In Memory

Minnie Mae Billingsley Hart (St Flying Tigers) - Class Of 1950

Minnie Mae 'Mitzi' Billingsley Hart

May 15, 1932 - March 6, 2014

Minnie Mae "Mitzi" Billingsley Hart

Merkel, TX

Minnie Mae "Mitzi" Billingsley Hart, 81, passed away Thursday, March 6, 2014. Services will be 2:00 p.m. Monday, March 10th at Merkel First Baptist Church with Pastors T.C. Melton and Jimmy Griffith officiating. Burial will be in the Tuscola Cemetery, directed by Starbuck Funeral Home. Visitation will be from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.

Mitzi was born May 15, 1932 at home near Ovalo, Texas to Gilbert Samuel and Winnie (Turnbow) Billingsley. She attended Ovalo School until it was consolidated with the Tuscola School and was renamed South Taylor. In 1950 she graduated as the Valedictorian of her high school class. She graduated with honors from North Texas State with a B.S. Degree in Home Economics and later received her Master's Degree with a Reading Specialist endorsement from Hardin-Simmons University.

Mitzi began her career as a County Extension Agent in Eastland, Texas. She taught the adult education programs, directed the 4-H Clubs, performed demonstrations, developed workshops, and frequently hosted a home economist program for a local television station. Her co-workers were determined for her to meet a certain young man during a poultry workshop. That man was Don Hart, Public Relations Director for TU Electric, and he became the love of her life. They were married November 26, 1955. After marriage they moved to Wichita Falls and then to Coleman, Texas. Don worked for Coleman County Electric Cooperative. They were actively involved in the community and civic organizations, 4-H Club leaders, Boy Scout leaders, PTA, Young Farmers, Young Homemakers, and Kiwanis Club. Mitzi won the honor of being selected "Young Homemaker of the Year".

In 1966, Don was named Assistant Manager of the Electric Cooperative in Stephenville where Mitzi began her teaching career as a 6th grade teacher. In the summer she taught "Food Fun for Juniors" which was a cooking class for children from age eight to twelve years old.

In 1971, Don and Mitzi moved to Merkel when he became Manager and CEO of Taylor Electric Cooperative at Merkel, Texas. Mitzi taught 5th and 6th grade Language Arts for Merkel ISD. In 1978, Mitzi was employed by the Sweetwater ISD. The last fifteen years of her career were spent at Sweetwater High School using and enjoying her skills as a reading specialist. She took great pride in her teaching and in the fact that every student she taught passed the required state mandated tests. She loved and respected her students. She taught with the philosophy that every student should know that she genuinely cared about their success. Her students knew she believed in them and that she was willing to work alongside them to ensure their success. She believed there is good in everybody, and that with patience, love, and tenacity ones' potential can be realized.

She was also a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, President of Texas State Teachers and Sweetwater Classroom Teachers Association. She served as an officer in the Retired Teachers Organization and belonged to the Fortnightly Study Club. She was active in many professional organizations and highly respected in her profession.

Mitzi was a member of the First Baptist Church of Merkel at the time of her death. She was a member of the Primitive Baptist Church for many years. She was a steadfast servant of God, exhibiting and quiet faith and compassion that was contagious with all who came in contact with her. Even during her most difficult times with Parkinson's Disease, back problems, and numerous hip surgeries, her concern was for her family and friends.

Mitzi loved her family and felt that they were her best achievement. Being a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother were titles she cherished and enjoyed. She is survived by her husband, Don Hart; son, Andy Don Hart and wife Netta of Merkel; daughter, Lesa Hart Crosswhite and husband Randal of Abilene; grandmother of five who lovingly called her MeMe, Stephani Hart Gardner and husband Breck, Sheena Teel, Christopher Hart and wife Samantha, Staci Hart Bitner and husband Dirk, and Preston Teel and wife Brenna; step-grandmother of three, Stacey Crosswhite Guevara and husband Matt, Heather Crosswhite Stringer and husband Lee, Jon Crosswhite and wife Heather; great grandmother of Taylor and Brooke (due in May) Gardner, Ryder and Mason Hart, Hunter and Presley Teel, Braeden and Kason Stringer, and Ian Crosswhite.

She was preceded in death by her parents and one brother, Pete Billingsley.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Love and Care Ministries, 903 N. 3rd, Merkel, TX 79536.

You may view and sign the online guestbook at www.starbuckfuneralhome.com
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Published in Abilene Reporter-News from Mar. 9 to Mar. 10, 2014