Obituary – Melvin Albert Hill

Melvin Hill

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Melvin Albert Hill, a long-time resident of High Prairie.
Melvin was born in High Prairie to Swedish parents Albert and Tensie Hill on March 20, 1934, and passed away on Dec. 24, 2022 at the age of 88 years. Melvin lived his entire life on the original family homestead, just west of High Prairie. This is where his love of animals was born. He especially loved his dad’s horses. Much of his childhood was spent grooming, leading, climbing on them, eventually riding and driving his dad’s team, all with his little sister Mae in tow. The amount of time they spent together led to a lifelong affection for each other.
Melvin finished his formal education in Grade 8. He then helped on the farm, before renting his own land at age 17. He attended Fairview School of Agriculture in the fall of 1952, and it is not a stretch to say these were two of the best years of his life. He was joined by longtime friends Stan Sware, Ken Sandquist and Howard Nordin. As well, he developed friendships with classmates from across the Peace Country with whom he stayed in touch the rest of his life.
Fairview is also where he met his bride, Gillian Guest, from Beaverlodge. They graduated in 1954 and were married on June 25, 1955. Melvin joked that he attended Ag School for two years and all he got out of it was a wife and a pig!
Melvin and Jill settled in High Prairie and their family grew. Carolyn (1956) arrived first, followed by Patricia (1957), Brian (1961), Lori-Ann (1965) and Rodney (1969). It made for a very busy, active and happy household.
Throughout these years, Melvin continued building the farm, growing barley, oats and later, canola, as well as keeping cows, pigs, horses, sheep, and chickens. He worked hard to stay ahead of things, but he was never too busy for a coffee and a visit. Melvin had many friends with whom he enjoyed spending time. He was a good neighbour and always willing to spend a day helping a friend when needed.
Melvin was a predominantly positive person, and his disposition helped him survive the ups and downs of the agriculture industry. He learned to find the bright side of things. Melvin and Jill enjoyed traveling. They went to Sweden in 1992 and he returned in 2013. They took a bus tour across Canada, and another to Vegas for the National Finals Rodeo.
They drove the Alaska Highway and made camping trips into B.C., as well as drives through Saskatchewan to visit his Mom’s family. They also attended the Harvest Festival in North Dakota and went to South Carolina with Mae and Bob to visit his cousin.
Melvin and Jill also spent several weeks each winter in Victoria with Lori-Ann and her family, traveling out after New Year’s, to break up the winter. Walks along the breakwater and taking the kids to the neighborhood coffee shops were favourite activities.
Perhaps the greatest pride of Melvin’s life were his 12 grandchildren. He could not contain his joy as he held each newborn. He especially loved to talk about them, their achievements, and funny things they would say and do. He was a wonderful father and grandfather.
Melvin was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Syndrome at 75 years of age. He bravely faced the challenges that this presented, all the while keeping his sense of humour and wit. As his mobility and vision worsened, he took much pleasure in visiting with friends on the phone and really appreciated those dropping in for coffee and a chat.
Melvin had a gift for numbers. He may have only met you once or twice but if he knew your birthday, he likely remembered it. At the very least the month or year. An indication of his genuine interest in people.
His affinity had other applications as well, like license plates. He would be on a holiday somewhere and would say “that plate is almost the same as Howard and Maxine’s, one number off.” Or if he was told a particular cow calved, he’d say “that’s three heifers in a row, had two bulls before that.”
Melvin’s was a life well-lived. He spent his life doing what he was passionate about, surrounded by the people he loved most, in a community he cared about.
In addition to fulltime farming, he was manager and ice maker for 21 years at the High Prairie Curling Rink. It was the perfect job for him. He got paid to drink coffee and visit. He also enjoyed countless cups next door at the arena with Rod Berg, and they developed a long friendship.
Melvin was also involved in numerous community activities and projects. Some of these included the local telephone line, figure skating, minor hockey, community pasture, local water line, United Farmers Association, High Prairie Ag Society, and he was even known to quit swathing early to work a bingo.
Later, Melvin especially enjoyed meeting for coffee at A&W. Louise was very good to him and it became his favourite hangout. As a keen community historian he earned his place among the ‘Men of Knowledge.’
Though he will be missed, his family is comforted that he left this world better than he found it. His love and devotion to family and friends, his character and integrity have been an inspiration to us all.
Melvin is survived and mourned by: his wife of 67 years, Jill; and his children, Carolyn Vasileiou (Theodora, Christina, Dionysios); Patricia (Karl Kocon; Michaela, Patrick, Avery)’ Brian; Lori-Ann (Marlen Schuck; Niklas, Markus, Matilda); Rodney (Michelle; Sara, Grace, Jonah); and his brother-in-law, Bob Gerow, and his children, Todd, Lance, and Linda.
Melvin was predeceased by: his father Albert (Nov. 30, 1963); his mother Julia (Dec. 2, 1979); and his sisters Arleen (1933) and Mae (June 10, 2021).
During his lengthy hospital stay, Melvin received compassionate and excellent care by patient, kind and dedicated hospital staff, including nursing, physio and occupational therapy, speech pathology, lab technicians, although he enjoyed teasing them about “roughing him up and torturing him”. The family is forever grateful for the gentle care they provided.
If friends so desire, a donation supporting Parkinson’s Syndrome research or treatment would be gratefully appreciated. (www.;

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