Lillian Harris Reeves Hise April 18, 1926- May 29, 2022
Lillian, with family in attendance, passed away peacefully at her daughter’s home after a blessedly short illness. Born the same year as Queen Elizabeth II, she had recently celebrated her 96th birthday.
Originally from Atlanta, Lillian attended Westminster and Agnes Scott. While still in college, she met a young Georgia Tech student who had seen her picture in a friend’s wallet, only to be told that she didn’t accept blind dates. Not to be deterred, Eugene Hise, Jr. and his fraternity brothers attended a dance to monopolize her for the evening. At the end of the evening, Gene told her that he would take her home, to which she replied,” I will leave with the date that brought me.” Thus was the inauspicious beginning of what would be an incandescent collaboration of two brilliant, determined, vivacious individuals, which spanned three continents, six decades, numerous moves, and boundless adventures.
Against the wishes of both families, 17-year-old Lillian married 19-year-old Gene, who was drafted into the Army Air Corps as first lieutenant. Son Eugene Charles Hise, III was born shortly before Gene shipped out to India. While Gene was overseas, Lillian lived with her parents where there was residential staff and a nanny. She had a great deal to learn about keeping house, including the minor detail that giblets must be removed from the chicken before roasting.
After his return and graduation from Georgia Tech, Gene joined IBM and the family moved to Tampa where their second child, Beth, joined them. Lillian rose to the challenges of a young wife with resourcefulness, creativity, and good humor. Numerous moves followed, eventually to Bristol Va. where Lillian worked part-time in the town’s leading floral shop. Gene, ever proud of his wife, wrote to Ladies’ Home Journal extolling her many accomplishments, and the family was featured in the “How Young America Lives” series. Their celebrity status was only eclipsed by the return home of Tennessee Ernie Ford to sing at a family funeral.
Moving again, the family found themselves in Oak Ridge where they thrived in the diverse and quirky community. When Gene was offered another transfer, Lillian announced that 16 moves in 13 years was enough, and Gene joined the nuclear division of Martin Marietta to stay put. Was loaned to the European Economic Community to head a reactor cetrum at Petin Netherlands. He was joined by Lillian and Beth, while Gino stayed stateside in College, married, and started a family. The young grandparents were dubbed “Oma and Opa” by their Dutch friends which became the way they were known to be friends of their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who enlarged the family circle.
In Holland, Lillian’s numerous talents shined as she coped in a small village where English was rare. Producing fabulous meals in a Lilliputian kitchen with miniature appliances, she cheerfully entertained at the drop of a hat. She, however, never mastered the infamous traffic “round-about” to the extent that the police, upon seeing her, would stop traffic from all directions to wave her through.
Returning to America, Lillian armed herself with the newly released “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” With Julia Child’s voice ringing in her ears, she created wonderful food and gave countless memorable dinner parties. She never met a kitchen gadget she didn’t like, and designed her kitchen after Julia’s, with pots and pans hanging out on the wall.
After Gene’s death, Lillian found herself in a Renaissance she never anticipated but enjoyed thoroughly. She traveled to numerous countries, remodeled her home, visited grandchildren, gave dinner parties for “The Ladies,” and volunteered at church and the library where she liked to snag the good mysteries before they went into circulation. She maintained that being flexible and adaptive was the key to aging gracefully.
Lillian leaves her daughter Elizabeth Reeves Hise Stickle and husband Edward Stickle; grandchildren Phaedra Anthea Hise and husband Eric Lindquist, Electra Hise Posada and husband Jim Masson, Edward Thomas Stickle, Jr. and wife Alicia, Christopher Lindquist and wife Sabrina Jonkoff, Hannah Spurlock and husband Brad, Ethan Lindquist and wife Emily; great-grandchildren Lily Hargis, Diego Posada, Augustine Posada, and Maura Stickle; and great-great-grandson Fletcher Maywood Spurlock. She rejoins the beloved family members who predeceased her including husband Eugene Charles Hise, Jr., son Eugene Charles Hise III, and granddaughter Lillian Elizabeth Reeves Stickle.
The funeral and interment will be on June 18, 2022, at 11:00 am at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Oak Ridge. A reception will follow in the undercroft. Memorials may be made to St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church music fund or altar guild.
To leave a note for Lillian’s family or to share a memory, please go to our online guestbook at Jacksonfuneralservices.com