Lillie Savannah Stancil Billingsley, was born on February 22, 1945 at home to Carl Mayford Stancil and Louise Gibson Stancil on Taylor’s Chapel, Rabun Gap, Georgia. She is preceded in death by one sister, Sarah Jane Turpin. She is survived by her husband of 55 years, William Vaughn Billingsley of Rabun Gap; four daughters: Robin Billingsley of Clayton, Georgia, Tammy Kilby (Mack), Sheila McClain (Dean), and Holly Cabe (Brian) all of Rabun Gap. Two brothers: James Stancil (Vickie), Walter Stancil (Celia), one sister, Linda Crow (Rhondall), a Son-in-Law Steve Hicks, Seven grandchildren; Kasie Campbell (Clay), Savannah Kilby (Chad Norton), Peach McCall (Weston), Billy McClain (Chelsea), Katie McClain, Jackson Cabe, Woody Cabe, and especially dear niece, Vickie Tyler (Terry) of Mountain City, Two great grandchildren, Weston and Sutton McClain, and many more precious nieces and nephews, especially loved members of the family, Aurelio Guerrero and Max Bohorquez.
Mama came into this world a fighter, born at home on Taylors Chapel while her daddy was walking across Blackrock Mountain to get the doctor. Born with the cord wrapped around her neck, her mama had to get up to get the scissors off the dresser to cut the cord from around her neck.
From an early age, Lillie was a “Mama”. Her first job was taking care of a family of several children when she was ten years old. She graduated “most athletic” from Rabun Gap Nacoochee School in 1962. Mama met Daddy who was “one of them Scaly Billingsleys” and they were married in Highland Park, Illinois in 1963.
Mama was care-giver for 14 years to her mother all while raising four girls, farming, and keeping a happy home all at the same time. She thought we couldn’t live without three hot meals a day. Waking up before us, she made sure that we and her niece Vickie NEVER got on the school bus without warm food in our belly. She was a skilled cook and baker. She made the most elaborate and “fancy” birthday cakes for her fancy girl, Holly, and many special cakes for her nieces and nephews. Her brother James said that one of his favorite memories of Lillie was her making him a German Chocolate Cake for one of his birthdays when he was teenager. He said it was the best thing he ever tasted.
Mama worked side-by-side with Daddy to create a successful nursery business—even patenting their own hydrangea, The Vaughn’s Lillie hydrangea. She loved her garden, canning, preserving food and her flower beds were her pride and joy!
Mama taught her girls great life skills: how to garden and can, how to work, how to clean (maybe that didn’t stick as much for some of us). Most of all, she taught us how to love and care for our babies, for each other, and finally for her by her example. Mama got us ready for church every Sunday, and we went to the Flats of Middle Creek Missionary Baptist church where she was a member and where we learned of the most Perfect Love, our precious Lord and Savior.
Mama gave each of her grand babies his/her very first bath. Each grandchild has their own special memories:
Kasie remembers being “saved” from the hickory when Meemaw would give her a “fake” whipping and tell her to holler so everyone else would think that she was getting what she really should have.
Savannah recalls Meemaw reading books at the sleepovers on the back porch with hot chocolate and feeling safe and protected.
Peaches said she reminded her often, “don’t even date a feller who isn’t marriage material.” She taught her how to “seine the creek” to catch fish when nothing would bite. “Meemaw helped me break my last bushel of beans because she thought I wouldn’t have enough.”
Billy remembers sitting in Meemaw’s lap and listening to stories about picking blackberries in the woods and meeting up with snakes.”
Katie remembers picnics in the yard with green peas and peanut butter cookies, a favorite of both.
Jackson and Woody remember Meemaw taking them across the creek to “the deep dark wood” to hunt for the Gruffalo and the big bad mouse.
Mama continued to work hard in the nursery: planting, digging, and shipping trees all across the United States until her health began to decline.
Mama welcomed two special great-grandchildren, Weston and Sutton McClain. Those two “fizzlebritches” put a smile on her face even when she was feeling her worst. They always brought a smile to her face, and she loved and talked about the two babies that are on the way with excitement and a twinkle in her eye.
Mama had a quiet and reserved manner even while she was surrounded by a gang of chattering girls and a bunch of loud Billingsleys most of the time. Calm and collected, nothing much ruffled her feathers, she was the steadfast rock in our lives that we could always depend on for anything we needed. She put family first, and her love was known even when she said nothing at all.
When an angel came to carry her home, she was surrounded by her children, family, and friends. We had a wonderful day with mama the day before she passed. She told us that she was going to farm and plant some beans, taters, okra, and squash. She also recited “Twas the Night Before Christmas” for Jackson, Woody, and Willa. God’s heavenly gardens are Mama’s new home. Mee-Maw Lillie is blooming in Heaven right now.