Hortense Pittman

February 12, 1926 - August 26, 2020

Hortense Pittman, age 94, of Celina, Texas, passed away August 26, 2020.  Hortense was born February 12, 1926, in Pilot Point, Texas, to Roy Jackson and Thelma (Bradford) Ellison.  She married William Fredrick Pope on September 30, 1942, who preceded her in death on May 10, 1965.  She married Jessie Ray Pittman on December 3, 1966, in San Antonio, Texas.

Hortense was an exceptional woman and lived a remarkable life.  As a young woman, she baked cakes and pies for the family store in Celina, Texas while honing her skills as a seamstress.  She eventually sewed costumes for the Dallas Ballet and dresses for prominent women in Dallas.   Many years later, Ray gave her an African violet as a present and she developed it into a flourishing business that eventually took her around the globe achieving numerous awards and speaking engagements as a world-renowned hybridizer.  She was the president of the National African Violet Society and the highlight of her 35 years in growing violets was the hybridizing of the first yellow African violet.  Her other interests included the Celina Inter Se Club, which she enjoyed attending with her sister Mary Rue and her daughter Carolyn.  She loved to entertain and is well-known for her amazing hospitality and delectable meals.  Any other time she had would have spent reading or traveling.  She has traveled across Europe and South America but her favorite trip was to South Africa with the highlight being the animal viewing safari.

Her family will remember her gentle and loving spirit that taught and modeled profound love and commitment to family.  She and Ray began their relationship in the second half of life and often reflected how they were the luckiest people on earth to have each other.  The apple of her eye was her only daughter, Carolyn Pope Welch, however, Hortense loved her grandchildren, family, and friends with extraordinary passion and commitment.  She had unparalleled work ethic and drive and spoke encouragement and life to everyone she met.  She was truly a gracious, courageous, and inspiring woman.   We will miss her and rejoice that she is now in the presence of our Lord and Savior, Jesus.

She is survived by her step-daughter, Karen Hurley; grandchildren, William Kubicek, Karol Johnson and husband, Dean, Karla Descoteau and husband, David, Mindy Koehne and husband, Jason, Stacie Pittman, and David Hurley; great-grandchildren, Jaden Patterson, Bradford, Donelle, Mikah, Emily, Katlyn, and Justin Johnson, Easton Descoteau, and Evan and Ashley Koehne.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Jessie Ray Pittman, daughter, Carolyn Welch, and step-son, Steve Pittman.

A funeral service will be held at 10:00 a.m., Friday, September 4, 2020, at Turrentine-Jackson-Morrow Chapel, 109 S. Oklahoma St., Celina, Texas, 75009.  The family will receive friends during a visitation one hour prior to the service.  Interment will follow the service at Cottage Hill Cemetery in Celina.

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Thank you—rest well Gail Blank, September 9, 2020 Our thoughts and prayers are with you at the passing of Hortense. She was a dear lady, dear friend and outstanding African violet grower and hybridizer. She will be truly missed by all who loved her and we will treasure fond memories of her. Her wonderful plants and accomplishments will live on in the African violet world. Sue Ramser, AVSA President Sue Ramser, September 4, 2020 The African Violet world has lost a true treasure with the passing of Hortense Pittman. But, the large circle of people who were fortunate to know her lost more. She was the epitome of grace, sharing, friendship, and love. She set a wonderful example of how to live as a human. Hortense’s beautiful African Violet hybrids will bring beauty to many homes around the world for decades to come. What a Blessing she was. Anne Nicholas, September 4, 2020 The African violet world has lost a great lady, but her legacy lives on in the many beautiful varieties that she hybridized. We will miss her. Joe Bruns, September 4, 2020 Sorry, for your loss. As a fellow African Violet lover I will always treasure a ancestor of Mrs. Pittman plants. Carla Hale AVSD. countryoutlaws@hotmail.com, September 3, 2020 my prayers go out for everyone. Michael Kelly, September 3, 2020 So sorry for your loss, our sympathy to the family. Herbert and Reta Ellison, September 3, 2020 You all have been in our thoughts & prayers. We wish we could be there. Aunt Hortense was such an amazing woman! She loved Family so much! She was so proud of her Children & GrandChildren! We have so many fond memories of visiting with she & Uncle Ray. They had a love that is so rare to see. She was an amazing cook & hostess! I’m so glad my husband Jeff & boys Jack & Luke got to meet her & Uncle Ray. Forever in our Hearts! God Bless! Margie Boyer, August 31, 2020