Welcome to the memorial page for

Hilda Haywood Poplin

October 17, 1931 ~ December 3, 2017 (age 86)

Hilda Haywood Poplin, age 86, died Sunday, Dec. 3, surrounded by her family in the home where she was born in Mt. Gilead, N.C.


A Celebration of Hilda’s Life will be held at 1:00 PM Saturday, December 9, 2017 at First United Methodist Church in Mt. Gilead. A visitation and reception will be held immediately following the service at the family home.


Born on Oct. 17, 1931, to Myrtie Kelley and Frank Haywood, Hilda and her beloved husband of 63 years, Earl S. Poplin, had restored her childhood home and moved back to Mount Gilead in 2001.


Hilda – or, as her grandchildren called her, “Poppy” – was diagnosed with acute leukemia three and a half years ago. She was known as a true Southern lady who could disarm anyone with her charm, from the German ambassadors from Mount Gilead’s sister city to the doctors and nurses who helped care for her through her sickness. But she was also feisty and fiercely loyal to her family and friends as well as her own convictions. She looked down on no one, nor was she in awe of anyone. After overcoming what she referred to as being “painfully shy” in her youth, she became known as one of the most outspoken people in town; she did not suffer fools gladly. She used to say, “When I die, if all they say is that I was ‘cute’ or ‘sweet’ I’ve done something very wrong.”


She took great pride in how she presented herself – she made sure she had her hair done before every single doctor appointment – and was an accomplished artist. She surrounded herself with beauty, including making her home an orderly showplace, decorated with many of her original paintings and complemented with Haywood family heirlooms and various antiques. She and Earl took great pride in not only showing off their home but making sure everyone felt comfortable there. She was always generous with her time, talents and resources.


Hilda lived her life with a special sense of humor, which she passed down to her children and grandchildren, and a remarkable positive outlook due in no small part to her strong religious convictions. In the years since her cancer diagnosis and a doctor’s prediction that she had only six months to live, literally hundreds of friends and family made it a point to stop by the house to visit, offer support and tell Poppy what she meant to them. More often than not, she ended up comforting them by making them laugh. As Earl once said, “Poppy not only laughs a lot, she lights up a room with her smile.” She learned from her mother to pass out bouquets as she went along, and she was good at it.


She saw goodness and purity that most of us overlook, except maybe for children. Perhaps that explains why she felt such a kinship and love for little ones. Her family will never forget that Poppy’s final big, light-up-the-room smile came when her infant grand-granddaughter Wednesday plunked down on the bed beside her. That, somehow, set things in order.


She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers Frank Haywood and E.C. DeBerry; and grandson Tyrus Kelley Poplin.


She will be remembered by her husband, Earl; brother, Richard Haywood and wife Peggy; sons Earl Kelley Poplin and wife Alice, Austin Kyle Poplin and wife Myra; grandchildren Margaret Ellen Poplin and husband Erick Jaudon, Mary Morley Poplin and husband Sheldon Morley, Samuel Austin Poplin, Carson Aline Poplin and Olympia Ann Poplin; and great-granddaughter Wednesday Poplin Morley; as well as many cousins, nieces and nephews.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Saving Sadie Rae (, 37987 Trinity Circle, New London, N.C., 28127) or the Cure Sanfilippo Foundation (, P.O. Box 6901, Columbia, S.C., 29260).


 Service Information

Celebration of Life
December 9, 2017

1:00 PM
First United Methodist Church
100 North Main Street
Mt. Gilead, NC 27306

Gathering of Family and Friends
December 9, 2017

2:00 PM
Family Home
201 East Haywood Street
Mt. Gilead, NC 27306

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