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Marie Inez Hill (Taylor), born on January 17, 1926, in Kansas City, Missouri, passed away peacefully on December 11, 2023, in The Woodlands, Texas, surrounded by her loving family while listening to her favorite song “How Great Thou Art”. She lived a fulfilling life and passed away shortly before reaching her 98th birthday.
Marie was the daughter of Clifford and Jennie Taylor and grew up in a close-knit family that moved from Kansas City to Grand Valley, Colorado before eventually settling down in Central Oregon. As a young girl, she discovered a passion for music, played the guitar and had the nickname “Giggle Box” due to her infectious laughter.
On November 20, 1942, she married her “true love” Virgil Port Hill, and together they built a life filled with love. Below is the story of how Marie and Virgil met, from the book And There We Were – The Baker’s Son and Sawyer’s Daughter by Robert Lent, also Marie’s doting son-in-law.
“Marie Taylor met Virgil “Son” Hill when he was 19 and she was a 15-year-old sophomore in high school. During the summer of her sophomore year the Taylor family was living near a mill along Bridge Creek, Central Oregon. Marie Taylor was a high school student in Prineville and her father, Clifford, was a pond worker at the Bridge Creek Mill. One evening around dusk Marie went down to the stream to get a bucket of water so that she could wash her hair. She looked downstream and could not believe her eyes. There were two handsome young men sitting along the stream bank watching the sun set. One of these was Son Hill and the other was his brother-in-law, Roy Flanary. Roy saw the attractive young girl and ran over to help her with the water. She told Roy where she was staying and that is all that Son Hill needed to know. He dropped by the next evening to say “hello” and that was when the sparks flew.”
Marie and Virgil welcomed a son, Larry Virgil Hill, in 1943 and a daughter, Shirley Inez Lent (Hill), in 1944. They moved to Prineville, Oregon in 1949 to raise their children and this is where Marie would live for most of her life.
During her professional career, Marie worked at Moty & Van Dyke, a local automotive parts company, from 1963 to 1981. She served as a dedicated bookkeeper and office manager and was known as an intellectually curious problem solver that always read manuals and knew how things worked. Her commitment, loyalty, and hard work left a lasting impact on those she worked with and was reciprocated by the company when they supported her unconditionally while she battled to overcome advanced skin cancer in her fifties. True to her resilient spirit, a consistent theme in her life, she triumphed over cancer on three separate occasions, defying all medical expectations.
Virgil faced health challenges and succumbed in 1981 following a year-long hospitalization, with Marie by his side throughout the entire ordeal. In 1985, Marie found companionship again with Claud Binam, enjoying his friendship for eighteen years until his passing in October 2003. A special gift during this time was the addition of long-time friend Carolyn Binam, who became a cherished daughter-in-law.
Affectionately known as 'Aunt Sug' to fifteen nieces and nephews, Marie had a warm and welcoming presence that endeared her to many. She shared a special bond with her Prineville friends Carol (also Shirley’s best friend from Crook County High Schol), Molly, and Jean, collectively known as the Houston girls.
Marie was a devoted mother to her son, Larry, who she cared for most of his life due to health issues until he passed away in 2022, and best friends with her daughter, Shirley, who passed away in 2019.
Marie faced the challenges of her life with grace and grit, embodying the sturdy nature of a true country girl. Her deep love for her family was evident throughout her life, and she often expressed the importance of family, believing that "family is everything". Despite her many losses, she had the motto of "life is for the living", and always maintained a positive outlook remaining sweet, gentle and loving.
Despite her small town roots, Marie embarked on numerous adventures, exploring different corners of the world. Her journeys took her to England, France, and China, with a notable moment captured in a photograph of her reading the Central Oregonian on the Great Wall, published in the same paper. She also ventured to Alaska, Hawaii, and the Bahamas, and during the early years of her retirement, she resided in Ajijic, Mexico for a couple of years.
In her final years she was cared for by her grandson Taran, his wife Nancy, and her son-in-law Bob in The Woodlands, TX. Her family is grateful for the many loving moments and memories that were created living close to each other. She kept her sense of humor until the very end and often remarked, "I'm not old, I've just been young a very long time."
Marie Inez Hill will be remembered for her strength, kindness, and the enduring love she shared with family and friends. She is now reunited with her beloved husband Virgil, son Larry, daughter Shirley, sister Irene, brother Paul, and parents Clifford and Jennie.
She is survived by her grandson Tobin Lent and his wife Ha of San Jose, California, her grandson Taran Lent and his wife Nancy of The Woodlands, Texas and her four great-grandchildren Seneca, Tyanna, Decker Virgil, and Stege.
Marie loved deeply and unconditionally and would want all of her family and friends reading this to know, “I love you more!”
She will be interned at Juniper Haven Cemetery in Prineville, Oregon alongside her husband, daughter and son. Her parents and sister are also interned nearby in the same cemetery. A celebration of Marie's life will be held in the Spring of 2024 to honor the remarkable woman who touched the hearts of so many.