Eunice Viola Purnell Hilliard was born on March 17, 1940, in Berlin (Worcester County), Maryland. She was one of three children born to her parents, the late Selby W. and Helen Marie (Brittingham) Purnell.
Eunice received her formal education in the public schools of Worcester County, and she was nurtured in the Christian faith in Mt. Calvary United Methodist Church in Berlin, Maryland.
Very much committed to the pursuit of education, Eunice matriculated at what was formerly known as Morgan State College, now Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. After her graduation, she continued her studies and earned, both, a Master of Science Degree and a Certificate of Advanced Studies from the Johns Hopkins University, also in Baltimore, MD.
On October 16, 1965, Eunice and Leroy Hilliard were married at Metropolitan United Methodist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. From their union came two offspring, Lee and Susan. The family enjoyed many happy experiences. Eunice and Leroy would often travel together all over the United States to various educational conferences and, in deference to Leroy’s profession, to many Industrial Hygiene Conferences.
Eunice began her teaching career in the Baltimore City Public Schools. She enhanced the lives of students through her dedication to the intellectual uplift of those whom she taught. She initially taught English at Houston Woods Junior High School and later taught that subject at Pimlico Jr. High School and Northwestern High School. Eunice pursued accreditation in the area of guidance and counseling. Subsequently, she used her acquired skills as a guidance counselor at Walbrook, Patterson and Dunbar High Schools. She completed her career while competently serving as Guidance Department Head at Dunbar High School.
She was diligent in fulfilling her calling to the field of education. As such, she served as foundation representative of Phi Delta Kappa International, Johns Hopkins University Chapter. She served, at one time, as President of Chi Chapter of Pi Lambda Theta International Honor Society at Johns Hopkins University. She was also President of the Maryland Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development. Eunice was credentialed by the National Board of Certified Counselors, and for outstanding service to the counseling profession, she was named to the National Distinguished Service Registry in 1990. In 1993, 1995 and 1998, Eunice was cited in Who’s Who Among Teachers. Additionally, she was recognized for a significant contribution to her profession of a “model composition writing evaluation folder.” The model eventually became a requirement of all students of English in the Baltimore City Public Schools. It is to be noted that Eunice always let it be known that she was extremely proud of the accomplishments of those students whom she encountered through the years, and she was rewarded for her zeal.
In 1973, Eunice and her husband united with the congregation of Epworth United Methodist Church and consistently worshipped there. Within this fellowship, she chose to be an active servant. During her years at Epworth, at various intervals, she served on the Administrative Board, the Stewardship committee, and she was a Liturgist, a Daily Vacation Bible School teacher, a Lay Speaker-in-Training and an active member of the United Methodist Women.
She enthusiastically engaged in Scrabble games. She enjoyed cooking and baking sweet potato pie was a specialty. She loved listening to spiritual music, and she was passionate about reading and studying the Holy Scriptures. Nehemiah 810 was reflected in her life for the “joy of the Lord was Eunice’s strength,” and, as such, she was an “inspired dancer!”
Quietly on April 20, 2019, while at home, Eunice Purnell Hilliard entered Eternal Rest.
To celebrate her life and mourn their loss, Eunice leaves: her devoted husband, Leroy Hilliard; a son, Lee W. Hilliard; a daughter, Susan Yvette Hilliard; a brother, Harold W. Purnell; a sister, Marion N. Smith; grandchildren: Ashari Hillard-Coles, Niko, Brandon and Ocean Hilliard; nieces, nephews and many other loving relatives and cherished friends.