Gertrude Carol Hill

Gertrude Carol Hill was born in Chattanooga, Tenn., June 5, 1903, to William and Edith Letner. Gertrude is survived by two daughters, Miriam Pierce of Benicia, Calif., and Patricia Wildman of Coupeville. She also left four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Gertrude’s long life was one of service and hard work. Her siblings and father died young, as did many people in those days. Gertrude grew up in rural Tennessee without the benefit of most of the comforts we enjoy today. The Wright Brothers flew for the first time in Kitty Hawk when she was an infant. The Titanic sank and the Panama Canal opened when she was a pre-teen. As a teenager, she was taught to knit by the Red Cross, making socks and sweaters for the Doughboys in World War I. Gertrude wryly commented that she never had a teddy bear as a child because they hadn’t been invented yet. Everyone who knew her loved her wonderful sense of humor and quick wit.

Gertrude married Chester W. Hill, Feb. 17, 1927. Her home was wired for electricity when the Tennessee Valley authority electrified much of the south during the Great Depression. Running water arrived about the same time. She followed Chester’s career with Southern Railway, establishing homes throughout the south.

Gertrude was the primary caregiver for her mother, then later for Chester after he suffered a stroke. After his death in 1983, she moved from St. Petersburg, Fla., to Benicia, Calif., to be near her daughter Miriam. In 2000, at the age of 97, she moved to Whidbey Island and to the then brand new Oak Harbor Retirement Community. She enjoyed a quiet life with a circle of loving friends, and was a favorite of the staff until her quiet passing Aug. 22, 2002.

Gertrude was cremated and will be interred in the family plot in Chattanooga, Tenn. No local services are planned. Donations to Skagit Hospice are requested.

Her family wants to thank all her many friends and especially the staff of the Oak Harbor Retirement Community for their love and support throughout her last few years here.