Pitts has left a legacy, and with her death, left a hole in Vicksburg’s heart

Published 1:29 pm Friday, January 8, 2021

Hester Pitts spent her life serving God.

She was a member at First Baptist Church Vicksburg and dedicated to their medical/dental clinic that serves the community. Pitts also traveled the globe on mission trips ministering to those who were in need of a helping hand.

Pitts died Tuesday at the age of 78, just two days before her birthday.

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“My wife summed it up best,” Dr. Dan Edney said. “When she said, ‘I can’t imagine a world without Hester.’ She truly is irreplaceable.”

Edney, with Medical Associates of Vicksburg, worked closely with Pitts in their service to First Baptist Church’s Medical/Dental Clinic and in medical mission trips throughout the world.

“We worked shoulder to shoulder all over the world and I came to find out very early her priorities were fixed and unwavering and what drove her was her love for her Savior Jesus Christ and she was willing to do whatever he asked her to do,” Edney said.

Edney said this dedication to God was followed by her love of family, church and community.

Pitts, a native of Kosciusko, became a member of First Baptist Church in 1968 and was instrumental in creating the medical/dental ministry that provides free medical and dental care for those who have no medical insurance.

“I have never wanted to think of the day we would need to continue doing the medical/ dental ministry without her or go to Central America on our medical mission trips without her or disaster response medical trips without her,” Edney said.

Pitts’ mission trips with Edney included more than 10 years of traveling to Honduras, two years in Haiti and a trip to Iraq.

“The kind of places she was willing to go at her age — it is one thing to go to Honduras, but it is another thing to go to northern Iraq,” Edney said.

As a medical technologist and lab director for many years, Pitt’s service to the church’s free medical/dental clinic was invaluable, Edney said.

“She never retired,” he said. “She just transitioned to nonpaying work.”

At the clinic, Edney said, Pitts was known as the “Queen.”

“She was the real boss,” he said. “There will be a tremendous hole that will have to be filled.”

In addition to the mission trips and medical/dental clinic, Operation Christmas Child was another project Pitts was devoted to.

She brought the ministry to FBCV more than two decades ago and served as the area coordinator.

Pitts at times even traveled to countries where the Operation Christmas Child boxes were given to excited children.

“Everybody that dies leaves a void but some people by the magnitude of their ministry leave a big void,” First Baptist Church pastor Dr. Matt Buckles said. “And I think that is what has hit us and the people who know Hester. This is going to leave a big void of leadership — a person who tended to things. She was the ultimate Christian servant and had the drive to serve and excel for the Lord.

“If somebody thought they had done something by making five phone calls to encourage people, she had probably made 25. You just go ‘wow.’”

Buckles said he witnessed the Lord using Pitts.

“I saw her washing dirty feet, giving injections and loving on Hondurans with nothing but true Jesus,” Buckles said. “Near and far, local and global, she was the same everywhere she went, faithful to the Lord and his church.”

While Pitts’s commitment to others was inspiring, it was her upbeat personality that drew people in.

“Hester was a party waiting to happen, and it was always game on with her in terms of ‘let’s have fun,’’’ Edney said. “She would work hard, but she would play hard, which was evident by the number of friends she had across all economic boundaries. She was willing to love anybody and serve and help anybody.”

Although Hester was loving and happy and fun, Edney said, she was never weak.

“When there was a need to stand up for those who were defenseless, you could not ask for anyone better to champion for you than Hester Pitts,” Edney said.

From mission trips to Operation Christmas Child to time spent at the medical/dental clinic, Hester Pitts made a difference in the lives of many.

“These are legacies for Hester. She would never claim those and would be mad at me for saying that, but these are her legacies. And for those of us who loved her, we are not about to see them go away,” Edney said. “There is definitely a hole in my heart that can’t be filled.”

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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