Lillie Mae Hughes Botts, 83, of Denniston, Kentucky, passed away on June 9, 2021. Born on December 6, 1937, in Pomeroyton, Kentucky to Charles and Carmie Lee Hughes, she was a proud public schoolteacher and academic team coach, a loving mother offour daughters, and a champion for children and education.
Surviving are her four daughters, Martha (Doug) Brown, Susan Botts, Mindy (Greg) Camp, and Aleta Botts (Robert Doyle); and grandchildren, Miranda, Trevor, Abbie, Maggie, Elijah and Elinor. She was preceded in death by her husband, M. Marvin Botts; parents, Charles and Carmie Lee Hughes; her sisters Nettie Alice Taylor and Rose Carroll Hughes, and her brothers James Hughes and Charley Eugene Hughes.
Lillie met her future husband, Marvin, at the one-room schoolhouse in Denniston, where she was enrolled through eighth grade. Her family then moved to Dayton, Ohio, where she completed high school. When she was asked to teach a class as a senior in high school, she fell in love with teaching and attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. When her sweetheart, Marvin, returned from service in the Korean War, they married and set up house in Dayton, eventually having their four daughters. She worked for 16 years in the Dayton Public Schools while completing her master’s degree at Wright State University.
In 1978, the family moved to the farm in Denniston, and Lillie began what became a 30+ year career in the Menifee County Schools, from teaching 5th/6th grades, middle school, and arts appreciation to managing the gifted/talented program and the migrant education program. Being in the classroom, in front of a group of students, reading to them, inspiring them, and teasing out their knowledge bit by bit was where she wanted to be.
In addition to teaching, she helped begin Menifee’s academic and mock trial teams and led the way to honor students in spelling bees and geography bees, driving students across the state to compete. For this, she received a place in the Kentucky Academic Hall of Fame, which honors those who go “above and beyond” in providing a better future for our students.
With every student she encountered, she sought the good. She looked deeply for the seed that she could grow, the dream for a life better than what they might have now. She always expected that every student could achieve, never allowing them to feel anything less than the star student she knew they could be. She paid for expenses out of her own pocket many times because it was so important to her that cost should not be what keeps a kid from participating and succeeding. She encouraged countless students to be the first in their family to go to college.
She loved books, especially mysteries, and watching Perry Mason and good movies. Chocolate, good red tomatoes, and salted watermelon were favorites. Traveling with her daughters to see new things and beating them at Scrabble were also some of her pleasures. Being aware of her love of knowledge and competition, one knew not to call her house at 7:30 pm because that would interrupt Jeopardy.
One of her last wishes was to set up a scholarship account in honor of her mother, who was unable to complete high school due to having to help on the farm and with younger family members. The family has set up a Lillie Botts Academic Fund that will be used to fund such a scholarship and pay for expenses for Menifee County students in academic competitions. More information on this is available from Lillie’s daughters.
To honor her life, a funeral service will be held 3 PM, Sunday, June 13, 2021, at Menifee Home for Funerals on Route 36 in Frenchburg, with Bro. Steve Peck officiating with burial following in Mort Botts Cemetery. Visitation will be 1-3 PM, Sunday, June 13, 2021, at Menifee Home for Funerals in Frenchburg. Pallbearers will be Doug Brown, Greg Camp, Robert Doyle, Willie Brown, Brian Stamper, and Trevor Brown.
She will be greatly missed by many.
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