Neill Hilburn, 67, of St. Pauls, died Friday May 26, 2017.
Neill had a bad heart, according to those in the medical profession. But to those who knew and love him, O’Neill Hilburn had a strong, loving heart.
Neill loved his wife, his two children and his three grandchildren. But he also had enough room in that big heart to love his many friends, his coffee club buddies, his community and anyone in need of a favor or a helping hand. He also loved rolling out the pastry when he made chicken and pastry for his family and friends, and cooking huge pots of collards, as only he could, and serving them to those who dropped by, as they always, somehow, managed to do when the collards were hot.
Neill endured a lifetime of pain, beginning with polio as a child and continuing with heart problems, but always had a joke and a smile ready for those he encountered. He loved UNC basketball and always loved the good-natured ribbing of Duke fans. He was always smiling when he was at work in his woodshop, creating birdhouses and other things that he made to sell but usually ended up giving away.
So, while some might say Neill had a bad heart, those who knew him, his heart was sweet, strong, simple, loyal and loving.
He is survived by his wife, Rose Ann Terry Hilburn; son, Chris and wife, Karen and their son Austin; daughter, Aaron and husband, Steve Martin and their children, Allison and Alexander; sisters, Shirley Bunnell, and Raye and husband, Bernard Carroll; and brother, Franklin Hilburn.
Visitation is scheduled for Sunday, May 28, 2017, from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at McNeill Mackie Funeral Home of St. Pauls. Funeral services will be held Tuesday, May 30, 2017, at 11:00 am at The Life Center, 404 E. McLean Street, St. Pauls, NC 28384, with Reverend Michael Gist officiating. Arrangements by McNeill Mackie Funeral Home.