LEWIS THOMAS HILTON, SR. was born to the late Johnnie and Hattie Hilton November 22, 1925 in Manning, South Carolina. The family later moved to Statesboro, Georgia. He was educated in Bulloch County Schools. Lewis left school before graduating to help his father in farming.
SARAH LOU SLATER was born to Pete and Celia Slater June 20, 1927 in Statesboro, Georgia. She was educated in Bulloch County Schools.
And two became One…Their Story…
In 1942, Lewis met a beautiful young lady, Sarah Lou Slater who would become his bride of almost 72 years. The couple were united in holy matrimony January 12, 1946 and to this union five children were born. They began their journey together operating a large farm, growing tobacco and cotton. In 1956 they moved their family, which now included two daughters, Martha & Bertha, to Cincinnati, Ohio. Lewis immediately began an over 28 year career with Cincinnati Milling Machine, which was later named Cincinnati Milacron. Sarah was employed as a caretaker. Over the years, they became foster parents to many.
And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of Holiness;
One of the family’s first homes was on Lindale Court in Lincoln Heights, Ohio. It was there they met neighbors, Charles and Dorothy Bostick. Dorothy Bostick introduced Sarah to the way of Holiness. Soon after, Lewis was also saved and they both joined Church of God of all Nations under Bishop William L. Tumblin. Sarah Hilton later participated in the renaming of this church to True Holiness Church of God under Bishop Lewis and Eddita Tolber.
In 1969, Elder Lewis Hilton was called to pastor Revival Temple Church of God. The following year, Elder Lewis & Mother Sarah Hilton founded, Apostolic Church of Deliverance. Elder Hilton was soon after consecrated a Bishop and served as Northwest Diocese Bishop of the Born Again Church of Jesus Christ under the late, Bishop John W. Barber. They faithfully led Apostolic Church of Deliverance for 20 years. In February 1990, the mantel of leadership was passed to their eldest son, Lewis T. Hilton, Jr. also known as Bishop Bobby Hilton.
Bishop Lewis Hilton, Sr. was a faithful and hardworking man who took excellent care of his family. There was never a day he was not working full time until he retired from Cincinnati Milacron. Mother Sarah Hilton spent little time working outside of the home because her husband preferred that she be home and take care of their children. She made sure full home cooked meals were hot and ready every evening by the time her husband would arrive from work.
Bishop Lewis Hilton suffered a stroke several years ago. This condition slowed him down, however, he refused to let it stop him. There were several times Bishop Hilton had to be taken to the hospital due to complications from the stroke. On Friday, August 11, 2017, Bishop Hilton was admitted to the hospital and remained there for several weeks. During this time, Mother Hilton would visit daily and even spend the night with him in the hospital. On the morning of Tuesday August 22, 2017, Mother Hilton suffered a severe heart attack. Physicians informed the family that her main artery to the heart was 100% blocked and mitral valve was not operating properly. There was nothing that could be done to the artery or the valve due to swelling and how weak Mother Hilton was. The family was stunned to hear the physician say, “she may not make it through this”. Mother was on the second floor of the hospital, in intensive care, and Bishop Hilton was on the third floor of the facility. Bishop Hilton was released before mother and was taken to Maple Knoll Village Rehabilitation Center. Several days later, Mother Hilton also became an inpatient at Maple Knoll Rehabilitation Center. Their private rooms were right next to each other. Bishop Hilton was not very happy that his wife was next door and not placed in the room with him. They spent the days in the room together and would only be separated at bedtime. Mother Hilton reached a point of good recovery and was allowed to return to her home. She would visit Bishop Hilton as often as she could. Whenever she would come through the door, he would brighten up and say “here come my baby”, “how are you doing baby?” It was a very sad time for each of them whenever Mother would have to leave and go home.
November 23, 2017, which was Thanksgiving Day and one day after Bishop Hilton’s 92nd birthday, Mother Hilton along with her sons, daughters and other family members went to be with Bishop Hilton after hearing he was having issues with his breathing. Scriptures were read and the family sung every worship and praise song they thought Bishop Hilton would remember. At 11:45 a.m., Bishop Hilton took a deep breath and gave a final sigh. A single tear flowed down his left cheek. This was crushing for the family to witness, however, they realized he was released from his earthly tabernacle and immediately clothed in another building not made with hands eternal in the heavens.
THREE DAYS LATER – Sunday, November 26, 2017, Mother Hilton rose up very early in the morning. She had breakfast and was dressed for morning service much earlier than usual. Mother Hilton was riding in the front passenger seat as her daughter Bertha was driving her to church. Mother was talking and doing fine. She even told Bertha she better watch where she was going. They were very close to the church at the corner of Northland and Waycross, Mother sighed twice and laid her head back. Bertha and her daughter Nikki saw that Mother was in distress, called 911 and rushed on to church arriving within the next minute. Before emergency personnel arrived, church members immediately began CPR. Cincinnati Fire Fighters Pastor Robert Andrews and Mother’s son Chris Hilton took over with CPR efforts. Both of them continued working on her and got inside the ambulance along with city of Forest Park Emergency personnel. Mother Hilton was rushed to the hospital where they did all they could. Mother Hilton was placed on life support. We believe Mother had a made up mind, she was ready to see Jesus and her husband Lewis would be waiting for her there.
They fought a good fight, they finished their course, they kept the faith.
Left to carry on the legacy of Lewis & Sarah are their children; Martha Mae Dillingham (James, deceased), LeBertha Southall (Larry, Sr.), Lewis T. Hilton, Jr. a.k.a. Bishop Bobby (Valda), Cincinnati Fire Fighter, John Christopher Hilton (Shirletta), Cincinnati Police Officer, Angela Natalie Hilton and Joyce Ann Thomas who they welcomed and raised as their daughter; 16 Grandchildren; 26 Great-Grandchildren; 8 Great-Great Grandchildren; host of nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
Lewis T. Hilton, Sr. also leaves to cherish his memory, brother-in-law, Theodore Phillips, and sister-in-law Eunice Hilton. He was preceded in death by his parents; Johnnie & Hattie Hilton, eight siblings, Pearlee Williams, Ellen Singletary (Julius), Pearlina Bradshaw (Isaac), Margaret Riddick (Earnest), Johnnie B. Love, James Willie Hilton, Buena Phillips (James) and Lucille Phillips.
Sarah Hilton leaves to cherish her memory two sisters, Lossie Lee (Samuel) of Fishkill, New York, and Mary Lou Sabb of Statesboro, Georgia. She was preceded in death by her parents; Pete & Celia Lee Slater, four siblings, Stephen Slater (Cleester), Johnnie Slater, Agnes Williams, Mattie Moffett and brother-in-law, James Sabb.