Housteene Hays Prior

May 17, 1933April 12, 2018

Housteene Hays (Tina) Prior, 84, passed away at home from complications of lymphoma, a disease she has had for over 20 years. She died on April 12, 2018, with family and Vitas Healthcare (hospice) and Visiting Angels helping. We thank the many people who served with Orlando Health Cancer Clinic over the years. Tina will be cremated and her remains interred in Bethbirei Cemetery, in Marshall County, TN, at a later date, next to her parents.

Tina was born on May 17, 1933, at home on the Hays dairy farm in Marshall County, a child of Charley Allen Hays and Brownie Elizabeth Houston. Her name, Housteene, was derived from Houston, a famous Scots-Irish name and clan. Hers was a rural existence. They didn’t get electric power until she was in her teens.

Her long line of ancestors began with the great grandfather of King Charlemagne, Clovis the Riparian, King of Frankish Cologne, 466-511. Her Houston founder was Sir Hugo de Padinan, 1133-1189 who built the Houston Castle in Houston, Scotland. Her line of Houstons emigrated to America about 1725, settling in Rockbridge County, Virginia. Her line of the Hays family came from England to the Carolinas then Virginia about the same time. Both families served in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and more recently the First World War (her father, Private Company I, 323 Infantry), World War II, and the Korean War, (her brother, first Lt Armor, 65th Infantry.

She married Lt. James A. (Jim) Prior on September 14, 1956, at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. She is a graduate of Tennessee Polytechnic with a double major in History and Sociology. Her first job was with Civilian Personnel at Redstone Arsenal, where she was a clerk for the “Paperclip” Group.” vonBraun’s group. She and Jim met at the Aresnal cafeteria one day for lunch and their story lasted until her death, 62 years later. Jim had been transferred to White Sands Proving Ground before their marriage, and that began a long list of places they lived. Theirs was an adventurous one through and beyond the Cold War days, mostly in missiles and aerospace. She is a member of the White Sands Pioneer Group. They lived in El Paso, White Sands, Huntington Woods, MI, Huntsville, Itlay, and Melbourne Beach, Florida where her two daughters were born, she also lived in Cincinnati, Deltona, and finally settled for the rest of their time in Sanford, 44 years ago. Tina loved animals, especially cats, of which she had many.

Tina was a retired social worker of the Florida Health and Rehabilitative Service, now known as Children and Families. She had previously worked for the Volusia County School System and Seminole Junior College. She was a member of Ikebana International, in the Sogetsu School of Japanese Flower Arranging, Chapter 132, in Orlando.

In their travels they lived in Italy for almost two years in the late 50s. They visited Germany, Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands, France, Switzerland, England, Scotland, Austria, Greece and Turkey, some several times, with visits lasting from a few days to a few weeks. Italy was their first and last stop and the growth and progress was very apparent in the intervening 36 years.

Tina was predeceased by her parents, her brother, Col. Willard Murrel Hays Ph.D., and many cousins. She is survived by her husband, James A. Prior, her two children; Andrea Karen Farmer (Michael), and Elizabeth Hays Shashaty (Raymond) and her four Shashaty grandchildren; Jessica Hays, Leah Emily, James Raymond and Anisa Grace. She is also survived by Bland Houston, Ph.D., her sister in law, Peggy Louise Hays, nieces, Keltie Louise Peay, Meridith Gail Hays and several Hays relatives including the Benincasa family, Francesco and Giulia, and Marianne Richter and her children. We cannot forget her cousins Joseph Clark and family and Joe Houston Allen and family. Charles Houston, and lifelong friend Ann Jennings.

A Memorial Service is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Saturday, April 21, 2018 at Upsala Presbyterian Church in Sanford, Florida.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made in her name to:

Upsala Presbyterian Church, 101 Upsala Road, Sanford, Florida 32771

Journey's End Animal Sanctuary, P.O. Box 22016, Glenwood, Florida 32722

Bethbirei Presbyterian Church, care of Nelda Adgent, Treasurer, P.O. Box 2752, Lewisburg, TN 37091

A memorial service in Lewisburg will be planned for the Bethbirei Church and Cemetery at a later date when a monument is installed.

Arrangements entrusted to Baldwin-Fairchild Oaklawn Chapel in Sanford, Florida


  • Memorial Service Saturday, April 21, 2018

Housteene Hays Prior

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Jacqueline Ducksworth

December 8, 2018

My name is Jacqueline Duckworth. I was Mrs. Prior supervisor with the Department of Children and Families with the state of Florida for several years. Mrs. Prior was a very sweet caring smart lady. It was a pleasure working and knowing Mrs. Prior. God Bless .

Liz Shashaty

June 15, 2018

Miss you Mom!