Jane Elizabeth Hill was born to Janie Wilson-Frierson and Early Jack Napier in Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee, and came into this world on April 16, 1928. From that day forward, she made sure her presence was known.
On Dec. 6, 2021, after 93 turns around the sun, she gained her heavenly wings. Liz was preceded in the death by her husband Charles Hill, her parents, seven siblings – Theodore Frierson, Jim Frierson, Betty Fullenwider, William Henry Frierson, Charles Frierson, Mary Frierson, and Rosemary Frierson: two sons – Bruce Murphy, and David “Big C” Hairston. She was also preceded in death by her children’s fathers –David R Hairston and Raymond Smith.
Liz attended school in Maury County, Tennessee, and completed her education at John S. Cobb High School in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. At the age of 18, she moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana, and after a short time, she and her young son, Bruce Kenneth, moved to Michigan City, Indiana, where she planted her roots and settled down. She worked at Gerwin Industries for a time, but found her calling in health care, first working for Woodview Nursing Home and later focusing on Home Healthcare at St. Anthony Home Healthcare, where she retired after many years. However, Liz could not sit still. She began private duty nursing, caring for the patriarch of the Richter family for many years.
From a brief union with Raymond Smith, Liz was blessed with two more sons, Malcolm Dwight and Alec Anthony. Later finding love with David Roscoe Hairston, whom she married in 1967, Liz was blessed with three more children, David Courtney, Erica LaShon, and Heather Alexis. When Heather was just 2 years old, Dave departed this life, leaving Liz a widow. After living alone for many years, she married Charles Hill in 1982.
She found Christ at an early age, but her forever church home was New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, where she is considered a bricklayer in the foundation. She served the church in many capacities including the Nurse’s Guild, Pastor’s Aide committee, Prayer Band, Building Fund committee, and the Kitchen Ministry as well. Liz really enjoyed a good time and spending time with her family. She also loved the three B’s – bowling, bingo and basketball – especially when her son, her niece, or her granddaughter were on the court. She would often be seen in the Michigan City High School gym (formerly Rogers High School) on Friday nights, cheering the team on from the sideline.
Liz also loved her community. Not only was she an active member of various organizations, including the Order of the Eastern Star, Daughters of the Elks, and the NAACP, but she also had an open-door policy in her home. This open-door policy provided babysitting for many kids.
She was affectionately known as “Aunt Liz” in the Southgate neighborhood, welcoming anyone who needed a place to stay and a warm meal. She loved to cook, and no one left her table hungry. Where there was a need, Liz provided. It is in that vein that when her grandson, Marcus, needed, she provided. When her niece and nephew had a need, she provided. “Aunt Liz” became “Mama” to her nieces, Sade’ and Kaylynn, becoming their legal guardian when the need arose and caring for her nephew, Charles “Snookie” Frierson, again when the need arose.
A Celebration of Life will take place on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, at 11 a.m. with viewing from 10 a.m. until time of service at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 730 W. 6th St., Michigan City, Indiana, 46360. Burial to follow immediately after service at Swan Lake Memorial Gardens.
The eldest of nine children, Liz leaves a host of family, friends, and loved ones to cherish her memories, two sons, Malcolm D. Smith, Waukegan, Illinois, Alec A. (Tamiko) Smith, Michigan City, Indiana; four daughters, Erica L. (Maurice) Key, Indianapolis, Indiana; Heather A. Hairston, Michigan City, Indiana; Sade Frierson and Kaylynn Parker, Indianapolis, Indiana; her only surviving sister, Vivian (Dave) Greer, Michigan City, Indiana; two special nieces, Connie Baker, Decatur, Illinois, and Phaedra Greer, Michigan City, Indiana; two step-daughters, Patricia Smoot, Indianapolis, Indiana; and Lisa Hurt, St. Paul, Minnesota; two goddaughters, Danielle Farmer and Iris Love; a special sister, Laverne Armstrong; and special friends, Audrey Myricks, Annie Hernandez, and Bobbie Martin.
Perhaps the strongest testament to Liz’s lasting legacy can be found in the 26 grandchildren and 39 great-grandchildren who will also cherish loving memories of her. After her final retirement, she spent her latter years once again as a caregiver. But this time it was for her grandchildren.
Jane Elizabeth truly lived her life to the fullest. She could often be heard quoting Psalms 27:1 – “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
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