Reverend James Walter Hills, affectionately known as “J. Walter,” was born on December 23, 1951 at the family home in the Ridgewood section of Columbia, South Carolina to the late James Wesley and Delores Hills. He transitioned to his eternal resting place on May 12, 2020 at home surrounded by his loved ones.
Reverend Hills was educated in the public schools of Richland County and was a 1970 graduate of C.A. Johnson High School. He was baptized and worked faithfully at his home church, Zion Chapel Baptist Church #1, where he served in several leadership roles. A few years after graduation, he joined the United States Air Force and was stationed in Tucson, Arizona at the Davis Monthan Air Force Base. While there, James joined the Gideon Missionary Baptist Church where he was called and licensed to preach on June 1, 1975 under the leadership of Rev. T.S. Jackson. Upon leaving his Air Force assignment, J. Walter returned home to pursue his ministry. He was ordained on January 10, 1976 by the Gethsemane Baptist Association recommended by his home church.
J. Walter was an Education Major at Morris College in Sumter, South Carolina. He was also a licensed Counselor by the Sarasota Academy of Christian Counselors.
J. Walter’s love for preaching the Word of God enabled him to pastor the following ten churches while touching the lives of many:
2017 – 2020 Senior Pastor St. Matthew #2 Baptist Church Blair, SC
2015 – 2017 Interim Pastor Calvary Baptist Church Ridgeway, SC
2011 – 2014 Guest Pastor Lebanon Presbyterian Church Ridgeway, SC
2005 – 2010 Senior Pastor Providence Missionary Baptist Church Columbia, SC
1999 – 2005 Senior Pastor Second Nazareth Baptist Church Columbia, SC
1984 – 1999 Senior Pastor Rock Hill Missionary Baptist Asheville, NC
1981 – 1983 Senior Pastor Grace Temple Baptist Church Tucson, AZ
1978 – 1981 Senior Pastor Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church Cayce, SC
1976 – 1978 Senior Pastor Chapel Hill Baptist Church North, SC
1976 – 1977 Senior Pastor Bethlehem Baptist Church Ridgeway, SC
Pastor Hills’ ministry spanned over 45 years. He was regularly active in the cities, states, and counties where he pastored. His accomplishments and career affiliations include associations, organizations, civic, religious boards as well as many leadership roles and positions he held throughout the years. Pastor Hills was loved by many, honored by some and will be missed by all.
James was preceded in death by his father, mother, and brother, Ira Mims.
J. Walter Hills leaves to celebrate his heavenly arrival, his devoted wife of 45 years, Wilma Hills; daughter, Renitta Hills, of Columbia, SC; sons, Rev. James Wesley Hills II, (Gavonia) of Columbia, SC and Rev. James Walter Hills II, (Rhyan) of Vancouver, WA; five grandsons, Jaylen Hills of Denver, CO, Jonathan Hoffman of Asheville, NC, James Wesley Hills III (Tre), James Walter Hills III (Tripp), and Justice Hills all of Columbia, SC; one granddaughter, Jaliyah Hills of Columbia, SC; two sisters, Dorthea Samuel (Don) and Ophelia Belton both of Columbia, SC; two brothers, Lafayette Mims (Jayne) of Texas and Paul Hills of Columbia, SC; two brothers-in-law, Willie Minor (Jackie) and Darrell Russell Minor (Sandra); one sister-in-law, Beatrice Cook (Evander) all of Columbia, SC; two goddaughters, Erica Lakin and Jasmine Reales-Canzater; one godson, Daquan Suber. He also leaves to cherish his memory a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, relatives, and friends who will miss him dearly.
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