“This is the day that the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” How many times has Anita sung that song of praise? It is the opening song of Good News Club, so it is a hymn that is dear to her. But now she can sing it in the presence of her Lord and Savior. Anita Griffith Hill went to heaven on Tuesday, September 19, 2023, from her Rainbow City home.
A Gadsden native, Anita was the oldest of three children born to Sue (McMeekin) and Charles “Henry” Griffith of Alford’s Bend, Alabama. Griffith and McMeekin families celebrate frequently with relatives coming from the area as well as several other states. Anita loved her family and remained especially close to her cousins.
Anita was very proud of her younger brothers. Dr. C.H. (Chip) Griffith, II, of Rainbow City with his wife, Maxine. Lt. Gen. Clark Griffith, He and his wife, Jean, are retired to Biloxi, MS.
Anita was a 1957 graduate of Gadsden High School and a 1961 graduate of Auburn University. While at Auburn, Anita participated in Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority and was President of Women’s Student Government. As a senior at Auburn, Anita received the prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award given to encourage “high thought and noble endeavor.”
From graduation, Anita embarked on teaching in various elementary grades and schools. She earned two additional degrees and advanced to become Principal at Ivalee School and later of Southside Elementary School. She was principal when Southside Elementary was awarded a Blue Ribbon National School of Excellence. Anita made lifelong friends that she cherished from those experiences, not just faculty but parents and students. She relished learning of achievements of former students and about their families. She was often recognized in the community by students who wished to reminisce about their memories under her supervision or to thank her for the impact she had on them.
As successful as Anita was as an educator, she had other passions as well. Her family of her husband, children, and step-children came first. Anita’s family blended in 1973 when she married widower, Lillon S. Hill. Though Lillon passed away in 2006, he and Anita had many loving, productive years raising their children, serving their Lord at MeadowBrook Baptist Church, traveling to all 50 states and many foreign countries, enjoying the Coosa and Lake Gadsden, as well as being enthusiastic bridge players.
In the fifty years since her marriage to Lillon, Anita has been equally dedicated to her children, their children, and her great-grands. Susan (Mark) Chilton of Spring, TX has three children: Ben (Kate) Chilton and Samuel; Jenni Chilton; and Katie (Preston) Cornelius. Dr. J. Mark (Amy) Lytle of Vestavia, AL has three daughters: Emily (Patrick) Keim, Caroline (Wesley) Abeln, and Mary Griffith Lytle. Dr. Judy Hill (Steve Johnson) of Rainbow City has three children: Daniel (Kristin) Johnson and Ainsley and Austin; Michael (Whitney) Johnson and Sarah; and Beth Ann Johnson. Dr. Patty (David) Clokey of Gadsden, AL has three children: Dr. David (Allison) Clokey, III and David IV, Danley, and Benjamin; James “Jimmy” (Ally) Clokey and James and Mary Lillon; Dr. William (Kearse) Clokey. James “Jimmy” Hill, deceased, (Barbara) of Gadsden, AL. Their three children are Scott Hill, who is rejoicing in heaven with Anita; Megan (Baylon) Fry and Brycen and Bristell; and Melissa (Benjamin) Whorton has a precious son in heaven, Bennett James.
When Anita was Principal at Southside Elementary, she had a ritual every morning as she drove to work. She committed to pray for each of the five children as she crossed the Southside bridge on her way to school. The blessings abound! The five Lytle/Hill children are fortunate to give Anita 15 grandchildren. That generation contributed 12 great-grandchildren with the promise of many more.
Anita was a ten-talent person, and she had many areas of passionate ministry. One of the efforts she loved the most was Good News Clubs through Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). Anita began volunteering for Good News Club when she was 17-years-old, she began several clubs herself and continued to work through April 2023. Anita delighted in hearing from previous students that they remembered her lessons and songs from Good News Clubs.
Anita treasured her membership in Delta Kappa Gamma (DKG), Society of Key Women Educators. She held several offices in the Beta Omicron Chapter including President. She recently received recognition of The Golden Rose, an honor reserved for those who have been active members for fifty years. Her DKG sisters honor Anita with a symbol of their organization, the Red Rose.
Anita had membership and served in several churches throughout her life, but she loved and served in MeadowBrook Baptist Church since 1973. Anita and Lillon were Sunday School teachers in the Singles Again Class for many years—a ministry to which they felt led. Anita has a rich history at MeadowBrook with couples and women who treasure her and vice versa. Anita and her good friend, Gerry Grant, began a Tuesday Bible Study at MeadowBrook that has grown to include people from many congregations across the area.
A narrative about Anita cannot be complete without mentioning her many bridge friends, walking partners, and Windemere neighbors. These treasured, faithful friends have been there through happy and sad occasions, and she loved each of person dearly. These friends deserve the deepest appreciation from Anita’s family, but that does not convey the gratitude we feel for all you have done. How you have loved Anita and loved us! Thank you, and we cherish your friendship.
Celebration of life service is at MeadowBrook Church, 2525 Rainbow Drive, Gadsden, AL, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept 23, 2023. Visitation with family and friends is from 9 to 11 a.m. prior to the service, also at MeadowBrook Church. Graveside service for family only follows.
In lieu of flowers, please contribute to one of Anita’s favorite charities.
Child Evangelism Fellowship of Northeast Alabama
Web (donation link at the bottom of site) www.cefofnorthalabama.org
PO Box 2034, Huntsville, AL 35804-2034
Local Director, Jim Simoneau, 334-399-1733, firstname.lastname@example.org
2525 Rainbow Drive, Gadsden, AL 35901
PO Box 97251, Washington, D.C. 20090-7251