Elinor Marie Hill
BARABOO – Elinor (Elly) Marie Hill, age 92, a longtime Madison native, who most recently resided in Baraboo, died peacefully surrounded by her family and caregivers at St. Clare Meadows Care Center in Baraboo on May 20, 2014.
Born on April 29, 1922, in Hartville, Ohio, Elinor was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Bill, her father Clayton Wagner, her mother, Emma Rebecca (Casper) (Wagner) Brown, brother Kenneth Wagner, step-father Julius Brown, and step-brother Earl Brown.
Elinor attended Kent State University until she met the love of her life William “Bill” Richard Hill, of Madison, Wisconsin. Their sweet romance began when her step-brother and Bill were Army tent mates in Italy during World War II. When a strike came on their way home from dinner they hid in a bunker and watched as their tent was blown up before them. Somehow in that bunker their conversation turned to Elinor. Her step-brother fancied Elinor and Bill might get along and suggested they become pen pals. After many wonderful overseas letters Elinor and Bill became engaged prior to ever meeting face-to-face.
The invitations were printed and the wedding date was set when Elinor and her mother set out by train from Ohio to Wisconsin to finally meet Bill “in-person” once he returned from Italy. As Elinor told the story she was not about to marry someone she had never met in person, even if the invitations were printed. Needless to say it was love at first sight, the invitations were mailed, and three weeks later the two were married on September 29, 1945.
Elinor and Bill were happily married for 56 years, residing in Madison, until Bill’s death in 2001. Asked recently about sharing their love letters, the always pragmatic Elinor said she had thrown them out because she and Bill already knew the contents.
The light of Elinor and Bill’s life was their only child, James “Jim” William Hill, DDS, of Madison and Baraboo. Jim’s love for dentistry and business was ignited in his parent’s basement. Bill was a sheet metal worker by day and did dental technician work at night, side-by-side with Elinor, as she ran her own accounting business from the basement. Jim grew up playing in-between the two of them as they happily did their work.
Elinor was always a career woman even in an era where it wasn’t the norm. She began in her twenties doing accounting for Cunocar Accounting, a mobile accounting firm, later running her own accounting business from her home so she could care for her son. Eventually she began working as Controller for her son’s dental practice, Excellence in Dentistry, Madison and Cottage Grove. She worked there for 33 years, until retiring in 2013 at age 91.
Elinor was a quiet thoughtful person who was well loved by all who knew her and understood her dry sense of humor and enormously strong work ethic. Elinor’s father died when she was only six years old and Elinor reminisced about helping her widowed mother run “The Wisteria Tea Room” located in their home in Hartville, Ohio, in the late 20’s and early 30’s where they hosted local business and associations such as the Rotary Club. Elinor was also an accomplished pianist passing her love of music on to her grandchildren. She greatly enjoyed listening to her grandson Christopher play his trumpet and granddaughter Taylor play piano. Christopher majored in music education, graduated from Marquette Dental School and recently also became a dentist. One of Elinor’s greatest joys came in April when she met her first and only great grandchild, Ryan.
This past year Elinor made her home at St. Clare Meadows Care Center where she was loved by residents and caseworkers alike. She continued to work hard at the Meadows by trying to help man the nurse’s stations. A dog lover all her life, she loved sneaking treats to the Meadow’s resident pet Golden Retriever, Lace, who often frequented her room. She always had chocolate to offer and was affectionately known as “little sweetheart” for her never-ending smile, her colorful style with the feathers she wore in her hair, and her wonderful demeanor. The Meadows staff gathered at her bedside her last day for a caring quilt service with her family. Elinor was a longtime member of Westminster Presbyterian Church, the Madison Elks Club, and the Daughters of the Nile.
She will be greatly missed by her son, James “Jim” Hill (Rebecca) of Madison and Baraboo, who always called her “Mama Bear” and his best friend. She is also survived by grandchildren; Christopher (Nikki) Hill and infant great grandson Ryan, of Columbus, Wisconsin, Taylor Hill of Middleton, step-grandson; Michaela McCarthy (Drew Groth) of Milwaukee and Gabrielle Marx of Baraboo, many loving nieces and nephews, co-workers and patients at Excellence in Dentistry in Madison and Cottage Grove, as well as many Madison area friends and extended family members in Baraboo.
Family and friends will be received from 4 pm to 6:30 pm, Friday, May 23 at Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison, Wisconsin. Family and Friends Chapel Service and Entombment will take place at Roselawn Memorial Park Chapel, 401 Femrite Dr., Monona, May 24 at 10 am.
The family wishes to thank Eric Hamburg, his wife, Mary Hamburg, NP, for their medical and pastoral care, and the wonderful, caring extended staff at St. Clare Meadows Care Center.
Three words that best sum up Elinor, “Our Mama Bear”.
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