Betty Zane Hill


Posted: Sunday, April 09, 2006

Former Juneau resident Betty Zane Hill, 79, died March 28, 2006, at the Bitterroot Valley Living Center in Stevensville, Mont., from complications due to heart disease.

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She was born on Nov. 17, 1926, in Los Angeles, Calif., to Major and Laura Snyder. Her family moved to Eugene, Ore., in 1941, and she graduated from South Eugene High School in 1946.

Her family had moved to the Junction City area, where she married Walter F. Hill on June 17, 1945. Their farm was part of the Donation Land Claim, established in 1853 by Walter's great grandfather, Hanks Neville Hill and his family. Prior to Walter's death on Oct. 17, 1951, the couple had three children. Betty then married Walter's cousin James J. Hill on June 15, 1952, and moved to Corvallis, Ore., until 1954.

In the spring of 1955, together with Clark and Dorothy Hill, they bought the International Harvester dealership in Junction City. The couple adopted twin daughters in 1957. The dealership was sold in 1963, and the family moved to Ontario, Ore., and then Oregon City, Ore., before moving to Juneau, where they lived for 17 years (1969-1986).

While in Alaska, she began a career as the Head Cook for the CBJ School District hot lunch program. She then worked with the Alaska Marine Ferry System and rose to the position of chief cook on the MV Taku. Family members said she was well known and respected by her crew for her culinary and baking abilities.

The Hills returned to the family farm in Junction City, Ore., to their homestead in 1986 and continued the family tradition of hosting reunions of Hill family descendants.

Family and friends said, "The Hill family was one of the original families rescued near Oakridge in 1853, as part of what has become known as the 'Lost Wagon Train.' After Jim's death on March 11, 1989, from liver transplant complications, Betty continued to live on the homestead, where she took pride in her extensive flower and vegetable gardens."

She enjoyed reading and knitting, and the company of her dogs, when she was not traveling.

Throughout her married life, whenever she lived in Junction City, she was an active member of the Alvadore Thursday Club. She moved to Alpine Springs, an assisted living facility in Eugene, in 2004, and then to the Bitterroot Valley Living Center in Stevensville, Mont., in 2005, to be closer to her daughter Carol.

She was preceded in death other then her husbands listed above; first son, Dale; and sisters, Evelyn Bachman and Caroline Snider, both long time residents of the Eugene and Alvadore areas.

She is survived by her brother, Jay Snyder of Auburn, Calif.; children, Larry and Sandi Hill of Grand Junction, Colo., Carol and Cornellis Quist of Corvallis, Mont., Atricia and Al Makaily of Juneau and Cris Hill of Fairbanks; as well as six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren Montana, Colorado and Alaska.

At her request, a memorial gathering will be scheduled later this summer at the Alvadore Christian Church. The family suggests that contributions may be made in her name to a local Hospice organization. Any cards and condolences may be sent to Trish Makaily by calling (907) 789-0256 or mailing to 8399 Nugget Drive, Juneau, AK, 99801.

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