August 28, 1928 - November 16, 2019
Billijean Riethmiller Hill, 91, passed away peacefully in Salem, Oregon, on November 16, 2019.
Billijean was born on August 28, 1928, in Milton-Freewater, Oregon, the daughter of William and Myrel (Bond) Riethmiller. When she was four years old, the family moved to Portland, where she grew up.
After graduating from Grant High School in 1946, she attended the University of Oregon, where she was a journalism major and a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority. She was active on campus, where she was the President of Kwama, the Sophomore Women’s Honorary, was a member of Mortarboard, and President of the YWCA. Billijean graduated in 1950 with a Bachelor’s degree in Education.
After graduation, she taught school in Portland for two years. She then married Richard H. Hill of Salem, the dashing President of road construction company, Lloyd M. Hill, Inc. They were the parents of seven children born over a 20 year span in Salem. In 1996, she and her husband moved to the Oregon Coast, where they lived for eight years. Upon Richard’s death, she returned to live in Salem. Billijean and Richard were married for 50 years, and loved to travel, visiting 72 countries.
Billijean devoted her life to family, church, and community pursuits. She took great pride in caring for her children, who all became college graduates. She was involved in youth activities, having led a 4-H sewing club, being a Den Mother in Cub Scouts for two sons, and leading a Camp Fire group for 5 years for one daughter.
Billijean was a member of the Christian Science Church for more than 60 years. She served a three-year term as Second Reader, where she read the Bible portion of the Sunday Service. She was a dedicated student of the Bible. Billijean was on the Board of Directors of the Salem Oregon Symphony Association, and Chairman of the Salem School Board Budget Committee.
Theater was always a great interest and Billijean was a member of Salem Theater Arts for more than 40 years. Other activities included P.E.O., D.A.R., and the Institute for Continued Learning at Willamette University. With her journalism background, she enjoyed writing essays of personal life experiences, which are treasured by her family. Many of the essays were published in 2013 in a book entitled, “Like Drinking Water Out of a Fire Hose.” She was also the genealogist for her family, collecting data on her two sets of maternal grandparents who were Oregon pioneers: the Bonds, who arrived in 1853, and the Brodies, who arrived in 1859.
Billijean was preceded in death by her husband, Richard, and her only sister, June (Riethmiller) Friesendahl. She is survived by her seven children, Suellen Girard (Tanner), Lloyd Hill (Kim), Melanie Hill, Robert Hill (Marypat), Nathan Hill (Bjorg), Daniel Patterson-Hill (Jessica), and David Hill (Karen). She had eighteen grandchildren: Anne Girard (Matt Danner) and Justin Girardi (Ashley) ; Katherine, Elizabeth, and Liam Hill; Nic and Alex Tkachuk; Matthew Creagan and Andrew Hill; Lars, Bendik, and Juni Hill; Sophia and Josephine Patterson-Hill; Nichole Ramirez (Nicholas), Erica Suess, and Tristan and Cameron Hill. She had 4 great grandchildren: Leona Danner; Evelyn and Gennaro Girardi; and Nathan McKay Ramirez.
There will be a Celebration of Life gathering at the Salem Christian Science Church on Sunday, December 1st at 1:00pm. Church Address: 935 High Street SE, Salem, Oregon.
In lieu of flowers or gifts - the family would be honored by contributions made in Billijean’s name to: Heifer International, 1 World Ave., Little Rock, AR 72202 (https://www.heifer.org/campaign/end-hunger-poverty-donation.html) or Adventure Unlimited, 5201 S Quebec Street, Greenwood Village, CO (https://www.adventureunlimited.org)
There are currently no guest book entries available.