After a long battle with breast cancer, Shirley L. Hill, age 73, passed peacefully at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara at 12:20 p. m. on May 29, 2017. She was attended by her husband Harold Hill of 53 years, and her sons Jeffrey (45), Russell (38) and Nathan (35).
Shirley was born in Madera, California to Roberta and Uless “Buck” Barnes of Chowchilla at nearby Madera Hospital. Shirley grew up mostly in the San Joaquin Valley with her younger sister Debra. She attended Chowchilla High School and went to California State University, Fresno (CSUF) to pursue a degree and a teaching credential.
At CSUF Shirley earned a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education. During that time she met and married Harold. After graduating and earning a teaching credential, she began her career teaching at Dry Creek Elementary School in Clovis, California.
Jeffrey lives in Burbank with his friend Heidi Kungl and works as an independent sales representative for Ground Up Builders who specialize in home improvements and energy upgrades. Jeffery married Veronica Encarnacion and they had two children, Gianna (13) and Niko (12) before they were divorced.
Russell lives in Redlands, California with his wife Maegan and their two boys Jacob (10) and Evan (8). Russell is a licensed electrician and works as a supervisor for Quickwire.
Nathan lives in Sonora, California. He earned an Associate of Arts degree in Aviation Technology from San Joaquin Valley College and worked for Sky West Airlines for many years. His wife Tara is the supervising operating room nurse at Sonora Regional Medical Center. They have two sons Nathan and Jaxon.
Shirley and Harold lived in Fresno from 1966 to 1976. Then they moved to Merced where Shirley was a teacher at Winton Elementary School until they moved to Porterville in 1985. In Porterville, she taught at Oak Grove Elementary School until 2003 when they moved to Santa Barbara.
Shirley really enjoyed taking her children places for fun and education. She arranged for her sons Russell and Nathan to take keyboard lessons weekly in Visalia for many years. Among her greatest delights was spending time with her grandchildren and taking them special places. When her children were faced with challenges and frustrations she provided solutions in a gentle and effective way that ended with laughter.
When she retired travel became Shirley’s hobby. She traveled to many parts of the world including Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, China, Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica and a majority of the countries in Europe. Her last trip was to South Dakota in 2016 where she saw Mount Rushmore and many other tourist attractions.
Shirley was a kind, caring, and industrious person dedicated to making life better for her family and her students. She spent thousands of hours of donated time at home preparing lessons that would assure that her students had individual attention and the best education she could give them. In addition she spent many thousands of dollars buying educational materials for her classroom to provide her students with the best materials she could find to supplement and bolster their opportunity for an excellent education. Shirley was an inspiration to her husband, her three sons, her grandchildren, her friends and the hundreds of students that she taught. She will be deeply missed but her gentle loving presence will forever live in our memories.
Shirley is survived by her husband, three sons and her sister Debra Mengel of Pahrump, Nevada.
There will be a celebration of Shirley’s life in the sanctuary at Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 820 N. Fairview Ave., Goleta, California in July. For more information contact Harold Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or (559) 288-1180. In lieu of flowers, or to honor Shirley, her family asks that you donate to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, 60 E. 56th Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10022.