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Jerry Martin Hilton

Posted By Nashville Cremation Center On August 4, 2020 @ 9:13 am In Obituaries | 11 Comments

Reverend Jerry Martin Hilton (Retired)

Jerry was born at home in Bentonia, Mississippi September 4, 1933 to Otto & Frances Hilton. He transitioned July 25, 2020 in Nashville Tennessee.

Survived by his wife of 66 years Dottie Hampton Hilton, sons Robert & Richard, daughter Jerri Lynn; grandsons Robert Otto & Russell Keith and great grandson Otto Love. He is also survived by former daughters-in-law Judy & Michelle and former granddaughters-in-law Jana & Brittany. He is also survived by brothers Drury Day & Benny Otto and sister Brenda Ruth, sisters-in-law Barbara, Nina, Billie, Judy, and Cheryl, brothers-in-law Jim & Ron, and honorary brother in-law Nick Felton. He is also survived by numerous truly beloved nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in passing by his parents Otto & Frances, his grandson Ethan and his son Martin. He was also preceded by brothers-in-law John K. Myers, George Hampton, Jr. and sister-in-law June Hampton.

Jerry graduated from Millsaps College in Jackson MS, and St. Luke’s School of Theology, The University of the South, Sewanee, TN.

Jerry ministered to countless congregations in the Mississippi and Tennessee United Methodist conferences for nearly 60 years, and realized the true nature of his calling when he was involved in, or pioneered the formation of social programs that began to address the needs of society’s most vulnerable. Jerry, along with other like-minded ministers, helped found United Methodist Urban Ministries. In service to UMUM and its many social initiatives, he was heavily involved at Community Care Fellowship whose mission is to provide care for the poor and homeless with dignity and respect. In his own words about his service to CCF he said “Whatever needed to be done, I tried to do it”, but for all us who knew him, we know there’s so much more there, and everywhere, than he would ever take credit for.

After his official retirement Jerry spent the majority of his days tending to his family’s needs and enjoying the time that retirement afforded him to spend with them.

His family is struck by the simple yet profound quotes from a sermon recently discovered in a news article from over 50 years ago and how those same words are just as relevant today. “Giving ourselves in relationships is the only work that endures” He continues “Where is the hope? As long as there is one of us alive who recoils, protests and rejects the evils and folly of war, hope is alive… And just as long as two people of different races or classes will stop, listen and talk to each other… and look upon each other as persons… hope is alive and with us”

Anyone who was ever touched by or was part of his witness, his ministry and legacy will live on within us. Celebration of Jerry’s life is a daily ritual and until it’s safe to gather again that is the most that we could hope for.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Community Care Fellowship at ccfnashville.org.

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Condolences for the family of “Jerry Martin Hilton”

Condolence from Woodley McEachern on August 4th, 2020 9:13 pm

Dear Hilton Family, What a rich legacy of love and caring Jerry has left you. And not only you but all of us he related to are heirs as well. I am so sorry for the emptiness his leaving causes and trust his love and God’s love will help fill that void. Jerry has shown us the way and helped my family to keep on loving and caring. I am grateful for Jerry’s and your nurturing spirit. Peace.

Condolence from James Emory Cole on August 5th, 2020 12:54 pm

Jerry was a great man and wonderful servant. I looked up to him and had the highest regard and respect for him. I am sorry for your loss. Christ’s peace. Rev. James Cole (Nashville)

Condolence from Woody and Lucy Adams on August 5th, 2020 1:19 pm

I am so sorry about Jerry’s sudden death. We were the same age and retired together from the Tennessee Conference in 2000. I remember him fondly, especially his love for urban ministries. He was a friend to all. We remember the family in our prayers.

Condolence from Crys & Ed Zinkiewicz on August 5th, 2020 4:08 pm

We are grateful to have known him! His passing leaves a hole and a legacy. Our prayers are with all of you.

Condolence from Pamela Wilkerson on August 7th, 2020 7:07 am

Brother Hilton holds a special place in my heart. He married me to the love of my life August 10th almost 47 years ago. I lost my love in January so I hope he finds him when he gets to heaven. He was a dear person and will be missed by everyone that he touched during his life.

Condolence from Jim Hughes on August 7th, 2020 8:19 am

Jerry was one of my heroes

Condolence from Tom McAnally on August 7th, 2020 8:36 am

When I came to Nashville 50+ years ago my secretary was Margaret Gothard. She and her husband were members at West Nashville UMC. One of the names I heard most often in those early days was Jerry Hilton. Jerry meant a lot to the Gothards. I met Jerry and interacted with him several times through the years. His commitment to social justice was quickly evident. Upon retirement I contacted him to see where I might serve. It was because of him that I have volunteered more than 10 years at Community Care Fellowship. Nashville is a better place, especially for poor and marginalized people, because of Jerry’s ministry and service.

Condolence from Rev. Neil R. and Norma Jean Dobson on August 9th, 2020 7:56 am

We have known Jerry since he was present at my ordination service at Blakemore UMC on August 31,1969. We want to send our deepest sympathy to his family. He was a true soldier of the cross.

Condolence from Kent McNish on August 10th, 2020 3:28 pm

To the Jerry Hilton family, Like you I grieve the loss of this great and humble servant of God. I knew Jerry from 1970. I appreciated his witness and example. May the tributes of his friends comfort you and remind us all of what truly it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Rest in peace Jerry.

Condolence from Mary Dawn Pafford on September 4th, 2020 6:10 am

Reverend Hilton surely had quite the Homecoming. I’m sure he is missed every day. My sincere condolences.

Condolence from Susan Gardner on September 4th, 2020 9:26 am

I have known and admired Jerry as long as I can remember. May his spirit permeate the work that is still upon us in the church, the city and beyond.

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