Hazel Bernice Dillon Jones
September 18, 1924 - September 15, 2023
Hazel Bernice Dillon Jones, a Christian, a mother, a leader, an inspiration, a most remarkable soul who graced this world for nearly 99 years, passed away on September 15, 2023, peacefully at her home. She was born on September 18, 1924, in Tylertown, MS as the 13th child of 15 children total, and the beloved youngest daughter of the late Carlos Columbus Dillon and Lily van Dora Ard Dillon. God sent his BEST angel for her, and her soul went peacefully to a place prepared for her just as He promised. She was the last surviving child of her parents and is rejoicing now with all her loved ones who passed on before her. What a day of rejoicing it truly is!
Hazel was preceded in death by her husband, Eldridge Jones, and her parents Carlos Columbus Dillon and Lily van Dora Ard Dillon. She was also preceded in death by all 14 of her brothers and sisters: Ara Dillon Dillon, Ora Dillon Dillon, Odis Dillon, Ottis Dillon, Lenora Dillon Hughes, Dellia Dillon Stinson, Melvin Dillon, Bessie Dillon Slaven, John Warran Dillon, Tina Dillon Brumfield, Truly Dillon, Thelma Dillon Hill, Preston Dillon, and Earl Dillon; sons-in-law Doye Graves, and Randy Brumfield; grandchild Victoria Dillon.
When Hazel came into this world, not many births occurred in a hospital. She was born at home, with the help of a midwife, and grew up on the family farm in Walthall County, MS, learning to work at an early age. Already raising thirteen children, Dora’s mother, Charlotte Pierce Ard, and a nanny named Aunt Leah Ann helped to rear Hazel in those early years. Her sister Thelma and Cousin Doris would chase her through the woods with bullfrogs and she would tell on them and get them in trouble! However, as free time was not something children had much of back in those days, as they grew older, they all helped do chores around the house or worked in the fields. Hazel attended school at New Zion School in Tylertown, MS. Beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic, she enjoyed playing basketball. Her high school team went to All-State because they did not lose a single game the entire season.
She married Eldridge Jones on November 6, 1943, at the age of 19. Shortly after their marriage, Eldridge left for the Navy and while he was away for about two years she gave birth to their first child, Faye. In all, Hazel and Eldridge had 6 children: four girls and two boys. On top of raising children, keeping a house, and cooking meals, she milked cows morning and evening, and, at this time, they milked them by hand. She dedicated 64 years of her life to being a local dairy farmer. Following the death of her husband in 1968, at the age of 42, she took charge of running the dairy. Her hard work and dedication earned her numerous awards for milk production and dairy business operations. Even into her 80s, Hazel continued to work in the barn, modeling her unwavering commitment. Her son Ronald took over the dairy operations in 1990, but, being the BOSS, Hazel kept an eye on things and “officially” retired at the age of 87.
When Eldridge died, some of his last words to Hazel were, “One day I will come back for you, mama, but it will be a slow walk.” She knew her place was here on earth, but that one day she would be with him again in heaven, but that it would be a long time. Thank God for the blessing of leaving her here with us for all these many-more years. Even in 2018, when battling skin cancer that had spread, and a 15-hour surgery, which surgeons said she marched through with the heart of a 20-something year old, she held on strong. When she awoke from that surgery, she told those that were there with her that she had been walking barefoot along a path but noticed an image walking towards her from on down the way. She said she stopped to wait to see who it was coming towards her because they were getting closer and closer. She could see that the image was carrying something that looked like a baby lamb. She then told that as the image got closer to her, she could tell that it was Jesus, and he wasn’t carrying a lamb- he was carrying her. She’d been gone, but Jesus was bringing her back. It was not time, and we all were blessed to have her here with us for five more years.
With thankfulness to our Lord in heaven, Hazel Bernice Dillon Jones lived a long, full, and faithful life, filled with love, kindness, and caring relationships. Children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family, and friends surrounded her with tender care as she went home to be with our Lord and savior. Hazel was a faithful Christian and a loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother. Her life was a tapestry woven with love, kindness, hard work, resilience, honesty, and strength. A matriarch in the truest sense, Queen Elizabeth herself, would not have had a stronger rule nor held the admiration and respect as Hazel Jones. She was a dedicated mother to her children, Faye (Doye) Graves, Judy (Paul) Dillon, Ronald Jones, Trudy (Mark) Statham, Raymond (Rita) Jones, and Shelia (Clay) Pope. An attentive and loving grandmother to Mickey (Nacole) Dillon, Missy (Tory) Self, Marsha (Niles) Branch, Kaitlyn Jones, Scott (Mingo) Brumfield, Bradley (Dana) Brumfield, Tina (Jeremy) Thornhill, Luke (Amanda) Jones, Leah Ann (Chaplin) Smalley, Tanda (Nicky) Miller, and Talena (Dusty) Rogers. She was a loving great-grandmother to Cassidy Ashe, Kylar Dillon, Drake Dillon, Brooke Resendez, Brance Self, Macey Branch, Avery Miller, Coty Brumfield, Andrew (Santana) Brumfield, Emma Brumfield, Addison Brumfield, Spencer Brumfield, Philip Brumfield, Trevor Thornhill, Triston Jones, Lainie Jones, Layla Smalley, Chandler Smalley, Bailey Miller, Payton Rogers, and Presley Rogers. And also, a loving great-great-grandmother to Rilynn Brumfield, Cullen Brumfield, Kylie Brumfield, and Alora Resendez. Her wisdom, warmth, and love nurtured and directed five generations. It is also important to recognize a special daughter-in-love, Sue Parker.
Throughout her life, Hazel was a beacon of strength, a model of faithfulness and compassion, and dedication to the Lord, her family, and friends. Peter may have been the rock on which Lord built His church, but Hazel was the rock upon which this family stood. In her nearly 99 years she taught God’s word and biblical truths just as Jesus taught his disciples and others in his 33 years- through the Word and with the use of stories and parables. She always had the ability to put a lesson in a form that we could understand and apply, and her children, grandchildren, and now great grandchildren, and, hopefully, great-great grandchildren will know these truths through the stories and parables that she told which are recanted amongst family often.
Hazel worshipped at Crain's Creek Missionary Baptist Church. Her strong faith guided her throughout her life, and she taught Sunday school for nearly 50 years. She found joy in working, raising children and grandchildren, cooking, and caring for young ones from all over the community. Her love for the Lord and her community was evident in everything she did. With as large of a family as hers, she is “Aunt Hazel” to so many, whether by blood or through the blood of Christ, and her memory will forever be etched in their hearts. The community will forever remember her love, caring, selflessness, faithfulness, wisdom, and gentle spirit. She profoundly touched so many lives. Her impact is so strong, so great, that her spirit and character will live on in those who knew and loved her. May she rejoice in eternal happiness, as we rejoice in her homegoing from this earth and cherish the beautiful memories she leaves behind for us.
All those who knew and loved her will know of her many sayings. One of which we ALL repeat is, “I love you 8!” Some may have once thought, why the number eight? Why not nine or ten? Wouldn’t 9 or 10 be better than 8? Bless your heart! Didn’t you know that the number 8 is the symbol for infinity? It represents abundance and strength. In other words, strong, unconditional love, ever forgiving, and unending. She LOVES us all as Jesus loves us- as we ALL are to love! Let us all pray that we can always have that same love for one another.
One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:35-40
The family will host a graveside celebration of Hazel's life at 2:00pm on September 17, 2023, at Crain’s Creek Missionary Baptist Church in Franklinton, LA.
Pallbearers are Mickey Dillon, Scott Brumfield, Bradley Brumfield, Coty Brumfield, Andrew Brumfield, and Brance Self