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A Taste of Tattnall: Hilda Tootle
Hilda on Mother’s Day in 2021
Hilda on Mother’s Day in 2021

Hilda Baxter Tootle, age 95, of Reidsville, has lived a life that reflects God’s word. Jesus Christ is her Savior, and she hopes to have been the hands and feet of the Lord to all who have crossed paths with her.

“I have had a good life,” Hilda said. “I have been on the mountain top, and I have walked in the valleys. But, the Lord was always with me. The Lord is my shepherd, and I have tried to follow and praise Him. Every morning, I discipline myself to spend time with my Lord, reading and spending time in His word. I thank Him for my life, health, and blessings, which I cannot count.”

One of Hilda’s favorite Bible verses is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

It is Hilda’s prayer for all to come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. She wants all to know that Jesus will give you peace that the world cannot take away and a joy the world cannot give.

Hilda grew up in a Christian home where the Bible was real, and prayer was taught. She has taught Sunday School at Reidsville Baptist Church since 1962. She also works the Senior Citizens Luncheon and is on the Bereavement Committee at the church. 

Hilda and her twin sister, Wilda, were born on January 5, 1927, to Lathan and Gussie (Brannen) Baxter of Glennville. They also had another sister, Etwilda. 

The twins grew up as best friends, and both graduated from Glennville High School in 1943. Hilda is one of the three living members of that graduating class, totaled at 58 graduates. Wilda died at age 90, and Hilda admits that she misses having her sister with her.

Hilda attended Middle Georgia College and the University of Georgia, later working as a clerk and bookkeeper for the federal government. She then married her late husband, Robert Tootle, who she met just before he took her on an airplane ride. 

She has three children, Jim (Mary) Tootle; Amber (Jim) Murray, also a pilot like her father; and Jerry Tootle, who have all retired. Jim and Mary have two children, Jeremiah (Calleigh) Tootle and Erika (Aubrey) Shirley.  Erika and Aubrey have two sons, Wyatt and Wynn. 

In her spare time, Hilda enjoys spending time with her family, attending and teaching at church, crocheting, reading and spending time in God’s word, and traveling. Hilda has been to all of the U.S. states except four, and she has visited Canada, Nova Scotia, England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Europe, and others. 

Hilda also enjoys cooking and baking very much. Her mother taught her how to cook at a very young age. 

“Mother would instruct me on what to cook and how to cook it while she was doing laundry or cleaning up the house,” Hilda said. “I used to bake a lot. A lemon cream pie is my favorite desert to make.”

Hilda Tootle’s Recipes


1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cocoa

1/4 cup cornstarch

pinch of salt

3 cups milk

3 egg yolks

1-1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1 basic pastry shell (9- inch)

1/2 cup whipping cream

3 Tbsp. powdered sugar

1/4 cup chopped almonds, toasted

Combine first four ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Combine milk and egg yolks; gradually stir into sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Immediately pour into bakery pastry shell. Cover filling with waxed paper. Let cool 30 minutes; then chill until firm. 

Beat whipping cream until foamy; gradually add powdered sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Spoon whipped cream around edge of pie; sprinkle with almonds. Yield: One 9-inch pie. 


(Gussie Lee Brannen Baxter)

1 can milk (13 fl. oz.)

1 can water

4 eggs, separated

4 Tbsp. cornstarch 

1 cup sugar

1 Tbsp. vanilla

pinch of salt

1-1/2 cups shredded coconut

1 baked pie shell


4 egg whites

pinch of salt

4 Tbsp. sugar

pinch of cream of tartar

1 tsp. vanilla

Mix sugar, cornstarch, and pinch of salt; add milk and water slowly and mix well. Place over medium heat and cook until thickened. Add beaten egg yolks (add a little custard to yolks; mix and add more mix, then pour into custard). Cook until thickened. Remove from heat and add 1 to 1-1/2 cups coconut and vanilla. Pour into a baked pie shell. This is a large pie (10” pie plate). 

Make meringue out of egg whites. Using two tablespoons of sugar per 1 egg white, pinch of salt, pinch of cream of tartar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until stiff peaks appear.  Put meringue over pie filling and bake in a preheated 350-degree F. oven until brown. 


(Hilda’s Favorite)

1 cup sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

3 egg yolks

1/3 cup lemon juice

1 8-inch baked pie shell

5 Tbsp. cornstarch

2 cups milk

3 Tbsp. butter

1 tsp. grated lemon rind

Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add milk gradually and stir until smooth. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened throughout, about 10 minutes. Stir a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks, stirring constantly. Combine with remaining hot mixture. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, about five minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter, lemon rind, and juice; blend thoroughly. Set aside while preparing the meringue. Pour filling into baked pie shell. Pile meringue on filling. Spread, sealing to edge of crust and finish by swirling too. Bake in moderate oven, 350 degrees until top of regular surface is golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool before cutting. Makes one 8-inch pie. 

Soft Meringue:

3 egg whites

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. lemon extract (or 1 tsp. lemon juice)

6 Tbsp. sugar

Have egg whites at room temperature. Add salt and lemon extract or juice to whites and beat to coarse foam. Add sugar in 1-tablespoon portions, beating constantly. After the addition of sugar, beat until stiff and very glossy but not dry. Spread over filling in baked pie shell.