“No language can express the power, and beauty, and heroism, and majesty
of a mother’s love.”
– Edwin Hubbell Chapin
It is well known fact that everyone has a mother. Mothers are the beginning of life and without them, humanity would cease to be. With such a common role as being a mother, logically there shouldn’t be that much emphasis and praise devoted to such a common title. However, mothers, like Jill Mari Redmond, teach us that although they think they do nothing overwhelmingly special in life, they are priceless in the eyes and hearts of their children and mold the world for the better. To her four children, her grandchildren, and countless friends, “Momma Jill” was not only a mother, but also a confidant, a teacher, a life coach, and a constant support in every season of life. Her unconditional love was everything to her children and nothing about her role in their lives was seen as common—it was always seen as exemplary and worthy of highest praise because Momma Jill and her love deserved nothing less.
On a chilly Thursday, on February 3, 1955 in Austin, Texas, the story of one wonderful mother began with the love of her own mother and the faith of her grandmother. Delora “Dee” Sellers knew her beloved child was coming but was hesitant and fearful. Her first pregnancy resulted in a hard and traumatic delivery that left her terrified of the impending birth of her newest child. As she worried and fretted, her own mother, in great faith, called upon a special someone to pray over the delivery. Like a warm, calming blanket, Dee felt peace and no pain during her quick delivery. As her little miraculous angel was placed into her anticipating arms, her little angel smiled up at her with eyes full of love and wonder. The joy she felt in her heart for her new baby, who she named Jill Mari (meaning “Little Girl” or “Little Mary”), was indescribable and only grew and grew as her first days turned into weeks, then months, and then years. Right from the start, Jill lit up the lives and hearts of those around her. She was always smiling, and joy overflowed from her laughter and fun. Jill loved to have fun and was naturally very entertaining and funny—even unintentionally putting on performances for her family. Often, she would do something or say something so clever or witty that she would send the whole room into a chorus of laughter. At the sound of all the laughter, she would run out crying thinking that others were laughing at her instead of her jokes and antics. Her father, Jim Sellers, or her mother would have to calm her down and reassure little Jill that she was beloved and a joy to her family. Her happiness and joy were contagious, and her family and friends gravitated towards her smile, laughter, and hugs as she grew up. Along with the joy she radiated, Jill also had another special quality about her since birth—she always had a strong faith and felt attune to the spiritual nature of things. Jill seemed to know and could connect with a person’s struggles, their hopes, their secrets, and their true talents. She could make a person feel like they mattered and have them leave feeling better about themselves. It was a treasured gift that she gave others as well as her time and her love, and no one knows that better than the children she loved so dearly much.
Jill began her calling as a mother with the pregnancy and birth of her son and first born, Bryan. Although many thought she was a natural when it came to motherhood, Jill went through the struggles of being a “first-time” mom like sleepless nights, mastering potty training and vegetable eating, and of course, trying to make sure every need and want was met. As she had her next child, Lauren, she gained more confidence and experience which only grew as Jill had her second daughter, Megan and her youngest child, Kristen [confirm order of children]. Jill was fiercely protective of her children to the point where she would barely let anyone hold them as babies (ok, she might have relaxed a bit on that with Kristen), and she devoted herself whole heartedly to her children. As soon as she had Bryan, Jill began staying home to raise her children. In the midst of kissing scraped knees, tending to snacks and meals, and playing with her children, Jill had a front row seat in watching her children grow physically and mentally into their own unique beings. Although she cannot take all the credit for their journeys into adulthood, Jill outfitted and provided the things her children needed most to succeed: knowing that they were loved unconditionally and accepted for who they were, inside and out. Jill also helped develop her children’s strong, independent characters. Unlike some parents who hover and do everything for their children, Jill allowed her children to explore the world around them more and more as they grew. She trusted her children would make the right choices, do the right things, and live they way they wanted. However, whenever troubles in life came, she was always right there to lend a listening ear, to speak words of advice or encouragement, and her arms were always open to hug and comfort her children. As the old saying goes, “A mother’s hug lasts long after she lets go.” As she taught her children, Jill also began learning things about herself. As she often said, “When you have a part of your life that you will not learn or are stubborn with, God will give you a child to teach you.” Her children became her teachers in the ways of patience, discipline, love, and endurance as she tackled the new stages of gradually releasing her children to live their own lives. As she became a grandmother, and her children started teaching their own children the lessons of their mother, Jill was able to look back and reflect on how much she had changed in her journey through motherhood. “I wouldn’t recognize my younger self,” Jill said as she considered how she grew and accepted certain aspects and lessons in her past. However, it is because of her past and her life lessons that her children and countless others sought her for wisdom and help.
As Harriet Beecher Stowe stated, “Most mothers are instinctive philosophers,” and it was no less true for Momma Jill. Family members, friends, and even strangers flocked to Jill for her wisdom and guidance in matters of faith, motherhood, life, and love. Perhaps it was a gift passed on by the faith of her grandmother or the love of her mother, but Jill could use her spiritual intuition to help others feel better about themselves and feel like they could conquer the world. Many times, Jill understood people better than they understood themselves. She could see past the shame, the lies, and the stubbornness to see the true nature and destiny of a person’s heart. Unlike many who try to help those who seem lost, Jill met with people where they were at in life—not where they wanted to be. No greater example of this could be found than when Jill worked with Sarah’s House Maternity Home in Austin, Texas. This unique place offered a place to stay and resources for homeless mothers who could provide basic necessities for the children that depended upon them. Jill and other volunteers helped these mothers have healthy pregnancies, guided them through the adoption process (if the mother chose), and supported these mothers until they could get back on their feet and step into their role in motherhood. However, Jill did not just provide basic necessities to these mothers—she provided something far greater and richer—faith and hope in Christ and His love. Like Jesus meeting the woman at the well, Jill met with these women during times of hardship and shame and loved on them and prayed with them. Her faith in Christ and love for others reached beyond Sarah’s House and into the lives and homes of so many others. From her children’s friends who lovingly referred to her as, “Momma Jill” to friends and acquaintances from church and work, Jill poured herself into others through her unconditional love and non-judgmental ways. Each smile, each tear, each laugh, each hug, and every word of encouragement pointed people to Christ. Jill longed for others to know Christ and God’s love because she experienced God’s love and grace within her own life. She pursued God in study, prayer, and obedience to His Word. She found peace in her faith, and she spread that peace to her family and friends along with all of her love.
Although God was first in Jill’s life, the family God blessed her with filled her heart, mind, and soul nearly as much. As her daughters stated, “Her world was FAMILY.” She began her own family when she married Rick Redmond at the age of 19. Jill and Rick through Dallas restaurant, Daddy’s Money, where she was a hostess and he was a waiter. They both attended Southern Methodist University and had a whirlwind of a romance for 9 months before they got married. While married, they raised their beautiful family and made many memories. Rick taught her about “good” food while Jill taught him to appreciate nature. To her family, Jill was a rock that built up everyone else so that they could reach up and touch the stars. She loved spending time with her children and spoiling her grandchildren. Her favorite times of the year were holidays if only for the fact it meant that her family would be under one roof and making memories. If Jill could have, she would have made every day an official holiday just to have her family together each day of the year. Although Jill loved every holiday, a particular favorite of her family’s was Christmas in part because they got to partake in Momma Jill’s squash casserole. First, second and third helpings fed the stomachs and souls of her family who looked forward to this decadent comfort food—especially her grandkids! Jill’s grandchildren were obsessed about their Nana. She enjoyed taking her grandkids on special trips to see the world around them. She hoped to one day spread their horizons by taking her whole family to Ireland, and perhaps after “crossing the pond,” she might purchase a lake house on her own little pond for her grandchildren to enjoy. Just as she spoiled her grandchildren, she tried to spoil her own children every now and then. As her children became parents, out of love for her children, she stressed the importance of making themselves a priority in their own lives and to practice self-love and -care. She also liked giving them special, meaningful gifts. Once, she gifted each of her children a Martina McBride CD with the song, “In My Daughter’s Eyes.” It was a song that was meaningful to her, and as her children had children, it became equally meaningful to them as well. She was so thoughtful and generous when it came to those she loved. It was Jill’s desire for her children and grandchildren to enjoy life to the fullest while keeping their hearts and minds upon God and family—the two greatest loves of Jill’s own life.
Aside from her love for Christ and her passion for her family, Jill enjoyed many facets of her beautiful life. She enjoyed learning throughout life. Jill never thought that growing up meant slowing down when it came to pursuing knowledge and studying. When she graduated from Bryan Adams High School, she continued her studies at SMU. She enjoyed studying ways to make her life better—mentally, spiritually, and physically. Jill studied and endeavored to use her passion of helping people and her God-given wisdom to become a Life Coach. Her advice and encouragement was already very helpful to her family and friends, but Jill only wanted to get better to make life better for others. Jill also chased her knowledge and understanding of God and His Word. She was a member of various Bible studies where she dove into the Bible and talked with others about life and faith. Jill so greatly enjoyed learning about God’s love and how He cares for His children—much like how she cared for her own children. Another field of study Jill liked to learn was nutrition and health. One of the best ways to feel good about life is to feel good in your own body, and Jill seemed to know that bit of wisdom. She liked finding good, healthy recipes to try with her family or taking some older recipes and making them healthier. However, that is not to say that she did not indulge every now and then in her guilty pleasure of sweets. Jill had a sweet tooth for cokes, candies, desserts, and chocolates. What is life anyways if you can’t enjoy the “sweet” aspects of it? Along with her pursuit of knowledge, Jill liked to pursue fun! Her humor only grew from her childhood antics, and she was known for still making her family roar with laughter. She loved laughing and smiling as she was having fun, and she had the best laugh and the most beautiful smile. As her children say, she was a Hippie at heart and loved to have fun and be creative! One person Jill loved having fun with was her boyfriend of 7 years, Paul Shearer. Jill and Paul went to school at Bryan Adams High School where they dated a few times. They dated on and off again throughout college until Paul went to Texas Central University. At one point, Paul called Jill and Jill revealed that she was marrying Rick. Life continued on in remarkable ways for Jill and Paul. They both found people to spend life with and even saw each other occasionally like at Brookhaven Country Club and a high school reunion. At this particular high school reunion, the love that they shared was rekindled and they met for a coffee date. Together, Jill and Paul enjoyed singing, bicycling, and hiking. Jill and Paul spent one lovely trip hiking around Bryce Canyon in Utah. She enjoyed spending time with Paul, and she loved spending time with others in her life. Jill enjoyed going out with friends, joking and laughing all along the way. She enjoyed making her grandchildren squeal with delight as she played games with them or wrapped them in a big, Momma Jill hug. Although she had a Hippie heart, Jill also enjoyed things to be nice, neat, and classy. As she raised her children, she strived to keep her house clean and tidy, but as the kids gradually left the house, her desire became more of a reality. Whether her home was clean and tidy or a bit cluttered, is was filled with warmth, charm, and love. It was filled with wonderful items that brought a sense of elegance and beauty to her home. Although she wasn’t always organized, she endeavored to make her home as calm and clean as she could because as the saying goes, “tidy house, tidy mind.” When Jill wasn’t at home, with her family, or hanging out with her friends, she made her time useful by working. Jill enjoyed working and interacting with others through her jobs. She was a teacher for a while, and she worked hard to expand the minds and dreams of her students. Jill also made dreams become a reality for many families by working as a real estate agent. Although both jobs were demanding in their particular ways, Jill found the joy in them nonetheless. Along with being a teacher and an agent, Jill was also an entrepreneur. At one point, she owned a specialty store called “The Giving Tree” after the beloved book by Shel Silverstein. This cute little story was a children’s boutique where people could find adorable clothes and eclectic toys for the precious children in their lives. Jill enjoyed meeting with and chatting with the people who would come into her store, especially the moms with their children. Another passion in Jill’s life was traveling around the world. She experienced so many wonderful places and cultures throughout her life—many in the company of her own family. She went on a river cruise in Europe with her mother-in-law and her daughters. Along the way, they saw the bustling charm of European towns and the beauty of the European countryside. Another time, Jill ventured to Italy to see her daughter Megan, and she delighted in the history, the architecture, the culture, and the food around her. She brought back some souvenirs as well as many, many memories. Once Jill even crossed half the world just to see her daughter in China. It was a special trip where she bonded with her daughter while exploring the beauty and wonder of the Chinese culture and society. It is no surprise though that Jill would leap over mountain, valley, seas, or oceans to be with any of her children or grandchildren. She loved each member of her family more than life itself.
Jill loved her family so fiercely and so deeply throughout her life, even until the very end. If love could keep a person with their family, Jill would still be here today laughing and hugging her family and friends, but to the extreme sorrow and heartbreak of her family and friends, Jill Mari Redmond passed away tragically in a car accident on Friday, October 9, 2020 in Celina, Texas. At the time of the car accident, Jill was in the car with her granddaughter, Brinkley. With all the love and sacrifice she had in her heart, Jill tried to protect Brinkley in the midst of the sudden accident. She passed away quickly with no pain, much like how she was brought into the world. Similarly, as when she was a child, Jill left her family in a very spiritual nature with a heartfelt message. Her granddaughter assured her family that Nana “wanted to go, but it would be ok.” Her sacrifice and her message were the last gifts she bestowed upon her family. However, her life, her lessons, and her love are gifts that her family will cherish forevermore. “All of you [children] have a piece of me…you are my joy and my passion,” Jill stated once, and it is true! Jill’s love, wisdom, charm, and humor reside in the hearts and personality of her children and grandchildren. Through Jill’s life, so many people have been blessed! She lived her life helping others, raising her family, and loving so fully and deeply much like how Christ lived and sacrificed and loved His church. Her family and friends find peace and comfort knowing that Jill Mari Redmond is in her new home in Heaven where her perfect love has been made even more perfect, her thirst for knowledge about God satisfied, and her faith throughout life has been rewarded at last. In time, Jill’s family will see her again and behold the beautiful smile they all adored, feel the warm embrace of her hug, and hear her wonderful laughter once more in their new, Heavenly home.
“…the sweetest sounds to mortals given,
are heard in Mother, Home, and Heaven…”
– William Goldsmith Brown
Jill Mari Redmond is survived by in this life by her beloved children, Bryan Redmond and his wife, Brandi, Lauren Cranford and her husband, Chris, Megan Hughey and her husband, Bobby, and Kristen Kosch and her husband, Michael; her dearest grandchildren, Brooklyn Redmond, Brinkley Redmond, Bruin Redmond, Kai Cranford, Jo Hughey, and Rowan Hughey; her ex-husband and friend for over 45 years, Rick Redmond; her boyfriend of over 7 years, Paul Shearer; her mother, Delora “Dee” Sellers; her sister, Debra Bussey and her husband, Bill; her brother, Alan Sellers and his wife, Judi; her nieces and nephews, Zack Bussey, Amanda MacDonald, and Payton Sellers; and many, many wonderful friends. Jill Mari Redmond is preceded in death by her father, James “Jim” Sellers.
A Life Celebration will be held in honor of Jill Mari Redmond on Friday, October 16, 2020 at Hughes Family Tribute Center from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM. A Mass for Christian Burial will be held the following day, Saturday, October 17, 2020 at St. Rita Catholic Church at 2:00 PM. Jill Mari Redmond will be entombed immediately following her mass at Calvary Hill Cemetery.
To know Jill was to love her. Her life and her love will stay in the hearts of her family and friends until they meet again. Until then, in Jill’s words, “Love is not an option.” To Jill Mari Redmond, love was essential and unconditional. Let her love remain with us forever.
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