabernacle.
Byrd and Sara’s love for each other was well known, as was their love and support for their son, John Robert. They were a profoundly loving and giving Methodist minister couple. Byrd and Sara deeply loved their family and they also loved the United Methodist Church. Much of Byrd’s ministry focused on youth and children. How could children not love “Big Byrd!” Along with his more than 50 years as a pastor, Byrd was elected as a delegate to the General and Jurisdictional Conferences in 1992, 1996 and 2000. Byrd also served as Asst. Secretary of the Annual Conference, Chairperson of the Board of Discipleship, of the Seashore Assembly Trustees, of the Camp Wesley Pines Trustees, and of the Division of Elders of the Board of Ordained Ministry. Byrd and Sara had roles in leadership and governance at Lake Junaluska Assembly, and served key administrative responsibilities with devotion, including several years as Pension Liaison for ministers and their families of the Mississippi Conference. Rev. Hillman was very honored to be the first to receive The Dickson Order Award in 2002, but was even more proud when Sara was awarded the same in 2017, making them the first couple to be awarded such. The service legacy of Byrd and Sara Hillman to the United Methodist Church is well-known and deeply understood, and that legacy will be long-lasting for the good of the Church and in recognition of the blessings of God.
In recent years, Byrd was referred to as “Papa Byrd.” Papa Byrd was generous beyond words, extremely patriotic and expressed his sense of blessings daily – for the Simmons Country Place where he retired with Sara, for his extensive circle of friends made over the years, for those who visited frequently and who cared so deeply for Byrd, Sara and John Robert, and for the medical staff and caregivers who helped him, especially in the latter stages of his cancer.
Byrd Hillman, Jr. is survived by his three children, Adam Byrd Hillman, III (his wife Cookie), Mary Frances Hillman Benton (her husband Brad), and John Robert Hillman, and by five grandchildren: Taylor Anne Benton, Joshua Hillman Benton, Adam Byrd Hillman, IV, Mercer Royce Benton, and Andrew Fletcher Hillman. He is also survived by his sisters Pat Murrell and Rosemary Hopkins (her husband Oliver).
Byrd’s guidance, friendship, and spirit will be deeply missed by all who knew him. Yet, we are all thankful that his incredible faith in God's word and Jesus' promise of salvation has resulted in eternal life and that he joins his beloved Sara in everlasting life. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:21.

All services will be held at First UMC in Kosciusko. Visitation will be in the parlor Friday, August 2, from 6-8pm and Saturday, August 3, 9-11am with a church service to honor Rev. Byrd Hillman, Jr. at 11am and burial to follow in Parkway Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions in Byrd’s name to The Sara Hillman Ministry and Program Endowment at Lake Junaluska Assembly, Inc.
For online condolences visit culpepperfuneralhome.com
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Friday, August 2nd, 2019 | 6:00pm - 8:00pm
    When
    Friday, August 2nd, 2019 6:00pm - 8:00pm
    Location
    First United Methodist Church
    Address
    .
    KOSCIUSKO, MS 39090
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Visitation Friday, August 2 will be at FUMC-Parlor and Visitation Saturday, August 3, will at in FUMC-Sanctuary
  • Second Visitation

    Saturday, August 3rd, 2019 | 9:00am - 11:00am
    When
    Saturday, August 3rd, 2019 9:00am - 11:00am
    Location
    First United Methodist Church
    Address
    .
    KOSCIUSKO, MS 39090
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Visitation Friday, August 2 will be at FUMC-Parlor and Visitation Saturday, August 3, will at in FUMC-Sanctuary
  • Service

    Saturday, August 3rd, 2019 | 11:00am
    When
    Saturday, August 3rd, 2019 11:00am
    Location
    First United Methodist Church
    Address
    .
    KOSCIUSKO, MS 39090
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Services Saturday, August 3 will be in FUMC Sanctuay.
  • Interment

    Location
    Parkway Cemetery
    Address
    Huntington St.
    KOSCIUSKO, MS 39090
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

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Flowers
DHG Healthcare, Starkville District Office/ Rev. Paulette Buford-J, and others have sent flowers to the family of Reverend Byrd Hillman Jr..
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DH

DHG Healthcare

Posted at 11:48am
Please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss... Our thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time.
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DHG Healthcare purchased flowers for the family of Reverend Byrd Hillman. Send Flowers

HS

Heartfelt Sympathies Store

Posted at 09:02am
Byrd was a tremendous influence on so many lives. He will truly be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
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CJ Caufield

Posted at 09:09pm
Amazing. Inspiring. Persistent. Driven. Loving. Encouraging.

A few of the many positive words that describe this legend of a Christian man.

I had the opportunity to serve as pastor of the Kosciusko Circuit - Marvon Chapel & Pierce Chapel for six years - 2003 through 2009. Byrd epitomized the love of the salt-of-the-earth people of Attala County. He was assigned as my mentor. I am humbled by his graciousness and legacy.

I love Byrd and the Hillmans all.

Thank you, Byrd, for your faithful ministry to God through Jesus Christ. And thank you for as you said, "When I bleed, crosses and flames come out."
TS

Theresa Skinner

Posted at 08:26pm
I was blessed to get to meet Bro. Byrd and Mrs. Sara thanks to my friend and boss, Billy Walton. It was so easy to see their love for others and for each other. He did a great job preaching Mr Walton ‘s memorial service. I’m sure they are having a great time together in Heaven now! I will be praying for you.
SB

Starkville District Office/ Rev. Paulette Buford-J

Posted at 09:39am
With loving memories of "Reverend Byrd Hillman",
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Starkville District Office/ Rev. Paulette Buford-J purchased flowers for the family of Reverend Byrd Hillman. Send Flowers

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