Johnny Hershel Lill, Jr. of Bostwick, Georgia passed away on September 16, 2018 after a long battle with cancer. He is survived by the love of his life, Mary Clay Lill to whom he was married for 57 years during which they rarely left each other’s side. He is also survived by two sons, John Hershel Lill, III and James Kenneth Lill, two daughters-in-law, Lori Joyce Lill and Georgianna Parkman Lill along with eight grandchildren (Jonathan, Joshua, Jordan, Jared, Jacob, Jeremiah, Whit and Mary Claire).
Johnny graduated from Morgan County High School in Madison, GA and attended the University of Georgia. He got married in 1961 and shortly thereafter started his career at Wellington Puritan Cordage Mills. He quickly worked his way up from the bottom to eventually managing all of their manufacturing plants throughout the southeast.
Somewhere along the way he developed an interest in preparing tax returns for family and friends and this business quickly grew. He then started working nights and weekends during tax season at a small tax practice in Athens. At some point in the mid-1970’s, he was given the opportunity to buy out one of the partners in the tax practice and he ended up leaving his full-time corporate job at Wellington and taking the plunge into the tax and accounting business full-time. He was extremely intelligent, hard-working and dedicated. It was not long before his tax business was growing and thriving. He was a very early adopter of technology and the business really accelerated because of it. Eventually just about all of the family members worked there at some time or another. This tax practice still exists today. It is currently known at The Tax Shelter with the original office in Athens managed by his son, Ken along with a second office in Conyers managed by his son, John. In fact, both of their wives and several of the grandchildren are also now heavily involved in the family business as well.
Johnny Lill loved the Lord. He was a member of Gibbs Memorial Baptist Church for nearly all of his life and served in many capacities for the church over the decades. Just a few months earlier in fact, he was named Deacon Emeritus. Until his recent illness, he almost never missed a Sunday at Gibbs Memorial. Some of his favorite memories include being the director of the Royal Ambassadors (RAs) for several years. He took the boys on several trips to the lake, teaching them to water ski, fish and life skills in general.
Johnny Lill was the ultimate family man. He and Mary worked side by side at The Tax Shelter, traveled the world together and spoiled their grandchildren together. Johnny and Mary were very rarely spotted away from one another. He loved to travel and could easily be talked into going to Walt Disney World with the grandkids on short notice or taking a family cruise. He loved having family and friends visit them at Lake Oconee where they made their home for over 20 years before moving back to Bostwick just behind the church. He also enjoyed the annual Christmas shopping trip where he and Mom would pick out just right gifts for the kids and grandkids and even until a year or so ago, he insisted that they take all of the presents home and wrap them personally.
In short, he was a fine man, a gentle man, a generous man, an intelligent man who loved his family, his friends, his community, his clients and his church. Everyone who met him was a better person for knowing him. We will miss him greatly.
The family of Mr. Lill will receive friends at A.E. Carter Funeral Home in Wednesday, September 19 from 6-8PM. The funeral service will be held at Gibbs Memorial Baptist Church on Thursday, September 20 at 11AM. Interment will follow at the Bostwick City Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society.