John Blanton Hiott, the fifth of six children in the family of Gary Lander Hiott and Eunice Biggerstaff Hiott, was born February 25, 1928 in Pickens, SC and died December 3, 2014 in Raleigh, NC. He was a man enlivened by discoveries and new understandings and steadied by his sense of family and faith.
He enlisted in the US Army during his last year of high school and after graduation was assigned to post-war Japan where he served as a “clerk, non-typist,” processing the correspondence course paperwork for other soldiers. It is unlikely he or anyone else realized at the time how this work defined what his life would become - one dedicated to helping others cultivate a life of learning.
He spent the years after his military service earning his A.A. from Gardner-Webb College, his B.A. from Baylor University, and his Th.M. from New Orleans Baptist Seminary. While at seminary in New Orleans, he attended Coliseum Place Baptist Church and met Mary Carmen Moncla. They married on August 21, 1953.
After graduation from seminary, John and Carmen went to New York to start the first Southern Baptist church in the state, but even the summers in Niagara Falls were too cold for the two southerners and they moved back to the south. John served as pastor of three churches in three states and in college administration at Gardner-Webb College (now University) and St. Andrews Presbyterian College (now University). The second half of his life was spent primarily as educator and minister as he found a home along the line formed by Hillsborough Street in Raleigh that extended from the Cameron Park neighborhood west to Meredith College and east to First Baptist Church.
During his 25 years at Meredith, John worked as registrar and assistant to the academic dean, director of planned giving, and director of scholarships and financial assistance. He joined First Baptist Church and soon became the teacher of a Sunday School class for young couples that still meets today. He worked in the church’s clothes closet program and served as a deacon and on many committees. John also became a scoutmaster so his two oldest sons would have a way to be in the outdoors they learned to love when he was pastor at Spring Hill Baptist Church in Wagram. He was an active member of the Raleigh Civitan Club.
He was predeceased by his parents; his brothers, Gary Jr. and Robert; and his sisters, Eulalia and Eunice. He is survived by his wife of sixty-one years, Carmen Moncla Hiott; sons, John Jr. (Joannie), Gray, and Blake (Amy); daughters, Marie McEntire (Mark) and Ann Barham (Charlie); beloved grandchildren, Atticus McEntire, Claire McEntire, Lily Hiott, Eli Hiott, and Emma Hiott; brother, David (Sue) of Pickens, SC; sister-in-law, Eloise of Pickens, SC; sisters-in law, Gloria Revere of Southern Pines, NC and Carol Campbell (Max) of Moncla, LA; brother-in-law, Alfred Moncla, Jr. (Kay) of Elizabeth City, NC; and by many nieces and nephews.
The family thanks the members of First Baptist Church for their unfailing compassion and generosity and the staff at Sunrise of Raleigh for their professional care. A memorial service will be held at First Baptist, 99 N. Salisbury Street, Raleigh at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 20, 2014. Visitation will follow in the church fellowship hall. His ashes will be entombed at Hillcrest Memorial Park in Pickens, SC and scattered at the family home in Moncla, LA. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial gifts to the Meredith College Annual Fund, the First Baptist Church Third Century Fund, or the Tammy Lynn Center for Developmental Disabilities.