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Whitesitt Funeral Home
& Cremation Service

Family Owned & Operated Since 1902
314 Church St. | P.O. Box 12
Stevensville, Montana, 59870
Phone 406-777-5711 | Fax 406-777-0181
Email: whitesittfh@gmail.com

Merrill James Hill

Born: Sun., May 30, 1937
Died: Thu., Oct. 17, 2019

Funeral Service

12:30 PM Thu., Oct. 24, 2019
Location: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

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Stevensville - Merrill James Hill passed away October 17, 2019. Dad was born May 30, 1937 to Edwin and Fern Hill in Idaho Falls, Idaho. In his childhood he roamed the countryside of their home in Ashton, ID with his beloved horse, Ol’ Paint, until the family moved to Corvallis, Montana in 1953. He graduated from Corvallis High School in 1955. After serving a mission in West Virginia for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he grudgingly laid aside his childhood aspirations of being a garbage man who drove pink horses and studied accounting at the University of Montana. When he passed the CPA exam his junior year, the country boy decided to tackle the big city, and he moved to Seattle to work for Price Waterhouse as a CPA. There he met Susan Sampson, and they were married June 8, 1968 in the Idaho Falls, Idaho LDS temple. Feeling their life was void of drama, they went on to add five daughters and a single brave son to their home. Strangely, the boys spent a lot of time camping through the years. After seven years in Seattle, the family moved to the Bitterroot Valley for six months for Dad to complete his undergraduate degree. The pull of the valley proved too hard to resist, and they made Stevensville their home for 43 years and 6 months longer than originally planned. After completing his bachelor’s degree in accounting, he received his MBA as well. Through the years Dad worked at varying times as a CPA, professor, and as a consultant to local businesses. In his later years, he was a fixture at Costco where he filled his time as a greeter or handing out samples. Dad loved the outdoors and could often be found camping or hiking in his younger years, then later wearing paths around Stevensville as he was loathed to give up his independence. He was heavily involved in Scouts and Search and Rescue and was trained as an EMT. He had a passion for learning matched by few, and would share his studies on memory work, mind mapping, education, essentials oils, or the virtues of bean flour with anyone who would stand still for the few seconds it took to reel them into a conversation. Dad never met a stranger. He could often be found at the home games at Stevensville High School, cheering on the kids on the court. He was their biggest fan. Dad is survived by his sister, Lois Anderson (Springville, UT); children Shelly (Kent) Butler (Cumming, GA), Wendy (Movakel) Hill-Sargizi (Seattle, WA), Heidi Hill (Westminster, CO), Carrie (Ryan) Christensen (Erie, CO), Matthew Hill (Stevensville, MT), Amy (Steven) Orme (Rigby, ID); and 17 grandchildren. A funeral service and reception to follow will be held Thursday, Oct. 24, 12:30 p.m. at the Stevensville LDS Church located at 100 Middle Burnt Fork Rd, Stevensville, MT. As a family we would like to thank the community for keeping an eye on Dad. We appreciate all the rides given, friendly conversations that lifted his spirits, and your efforts combined with ours to convince him to use the cane he so stubbornly refused. He went out just the way he would have wanted, never having to sacrifice his independence. We are grateful to you all.

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Condolence Booklet

Vickie Vernon
   Posted Mon October 21, 2019
I will miss your dad and all of our conversations, hand shakes, and smiles. He was a good man with a good heart.

Laura Newman
   Posted Mon October 21, 2019
Your dad has been at all of both of my girl's sporting events. We all appreciate his support so much! I would also run into him in the grocery store, and he always had a smile on his face and kind words to say. I am so sorry for your loss.

Angela Hudgins
   Posted Mon October 21, 2019
We are so sorry to hear of the passing of your dad. Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
Mike and Angela Hudgins

Pat Pfau
   Posted Mon October 21, 2019
Merrill was a genuinely kind man who loved His independence. He was also a man who liked to help people if he could. When we lost Rita he was eager to help with our grief and shared some articles on death and grief. Thank you Merrill. We are so ever thankful for his friendship. Jim and I enjoyed our visits with him over the great many years and we will miss him.

Steven Coop
   Posted Mon October 21, 2019
I was so sad to hear the news of your dad's passing. As a transplant to Stevensville in 2014, your dad quickly accepted me into the community and was happy to share his knowledge of the history, the best places to eat, and places to visit. Despite my every effort to give him a ride, he only took my offer once, for a ride to watch the Yellowjacket Basketball team play in Hamilton. His independence was fierce as was his love for the students, staff and athletes in the high school. I will miss seeing him at games, in the market or enjoying conversation with the patrons at Cenex.

Carola Mielke
   Posted Mon October 21, 2019
Merrill made the soda fountain at Valley Drug is home away from home, especially when his health brought him home to Stevensville. So many wonderful conversations and a sneak peak into his wonderful mind and plans. We spent lots of time talking about his Mom, since she was my 6th grade teacher. He knew a much nicer person than I thought I knew. Just don't try to make him use that stupid cane. I am so proud to say he was my friend. The world need alot more Merrills in it. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this most difficult time. Know he is making heaven an even greater place.

Sheila Cather
   Posted Tue October 22, 2019
Dear Hill Family,

I am so sorry for the loss of your father! He was one of the kindest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. My thoughts and prayers are with each and everyone of you during this difficult time.

Ellen Kleber from Valley Drug
   Posted Tue October 22, 2019
So sorry for you lose, we have all lost a wonderful man. He was always kind to whom ever was around, he had lots of stories to tell whom ever would listen. He would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. He always had a smile on his face to share with anyone. He will be dearly missed. God Bless him and we'll see him again in heaven again.

Betty V Landwehr
   Posted Wed October 23, 2019
To all you kids and grandkids: I met Merrill in the insurance office. He knew what he wanted and we did it. Even when he was told by Matt that he shouldn't/couldn't drive after his stroke, he kept some insurance on his car 'just in case"! The car is still there, waiting for Merrill to take it for a spin. He had such a brilliant mind. So kind and friendly all the time. I loved getting a sample from him at Costco. He just loved doing that just to be around people! You kids are so fortunate to have had such a wonderful father and I think you all know it. Even though he thought Matt was putting the 'brakes' on him the past few years, he loved you dearly. May you all remember his special ways. I am honored to have known Merrill. I am so sorry for your loss.
Betty Landwehr

Sherri Williams
   Posted Wed October 23, 2019
What a beautiful obituary! As I read, I could hear Wendy and/or Amy reading it aloud to me (it was definitely written by a Hill daughter). I will miss your dad. Even though we all can't manage it, he is one of the few people who lived a life centered around enjoying human connections and the outdoors. He had a happy disposition and appreciated conversing with others. I love your family; every one of you.

Wilma Allen
   Posted Thu October 24, 2019
To Lois, and Merrill's family,
I am sorry for your loss. I just read the obit this morning so am not able to make
Services today. We all had such good times at CHS.
Would love to hear from you, Lois.
Wilma Allen

Ashley Eyre
   Posted Thu October 24, 2019
I’m so sad to hear about the passing of Merrill. It was always fun to talk to him at home games, and see him at church or walking down Main Street. He was a great man and will be missed by the whole community. I’ll personally miss reminding him my name so he could write it in his book each time we talked:) such a sweet soul❤️

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