Edwin Gillard Hill

January 23, 1919 ~ December 18, 2006 (age 87)

YAKIMA - On January 23, 1919, Edwin Gillard Hill was born in a farmhouse near Greensboro, Georgia. He was one of the lucky few to have been brought into this world with the help of a real M.D. The youngest of three children in the early Depression, he always seemed to be hungry, licking any skillet whenever possible. To his Georgia friends and family, the nickname "Lick Skillet", later shortened to Lick, stayed with him all of his life.

After the devastating death of his mother in 1936, 17-year-old Ed enlisted in the Civilian Conservation Corps, serving a total of three years in Georgia and Washington State. He has said many times that those three years in the CCC were the most enjoyable and rewarding ones of his life. While at the Smokey Creek Camp near Mt. Adams, he saw his future wife Velma Barger walking along a camp road. It was love at first sight. Less than two months later, handsome Ed and beautiful Velma were married in her parents'' Wapato home, having found the true happiness they had been searching for.

Within a couple of years they started their family, two boys and a girl. Ed served in the Army during WWII, worked as a mechanic, and worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Wapato School District, and the City of Yakima, from where he eventually retired. Upon retirement, he spent the next seven years researching and writing "In the Shadow of the Mountain, The Spirit of the CCC" (Washington State University Press). The book describes what life was like for an enrollee in the CCC in Georgia and the Pacific Northwest. WSU Press has wholeheartedly thanked Ed for his "we can take it" diligence and determination in keeping the "spirit" of the Civilian Conservation Corps alive for later generations to read about. Ed was past President of the Yakima Valley Chapter 39 of the National Association of Civilian Conservation Corps Alumni.

Ed has been completely committed and dedicated in his service to His Lord Jesus Christ. Ed faithfully served his Lord at the Wapato First Baptist Church. Ordained as its first deacon in 1962, he has been Head Deacon for the past 40 years. Ed, and wife Velma, as the church pianist, worked tirelessly in their community. Ed counseled hundreds of young people and adults, visited hospitals and nursing homes, went wherever he was needed, and did what needed to be done. Ed was a wonderful example of Christian love and service.

As Ed and Velma''s 65-year marriage proceeded, they grew together... laughing and crying, struggling and succeeding, but always deeply committed to each other and their family. He was the laughter of her soul, and she was the joy of his life. A two-time cancer survivor, Ed bravely faced this battle for the third time, but lost on December 18, 2006. He is now with our Lord and Savior and his beloved wife Velma. Surely, Ed rejoiced when he heard his Heavenly Father say, "Well done, thy good and faithful servant."

Ed, Dad, Papa, Friend, is survived by his three children, Ron Hill (Bonnie) of Wapato, Carole Yager (Arne) of Woodinville, Edwin Hill, Jr. (Sharron) of Yakima; twelve grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; and one brother, Allen Hill (Nell) of Hull, Georgia.

Services will be held at the First Baptist Church of Wapato on Friday, December 22, at 1:00 PM, with graveside services at the Reservation Cemetery on West Wapato Road. A reception will immediately follow the graveside services in the church''s Fellowship Hall. Viewing will be at Shaw & Sons Funeral Directors, 201 N. 2nd St. in Yakima on Thursday, December 21, from 3:00 -7:00 PM. Memorials may be sent to the First Baptist Church, PO Box 385, Wapato, WA 98951.

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