A Celebration of Eldon's life will be held at the Loyal American Legion, in Loyal, WI, on Monday, August 7, 2023 from 4pm to 7pm.
Eldon Fred Hill, a retired Obstetrician-Gynecologist, passed away peacefully on April 26, 2023, at the age of 102, in Redmond, WA. Eldon was born in 1921 to Harold and Anna Hills in Loyal, Wisconsin, where he spent most of his life before moving to Washington in his later years.
Eldon grew up during the Great Depression, and the community played an important role in his upbringing. As a child, he raised rabbits, chickens, and calves for sale, using discarded lettuce leaves as feed and raked leaves as bedding during the winter. He also grew potatoes, which he sold at the feed mill/food distributor where he worked on weekends in high school and college. In addition to odd jobs, he recycled copper wire and aluminum plates from the nearby garbage dump for extra cash. Eldon also enjoyed playing Gin-Rummy and Poker at the town's watering holes, which provided a consistent source of income.
Despite not approving of Eldon's money-making activities, Anna didn't have the heart to forbid him from pursuing them during the difficult times. She recognized the importance of practical skills and insisted that Eldon learn to type, saving up for a year to buy him a typewriter, which he quickly mastered. Eldon's typing skills proved useful when he was commissioned stateside and when he later pursued medical studies.
Eldon had a lifelong habit of saving money and making cash purchases, always looking for a good value and avoiding unnecessary expenses. He made the mistake of buying his first new car on credit, which he promptly crashed the next day. This experience taught him the importance of never financing a car again.
After completing his undergraduate studies and pharmacy training, Eldon relocated to Madison, Wisconsin, where he continued to raise rabbits and play poker to earn an income while pursuing his medical degree. During his undergraduate years, he also worked in the dining room and maintained a high academic performance. Following his service in the Navy during the war years, Eldon used his typing skills to assist in recruiting before enrolling in medical school. He completed his internship at Miller Hospital in St. Paul, where he met his future wife, Josephine (Joey) Dedolph. The couple tied the knot in 1947 in St. Paul, Minnesota.
In 1948, Eldon and Joey spent a year in Janesville, Wisconsin, where their first child was born. They then settled in Spring Valley, Wisconsin, where Eldon established his General Practice, and they resided from 1949 to 1959. During this time, their next four children were born, and Eldon cherished the memories of their small, tight-knit rural community. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, playing cards, and formed close friendships that reminded him of his upbringing in Loyal.
Following the GP days, the family moved to Salt Lake City for Eldon’s 3-year residency in OB-GYN. Another two children were born there while Eldon mastered his Specialty skills. Their children were introduced to skiing, scouting, tennis, and competitive swimming. Utah was a wonderful introduction to life near the mountains as well as exposure to a warmer climate.
In 1962, after his stint in Salt Lake City, Eldon returned to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where his youngest child was born four years later. He continued to practice as an OB-GYN until his retirement at 65 years of age, owing to Meniere's disease. Unfortunately, Eldon and Joey separated and later divorced during the 1980s.
Following the separation from his family, Eldon embarked on a new life, leading a somewhat nomadic existence. He resided in various places, including Altoona, a cabin near Spring Valley, Las Vegas (where he had success playing poker), South Dakota, Texas, the Olympic Peninsula in Washington,Wisconsin and Arizona before eventually settling back in Washington state. Throughout this period, he formed close bonds with his canine companions, including Sadie, Brandi, and Charlie, and, more recently, with Morris the Cat. In time, his estrangement from his family eased, as is often the case with the passage of time. Eldon stayed with family briefly before moving into a homelike assisted living center in Redmond, WA for the last 5 years of his life.
Eldon lived a simple and thrifty life, with a passion for stock investments and options trading. He relied on The Motley Fool for advice and kept 10-15% of his net assets in cash while investing the remaining 80% in long-term stocks. This allowed him to weather market corrections and invest in "value equities." He also allocated approximately 3-5% of his assets to options trading, which covered his annual expenses. Eldon was proud that most of his multimillion-dollar estate was earned during his retirement years, rather than his medical career.
In 2014, Eldon decided to give back to the community that raised him in Loyal, Wisconsin, by donating the majority of his estate to endowments. He was inspired by the Draper and Hills families, as well as Anna Hills, Bernice Draper, her parents, and Bessie Edsall, who instilled in him the importance of education. The Draper Hills Scholarships were established to support graduates of Loyal High School who have demonstrated exceptional talents and are likely to benefit from post-secondary education in both academic and vocational areas. The Financial Literacy Endowment supports a full-time teacher to provide financial literacy education to students in grades K-12 in Loyal, with evening classes available for adults as well. Eldon's generosity will continue to impact the community for years to come.
Eldon's passing is mourned by his seven children and their partners: Dr. Carter Hill and Dr. Winnie Mann, Peter and Joanne Hill, Meredith and Curt Stockford, Andrea and Dr. Michael Bacharach, Dr. Sarah Hill, Dr. Barton and Debra Hill, and Charlie and Christine Hill, along with 20 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. His ex-wife Josephine Hill and son Nathan Hill preceded him in death.
The family respectfully requests that donations in Eldon's memory be directed to Planned Parenthood, the Draper Hills Scholarship Fund, and/or the Draper Hills Financial Literacy Endowment. Donations can be made online through www.eccfwi.org, or checks can be sent to the Eau Claire Community Foundation office at 306 S. Barstow St. Suite 104, Eau Claire, WI 54701 with the Fund name noted on the memo line, in lieu of flowers.
A Veterans Honor Guard and community gathering will be held at the American Legion Post 175, Loyal, Wisconsin on August 7, 2023, at 4-7pm to celebrate Eldon's life and his enduring contribution to the educational community of Loyal. Food for families and No-Host bar will be provided.