Liberty Hill’s ’50 or better’ crowd celebrates 13 years of Over the Hill Over the Hill Gang

This week marks the 13th birthday of one of Liberty Hill’s most popular organizations.

The Over the Hill Gang, a weekly social meeting for those age 50 “or better,” was founded on July 15th, 1998, to provide senior citizens a place to go to share a meal, a few laughs, and make new friends.

Loraine Williams and her husband, Carl, first had the idea to start The Over the Hill Gang.

“Most of the older people had nowhere to go, nothing to do,” said Mrs. Williams. “At the time, most of the city’s restaurants weren’t here, and with a lot of them being retired, there was just nothing to do during the day.”

Mrs. Williams approached James Hanley, who offered to help her secure the former Williamson County Annex Building. Hanley and Mrs. Williams worked to get the necessary signatures and petitioned the Commissioners Court for the building.

Though Hanley’s connections helped secure the building, he gives credit to Mrs. Williams.

“She did all the work. I just asked for the building. She got together with Suzy (Bates) and they made it go.”

Once permission was secured, an institution was born.

“We feed people once a week, help them get to know each other. When we started this, we weren’t from Liberty Hill, so it’s been a way to get to know everyone in town,” Mrs. Williams said, adding they moved to Central Texas from Kentucky, where her husband served in the U.S. Air Force.

That’s how it came to pass that every Thursday, between 60-65 people get together to play board games, win door prizes and eat a delicious home-cooked meal.

Though the Over the Hill Gang center started as a once a week activity, the building is now open almost every day, acting a social hub in the middle of downtown Liberty Hill.

People do more than just eat. Gatherings start out with birthday announcements, congratulations for wedding anniversaries, offers of free appliances, and prayer. Over lunch, people trade stories about their grandchildren, talk about their retirement hobbies and crack jokes about the gray in their hair.

The walls of the building are covered with pictures of their members, as well as appreciation plaques from various local organizations.

The Over the Hill Gang works closely with the Liberty Hill Lions Club, taking eyeglass donations, and has volunteered resources to the local Girl Scout Troop, and the local youth sports leagues.

“It helps everyone stay active,” said Ms. Bates, a charter member.

The group also works closely with Meals on Wheels, helping to deliver meals to seniors who are unable to make it to the building. Members are the type of people who have been active their entire lives, and the prevailing attitude can best be summed up by a cartoon clipping on the wall – “I work harder now that I’m retired.”

The Over the Hill Gang Building also offers a lending library, with shelves and shelves of books, puzzles and plenty of engaging activities.

In 13 years, the Over the Hill Gang has transformed from a simple lunch gathering to a way of life for local senior citizens. Members are among the most civically and politically active in town.

“When I first started out, people told me not to expect anything,” Mrs. Williams said. “They said, ‘You won’t get anybody to come down. Everybody in Liberty Hill fights.’ But they do come.” Members look out for their friends, organizing trips to the hospital if someone is ill, delivering meals and comfort when it is most needed.

The Over the Hill Gang will host an Open House at 10:30 a.m. July 14, and invites everyone “50 or better” to come and have a meal with them.