Hill is grand marshal
From the Fair Premium Book
Born and raised in Milton-Freewater, Oregon, Hill had a unique plan for her life.
“I wanted to work in a leprosy colony,” Hill explained. “I had read about the people with leprosy and how they suffered and I had such a burden for them. I wanted to be a nurse.”
However, her life, like plans of the young often do, took her down another path.
“When I met Rene—well, he just wooed my off my feet,” she laughed.
In 1948 the couple married and they traveled to Idaho in 1953.
They ranched on the Salmon River and also lived in Cottonwood then moved to the Tolo Lake area in 1968.
Rene had a hereditary kidney disease that had already taken the lives of his mother and much of his family.
“I was determined not to let him go,” Hill said.
The result was the removal of Rene’s infected kidneys and the couple having the first kidney dialysis machine on the prairie.
Hill had spent her years in Cottonwood working at the hospital and obtained nursing experience so she was the caretaker for Rene and ran the kidney machine. Rene died in July 1972.
Hill lived five more years at the Tolo Lake ranch. After four years alone she became acquainted with Joe Hill of Grangeville.
A year after their marriage the couple moved to the old Kogle place on U.S. Highway 95 which became famous for Hill’s gardening and Christmas lighting displays.
During Rene’s illness, Hill became involved with the local Red Cross blood drive. She continues to coordinate the event.
In addition, from 1986-1996, Hill helped run the Camas Prairie Hospice, which she founded.
Hill has also been involved in the American Cancer Society’s Look Good, Feel Great program, helping obtain wigs, turbans, and other items for those who have cancer.
While living at Tolo Lake, Hill became a member of the Fenn Domestic Club and later served as North Idaho Extension Council district president.
Joe died of a heart attack in 2002 and a few years later Hill moved to town.
Hill worked in the home extension booth at the fair for many years and even asked her son to remodel the booth so those cooking hamburgers could watch the fair-goers.
“I cannot tell you how many burgers I cooked over there,” she laughed. “A lot!”
Hill continues to garden at her own home as well as Syringa General Hospital, the Idaho County courthouse, and at the Sts. Peter and Paul school and church.
“I think I’ve been gardening since about 1949,” she said. “It is therapy for me, even when I’m not feeling too well.”
Nowadays Hill is kept company by two cats, a dog, seven grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, and her many activities.