Cherry Blossoms

Shirley Claire Hill

October 12, 1934 ~ June 14, 2022 (age 87)


Shirley Claire Hill was born October 12th, 1934, in Klamath Falls, Oregon to Ralph and Esther Kerns Johnston. On June 14th, she entered the Kingdom of Heaven where she will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Shirley was the third of four children, growing up in Keno. She had a very close relationship with her father and described him as a gentle, kind man. Together they went goose hunting and made milk deliveries, memories she spoke of often. Throughout childhood, Shirley enjoyed life outside on the ranch. She graduated from Henley High School in 1953.

Shirley met Bill Hill of Merrill in 1952 while at the local 4H fair. They soon began dating and in 1954 were married on December 26th at the First Presbyterian Church of Klamath Falls, weeks before Bill left to serve in the US army.

After Bill was discharged from the military they returned to Merrill and started their family. Shirley was a loving, patient, and kind mother. Their children were raised learning hard work on the family’s ranch.  While raising her family, she worked at the bank in Merrill and served as treasurer of the Presbyterian Church for 25 years.

With her children raised and having retired from the bank, Shirley worked hard for the couple’s business, Bill Hill Quarter Horses. She could be found catching horses, assisting in their breeding program with their well-known and successful stud, Knight Robber. She fixed a hot, home cooked meal for the crew, helped with irrigation, and turned out roping cattle, rain or shine.

Shirley had an amazing artistic and creative side. She taught herself how to braid reins and tool leather, these skills came natural to her. She also could be found in the evening hours crocheting, knitting, and embroidering beautiful pieces to share with her family and friends.

Shirley had a knack at remembering names and places, if anyone had a question of who was who, where something was, or a horses’ name, she was right with her answer.

Bill and Shirley traveled frequently, looking at horses, attending horse races, cuttings, rodeos, and many ropings. Every year they looked forward to the Bob Feist Invitational where they could be found sitting in the same seats, visiting old friends and meeting new ones. They traveled extensively throughout the United States to watch PRCA rodeos, down to junior rodeos their grandchildren competed in. Grandchildren often tagged along, growing and learning through the experiences.

Throughout her life, Shirley had wonderful faith in God. She loved attending the Merrill Presbyterian Church, singing in the choir, and also attending cowboy services while traveling. She enjoyed singing old hymns and found comfort in reading her daily devotional. Her heart was placed to serve others and her giving knew no bounds. She would crotchet blankets to donate to hospice and little stocking hats for babies in the nursery, among many other acts of kindness.

Shirley beamed at the thought of her family and their accomplishments in life and in the arena. She took pride in her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. The family she helped build naturally came together in her final weeks to support each other, while nurturing Shirley with the same loving devotion she always shared and taught.

Shirley was preceded in death by her loving parents Ralph and Esther Johnston, brother Donald Johnston, older sister Kathleen Wendt and great grandchild Jameson Williamson. She is survived by her husband of 67 years Bill Hill, sister, Connie (Dean) Hill, daughters Denise Hill and Doreen (Mark) Hamlin, sons Billy Hill, and John (Peggy) Hill, grandchildren Hilary (Scotty) Pike, Markus Hamlin, Haily (Colton) Sargent, Nadia (Zach) Wells, Louis (Brittney) Hill, Raeann Hill, and Charlie (Callie Jo) Hill, finally, her great grandchildren Hudson, Warren, Callahan, Scotlyn, Wyatt, Coleman, and Hayes.

Graveside services will be held at IOOF cemetery on Sunday June 26th at 2:30 PM, followed by a celebration of life at the Merrill Presbyterian Church at 4:00 PM.

In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the Merrill Presbyterian Church or the charity of your choice.











To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Shirley Claire Hill, please visit our floral store.

Memorial Tree
A Memorial Tree was planted for Shirley

We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at O’Hair-Wards Funeral Chapel

Join in honoring their life - plant a memorial tree


Graveside Service
June 26, 2022

2:30 PM
Merrill IOOF Cemetery
IOOF Cemetery Rd
Merrill, OR 97633

Celebration of Life
June 26, 2022

4:00 PM
Merrill Presbyterian Church
210 W 2nd Street
Merrill, OR 97633

© 2022 O’Hair-Wards Funeral Chapel. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility