Fredrick S. "Fritz" Hill

Born: Wed., Sep. 17, 1941
Died: Sun., May 24, 2020


Family to do services at later date


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Fredrick Silven (Fritz) Hill died peacefully at home on May 24, 2020 after a long illness and a life well lived.   Let it be said that he never knew a stranger.   A private family graveside service will be held on June 20; with a Celebration of Life planned for the fall.

Fritz was born on September 17, 1941, in Pendleton OR, to Fredrick Waylen and Jean Silven Hill, joining his older sister Ann Terry Hill.

He grew up on the family wheat ranch in Juniper Canyon where he started working at an early age:  milking cows, mowing the lawn, slopping pigs, and washing dishes in the cook house.  His first business operation was trapping gophers.  When he ran out of gophers close to home, he extended his trap line down the canyon to Terjeson’s and kept charging his Dad five cents a kill.  When he was old enough to work harvest, he would take his pay to Barnham’s Trading Post to buy guns.  (This was well before laws that prohibited selling armaments to minors under 12.)

Fritz was a showman at an early age.  He showed the Grand Champion Steer in the 1955 Pacific International, as a 14-year-old kid.  This was after the 1954 showing incident when Fritz’s steer took off running as they entered the show grounds dragging him, swearing at the top of his lungs, to the end of the ring.  The steer then laid down and refused to budge.  The crowd went wild!

Fritz attended grade school in Helix and transferred to Pendleton High School, graduating in 1959.  He attended Oregon State University on the 5-year plan and graduated with an agriculture degree in 1964.  He joined his father’s fraternity, Phi Delta Theta, ROTC (later enlisting in the Marines), and worked at Phil Small’s clothing store.  Fritz admitted to spending more time in Gill Coliseum playing basketball, than in ag classes.  He worked as manager for the OSU basketball team under Slates Gill.  Desperate for sunshine, Fritz transferred to Mexico State College winter term 1963 to play basketball for their traveling team.  He boarded with a Mexican family, bought a scooter, and carried a Spanish language note in his pocket with his address, in case he got lost exploring Mexico City.

After college and 11-months hitchhiking around Europe, Fritz returned home to join his father in the Hill Ranches farming operation as a 4th generation farmer.  He was active in numerous ag organizations, was a no-till conservation advocate, and he made a name for himself as an ag humorist, speaking at numerous agricultural events in the Pacific Northwest.

Fritz performed in the Happy Canyon night show for 25 years and was inducted into the Round-Up & Happy Canyon Hall of Fame in 2014.  He played city league basketball, won top awards in Toastmaster speech contests, and played Uncle Johnny in Pendleton Underground Comes Alive events.  He served on the boards of Happy Canyon, Pendleton Underground Tours, Pendleton Credit Union and Umatilla County Wheat Growers.

He is preceded in death by his parents.  He is survived by his sister Ann Terry Hill; former wife, Mary Ann Hill, and sons Bill (Jodi),  Jason (Janelle)  and Winston (Kirbie) Hill; wife Karen Hill; grandchildren Kate, Grace, Farley and Lincoln Hill; step-children Kari Gallinger and  Adrienne (Robert) Wilson, and their children Haley, Blake, Lauren, Claire and Josephine.

Memorial contributions may be made to support the Happy Canyon Room Renovation at the Pendleton Convention Center.  (Checks need to be made to fiscal agent GEODC, %Pendleton Convention Center, 1601 Westgate, Pendleton OR 97801.)

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Condolence Booklet

Susan Plass
   Posted Tue May 26, 2020
Dear, dear Fritz.....you were a star--smart, funny, quick-witted, thoughtful, resourceful, civic-minded, generous, brave, resilient, and a loving husband, father, and grandfather. You and Karen were among the first to welcome Jack and me into the Pendleton community, and the two of you became dear friends. Your love of life was contagious; and, especially in your later years, your courage in facing and fighting an overwhelming onslaught of life-threatening illnesses was awe-inspiring. Yet your toughness was balanced by tenderness, and I am eternally grateful for the concern and support that you gave to me while Karen was my rock after Jack died. I remember a conversation with you not long before I moved to Ashland in which you wept with concern, wishing me strength and luck in my new life.

It was a gift to have known you. May you now rest in peace and without pain. I offer Karen and all of your and her families my deepest sympathy, empathy, support, and love as they figure out how to move on without you. You leave a huge, huge void in this world.

Susan Plass

Kim Ashbeck schwab
   Posted Tue May 26, 2020
Will always remember Fritz and his sense of humor. A real treasure to Pendleton. My thoughts to his family

Bruce Campbell
   Posted Wed May 27, 2020
Thoughts are with Karen and Family.
Many fond memories of Fritz and the “Doctor of Happy Canyon”

Patti Baker
   Posted Wed May 27, 2020
Karen, Our deepest sympathy to you and family. I feel blessed to have known such a special individual. Rest In Peace Fritz..
Steve and Patti Baker

Marla Phelps Charlton
   Posted Thu May 28, 2020
One of my fondest memories of growing up on NW 7th was having a lemonade stand in the summer on our corner. Whenever Fritz drove by, tired after work or not, he stopped and entertained us with his clever stories and he ALWAYS bought at least one cup of lemonade. We anxiously awaited seeing him and grew up forever loving him in Happy Canyon as well. My parents, Lyle and Beverly Phelps, were thankful that he always had time to share is wit and kindness with two little girls. ♥️ God bless you, Fritz Hill. You were a gem.
Sincerely, Marla Phelps CHARLTON

Christine Bryan
   Posted Thu May 28, 2020
Dear Karen,
One memorable evening with you and Fritz lives on in my memory. Your kindnesses to my sister, Susan Plass, have been unending, but you included her sisters in your circle of warmth and support, and it was unforgettable. I wish you courage and much patience in the days to come. Your heart sister, Christine

Thom Morning Owl
   Posted Fri May 29, 2020
My sincere condolences to the family left behind. I have had the honour of knowing Fritz as a friend. The humour and wit shall always be my remembrance of Mr. Hill.

Terry and Janie McArtor
   Posted Sat May 30, 2020
Karen our prayers are for you and the Hill family. Fritz was such a special, generous, and talented man, Terry and I felt so lucky to have known and loved him. Our love to all of you. Terry and Janie

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