Thursday, March 31, 2011


Willie Estes Hicks was born in Langsdale, Mississippi on December 13, 1899 to Augustus Estes and Lula Jones Estes. She met Christ early in life and remained a faithful Christian from her baptism at the age of fourteen through her long, remarkable life. Faith and family were the cornerstones of her existence.

The eldest of four children, she was proceded in death by her siblings, Robert Lee Estes, Eugenia Watkins and Edward Estes. Willie graduated from Mathersville High School, attended Waynesboro College and taught grade school before marriage.  On June 3, 1920, she married Nace Hicks, Sr. , who departed this life on February 21, 1950.

When the Hicks family moved to New Orleans in 1925, Mrs. Hicks placed her membership in New Mount Era Baptist Curch, pastored by the late Rev. Joseph Benton. She served as president of the Usher Board and held many other leadership positions in New Mount Era during her twenty-one year tenure there. As a member of the Evergreen Baptist Church, she was president of #2 Deaconess Board for five years. She joined the Little St. John Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Joseph Noflin and became president of the #2 Deaconess Board. Sister Hicks received her missionary license while the late Rev. Hillard Harrison was pastor of Little St. John. Under her ministry, she conducted hospital visits to the sick and organized a free lunch program for the neighborhood poor. She was appointed Mother of the Church during the stewardship of Rev. Peter Arkangel and for years served as president of the Prayer Band. Rev. Emmitt B. Watson, who became pastor of Little St. John in 1991, held Mother Hicks in high esteemed and appreciated her many contributions to his ministry. The Church celebrated her ninety-ninth birthday on December 13th. Her favorite song was Satisfied in Jesus; Psalm 23 was especially meaningful to her. Alert and involved, she remained active in church and family affairs until the onset of a stroke on the morning of December 24th. The matriarch passed away on Monday, December 28th with five generations of her family, her pastor and deacon and family friends keeping loving vigil at Memorial Medical Center.

The cherished head of a six generation family, Mother Hicks is survived by a large circle of devoted family members, which includes seven daughters: Augusta Bayonne, Wilma Hicks, Marion Vaughn, Gladys Butler, Robertine Charles, Dr. Onita Estes-Hicks and Elois Brown. She is also survived by her only son, Nace Hicks, Jr.

Willie Estes Hicks is my maternal grandmother.

Obituary written by Dr. Onita Este-Hicks

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