Who is Billye Aaron? Late Hank Aaron's wife gets standing ovation at MLB All-Star game

MLB legend and Hall of Famer Henry 'Hank' Aaron died on January 22, 2021, and his wife Billye Aaron was honored at MLB All-Star game


                            Who is Billye Aaron? Late Hank Aaron's wife gets standing ovation at MLB All-Star game
Billye Aaron with husband Hank Aaron in 2004 (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Baseball legend Hank Aaron's legacy was honored before the MLB All-Star Game on July 13, 2021. The legendary right fielder and Hall of Famer died on January 22, 2021, at the age of 87. Henry 'Hank' Aaron is remembered not only as an MLB icon but also as a civil rights activist. Nicknamed 'Hammer' or 'Hammerin' Hank', he was hailed as one of the greatest players in American sports history. Aaron had played for 23 seasons from 1954 to 1976 — 21 seasons with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves and two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Ahead of Tuesday's MLB All-Star Game, the Coors Field stadium celebrated Aaron by honoring his wife Billye Aaron. Before the national anthem was played, a tribute video for Aaron was shown on the video board, which included highlights of his career as well as his fight for social rights. Meanwhile, Billye was presented with a framed Hank Aaron jersey, signed by each of the All-Stars, along with a painting that portrayed Aaron's journey in life. As Freddie Freeman of the Braves and Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge escorted Billye to the home plate, she was given a standing ovation by the entire stadium.

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Who is Billye Aaron?

Billye was born as Billye Suber Williams on October 16, 1936, in Anderson County, Texas. Her parents were Nathan Suber and Annie Mae Smith Suber. After attending Clemons School in Neches, she later graduated from Lincoln High School in Dallas, Texas. In college, Billye took up English and earned a BA degree from Texas College in 1958.

Billye Aaron, the widow of Hank Aaron, waves to the crowd during a ceremony prior to the 91st MLB All-Star Game at Coors Field on July 13, 2021 in Denver, Colorado (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

A passionate academic, she wished to study further and received a fellowship from Atlanta University. In 1960, she graduated with a Master's degree, according to The History Makers. Thereafter, she continued her higher education at the University of California in Berkeley. At the beginning of her career, Aaron was an English teacher in the Atlanta public school system as well as higher education institutions like Spelman College, Morehouse College, South Carolina State College and Morris Brown College. Later, she decided to pursue a career in television and was selected as the co-host for WSB-TV's 'Today in Georgia' — an hour-long daily talk show. She became the first African-American woman in the southeast to co-host a daily talk show.

Around that time, Billye was married to her first husband Samuel W Williams. However, tragedy struck soon after as she lost her husband in 1970. It was at a juncture like this that she met Aaron. The two fell in love and got married in 1973. The same year, Billye started hosting her own weekly talk show 'Billye' on WTMJ- TV. 

Billye Aaron and Hank Aaron in 2011 (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

For 14 years since 1980, the powerhouse woman served as the development director for the Atlanta branch of the United Negro College Fund. During her tenure, she co-hosted the telethon 'Lou Rawls Parade of Stars', co-founded the Mayor's MASKED Ball and made history by becoming the second-ever woman at the organization to serve as vice president of the south. She finally retired in 1994. 

Together with her husband Aaron, Billye launched Chasing the Dreams Foundation post her retirement. The charitable organization awards scholarships to fund the education of children from low-income families. Billye has also been a member of the NAACP for a long time and chaired their premiere fundraiser for five years. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund named her the director emeritus. Her work and achievements have also been honored with multiple awards, including the 2003 Martin Luther King, Jr. “Salute to Greatness” and the YWCA Woman of Achievement award.

Billye is also a doting mother to her and Aaron's daughter Ceci Haydel, her daughter from her marriage with Samuel Williams as well as Aaron's five children from his first marriage. 

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