Age 85, of Canyonville, Oregon, passed away on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at the hospital with his family at his bedside. He was born on February 8, 1929, in Mt. Pleasant, Utah to Leander and Annie Hill. He was married at the age of 18 to Frances Richardson. Together they raised three children of their own and many others.
Jim was a sheep herder as a teen, then worked in coal mines and oil fields. he also worked at Toole Army Depot in the chemical warfare and ammunition department. Jim learned the art of fine upholstery while living in Utah. As a young family man, he moved to Oregon and worked pruning and picking fruit in the orchards and fields. He worked at Forest Industries until its closure. Then he moved to Canyonville, where he and his wife, Frances, owned and operated Hills Upholstery for over 30 years. Jim and his friends, Ed Musser and Ed Picket started one of a first bottle clubs in Oregon which eventually led to the start of Pioneer Days in Canyonville. He was the author of two books on Insulators and also a book on Indian Artifacts. He was on the mental health advisory board for Douglas County and initiated the opening of offices in Southern Douglas County for the Health Department and the DMV. Jim also was on the National Indian Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. He helped start Indian Education Programs in the South Umpqua School District. Jim and Frank, White Buffalo Man, Sitting Bull’s grandson, together started the pow-wow in Southern Douglas County. At the first pow-wow, Jim was adopted by the Sioux Indian Tribe by Sitting Bull’s grandson. Jim was one of the most knowledgable reciters of Indian Lore; a Great “Wheeler and Dealer” of antiques, Indian Artifacts and Generalized Collectibles. He was also an artist of sketches, paintings and carvings.
He was preceded in death by his mother and father, his wife Frances, an infant son Irving Lee Hill, his sisters Lucille, Norma and Annalee and a grandson, George Willard.
He is survived by his daughters, Susan Willard and her husband Clark; Linda Owen and her husband Steve; his son, Larry Hill and his wife Tracy; grandchildren: Lucinda, Shane, Cordelia, Michael, Adam, Bradlee, Jessica, Vanessa, Alex, Mariann, Brandon, Brittany and Bob; 15 great-grandchildren; sisters, Darlene Baxter, Doris Draper, Juanita Miramontes and brother, Dave Hill; numerous nieces, nephews and family friends.
A service will be held on Monday, March 3, 2014 at 1 p.m. at Mountain View Memorial Chapel in Myrtle Creek.
In lieu of flowers, we ask that donations be made to help with funeral expenses.