Merle Keith Hill passed away after a courageous battle with cancer on September 28, 2009. He was born September 29, 1934, in Bonners Ferry, to Cleo and Clifford Hill. He grew up in Naples later moving to Priest River, Lapwai, Sandpoint and returning to Bonners Ferry for the last 65 years.
Although as an adult he had a shy and innocent demeanor, as a young boy, Merle always seemed to be in trouble. He was frequently scolded for rearranging and playing with his dad's tools. Even though he may not have realized it at the time, these tools were the catalyst that would drive one of his greatest passions later in life- his love for building. It is also understood that Pat McManus, one of his close childhood friends, characterized some of Merle's mischievous antics as "Crazy Eddie Muldoon" in several of his books.
Merle had a special charm about him. Even when he was on his route working as a paperboy, his personality somehow always got him sitting at the table drinking milk and eating cookies. Customers loved him. It must have been this same charm that captured Helen's heart! Merle met the love of his life Helen Seaman in high school. He was smitten with her from the start and told her he would be her date to the dance, but only if she went steady with him. They were married October 16, 1954. Together they have eight children, eleven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
Merle held many jobs throughout the years including produce manager, creamery delivery person, parts manager, theater projectionist, logger and carpenter. He loved all forms of carpentry from building cabinets to building homes. That being said, the job he loved the most was being a devoted husband and father.
He also loved to fish, golf and hunt. Some of his favorite memories were gathering huge piles of brush so his family could get together for a bonfire, roasting hot dogs, laughing and drinking beer (a family tradition that lives on)!
He is survived by his loving wife Helen, his sisters Rhoda Wilson, Ruth Hunt and Karen (Bill) Amidei; his children Mike (Annette), Paul (Jane), Steve (Nancy), Nick, Ted (Danette), Gerianne (John) Hodgson, Chrissy, Bart (Kelsy), his grand and great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Merle leaves a special mark on this world. He has left us with a love for life, a love for family, a love for friends and a love for faith. It is because of these things and the love he passes on that enable us to carry on his legacy.
Thanks to all of our friends and family for your support and love. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Bonner Community Hospice or to St. Ann's Catholic Church (kitchen remodel).