With deepest and heartfelt sympathy, we announce the passing from this life of Mrs. Gurtie Lee Hill, 73, a native and life-long resident of Roanoke, AL. Mrs. Hill was a resident of 253 Mary Drive, Roanoke, AL. She transitioned from this life on Sunday, August 8, 2021, at her residence in Roanoke.
Reflecting on the life of Mrs. Gurtie Hill, we are reminded of the lyrics of a familiar song many of us learned as young students:
“Have Faith, Hope, and Char-i-ty; that’s the way to live successfully. How do I know? The bible tells me so!” Those lines could epitomize the spirit and life force of the phenomenon we knew as Gurtie Hill.
Mrs. Gurtie Lee Magby Hill, the daughter of a Baptist preacher, the late Reverend Cullen Lee Magby and Mrs. Annie Lee (Brady) Magby, was an extraordinary example of how to live successfully.
Anyone who knew Gurtie as a student at the Randolph County Training School, is already familiar with her early precociousness. Anyone who observed her as an upperclassman there, is equally familiar with her talent in music – not only as a band member, but most prominently as a powerful singer, harmonizing perfectly with classmates, Regina, Darnell, & Jean. It was quite predictable that Gurtie would be a force to be reckoned with as a strong Christian woman forging her way through this transitory life. And that she was.
Born in Anniston, Calhoun County, she moved into young adulthood as the devoted wife of the love of her life, Silus Leon Hill, who steadfastly remained by her side for 52 years. Married on May 31, 1969, at Mount Pisgah Baptist Church by the Reverend R.L. Heflin, is there any wonder this marriage had such a strong bond ─ giving rise to three children: Shannon Hill-Feagins (Travis) of Columbus, Bernard Hill (Sherina) of Auburn, and Lamar Hill (Mala) of LaGrange?
Considering Gurtie’s life – both physical and spiritual ─ it can be said that at all times she was in a never-ending race to become a better version of herself.
Who was this woman, Gurtie Hill? Guriie labored for some years at the Alabama State Unemployment service in Roanoke; she might have even been among the first African American to work at such a job in this community. She was one who ─ even as a young working wife and mother ─ had the audacity to enter the race along with others enrolled at Auburn University, in pursuit of her Bachelor’s Degree in Education; one who dared to enter the muddy waters of Public Education here in Randolph County, where she remained for 27 years as a beloved classroom teacher and dedicated Librarian at Wadley High School. But she was one who persisted in upgrading her skills as an educator by pursuing her Master's Degree in Education from Jacksonville State University and teaching part-time at Southern Union State Community College Valley Campus. As a respected educator in our community, she served on the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee and she was listed in “Who's Who Among America's Teachers.”
As a young mother, socialite and citizen, Gurtie worked with the local girl scouts as a Scout Leader and was a member of the Bangorian Civic Club. She was also a long-standing member of the Randolph County Branch, NAACP – not only supporting financially, but supporting with her presence.
A hard-working partner in her life-long marriage with Leon, she was an adoring “help meet” who together built an extraordinary, beautiful and comfortable life, never abandoning their faith. Gurtie loved singing; enjoyed shipping; was a wonderful mentor, inspirational leader, and faithful follower; recruiter, and an excellent cook.
However, it can be said that of all that she accomplished, Gurtie would without question, be proudest of her spiritual life, and the extraordinary growth WE witnessed in the province of Faith – Hope ─ Charity, for it was here where she probably shined brightest. From the time of her birth, December 27, 1947 to her home going on Sunday, August 8, 2021 – her 73-years-long spiritual journey was that of a phenom.
It was here that she, like a little seed ─ planted, watered, sprouted, and bloomed ─ while navigating the mysterious waters of faith and spirituality. Her journey began as a member of the Mount Pisgah Baptist Church where those early Sunday School lessons took hold of her spirit.
Later joining First Baptist Church, Gurtie not only found her SPIRITUAL SELF – she found her VOICE ─ her TRUE PURPOSE. As she worked on becoming a better version of herself, she would become a GIANT among the body of ChrIst, where she absorbed everything that was offered, and applied generously to herself, watering and growing into a leader in the community of faith. At First Baptist, she served as a member of the Senior Missionary Society, Deaconess Circle, and Matron's Counselor. As a member of many Choirs formed over the years, her forceful vocals, with great clarity convicted us in our hearts and revealed her spirit. When we observe the many- splendored individual we knew as Gurtie Hill, we see she could be quiet as a church mouse. But, Lord, don’t ask her to stand before a crowd and witness to the grace and goodness of her God. It was then that she could boldly and unabashedly show up and show out, for the cause of Christ.
Beyond First Baptist, she worked on both the District and State level serving as East Alabama Union District Women's Convention President; Missionary President; Sunday School Deacon & Trustee's' Wives; East Alabama Co-Chair Teacher; Choir Member; and President of the North East District Deacons & Trustees' Wives.
Gurtie had a very special gift of being such an astute manager, that she could juggle all of these activities looking like a highly compensated SUPER-MODEL!
In addition to her nuclear family, Gurtie has left behind a beautiful family of siblings: Moses Magby (the late Bessie Magby), (the late) Curley Lee Magby), Willie Lewis Magby (Nadine), Reverend Charlie Magby (Shirley), Joe Magby (Kellie), Rebecca Ann Willis (Lovell), Daffie Marie Dillard (Reverend William Dillard); nine (9) phenomenal grandchildren; one (1) great grandchild; a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins all of whom admired her immensely; and the numerous friends she made as she navigated both he education and faith communities throughout the area.
So, farewell, beloved wife; wonderful mother and grandmother; faithful friend; phenomenal speaker; extraordinary educator; adored sister; Christian woman; and warrior for Christ.
The Battle is fought – The Victory W-O-N! ENTER THY MASTER’S JOY!!
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