Marion Dorothy Gill passed away on June 23, 2011, just 44 days short of her 102nd birthday, at Anna Maria Creekside Retirement Center, Medford, Ore. Marion was born August 7, 1909, in Beltrami, Minn., to Andrew and Lovisa Olson. Marion grew up in Polk County, Minn., graduating from Beltrami High School in 1927, and later, graduated from Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kans. She did graduate work at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn. She taught high school English, choir and drama for several years in Minnesota, New Mexico and Oregon. She became Superintendent of Canyonville Schools in 1943.
While living in Kansas, she met and married D.W. Pete Gill, August 26, 1936. They lived in New Mexico and California, and then moved to Oregon in 1941, to operate a saw mill which provided lumber to build barracks for soldiers during the war.
Their first and only daughter, Andrea, was born in 1945, at which time Marion became a full-time mother and wife, substitute teaching only on occasion.
Her interests included flowers, reading and music. She sang in the famous Lindsborg Bethany Choir, which continues to perform The Messiah around the globe each Easter. She played the piano, saxophone and violin, and enjoyed the theater arts in college, in which she had several leading roles in plays. She was also active in the Eastern Star, the Methodist Church and numerous volunteer activities in her community. She was a member of Rogue Valley Genealogical Society and Library, in Phoenix, Ore., and the Daughters of the Nile. At age 90 she was still involved with the Smart Program reading to first graders in Canyonville. She was an avid reader and was librarian at the retirement center named after her for over 11 years of service.
She was a member of the 1-2 Birthday Club in Canyonville for over 55 years, and the club members often traveled to Medford, Ore., to celebrate her birthdays. Her family tried many new recipes before the ladies of the club got to sample the new experiments. She continued to bake apple pie and home-made Christmas candy, sharing all with family and friends. Holidays were a very special time for Marion.
Among her fondest memories of late, was her 100th birthday celebration in San Diego, Calif., with family and friends for a party and elegant luncheon. A new great-granddaughter arrived a few weeks before, and accompanied Marion on her trip to Sea World and Disneyland. We were certain we had the youngest and oldest guests there that day. She traveled to Canyonville to continue her birthday celebration with friends.
Marion's life spans a time before telephones, women's right to vote, World War I, among the many wars that followed, the Great Depression and new states coming into the Union. She has lived with the world of TV and other electronics. She did operate a digital picture frame to view the many photos sent to her by family, but said no to computers.
Marion loved to travel, and her favorite places were Tahiti and Sweden, where she met cousins she had not previously known. She has spent holidays in Minnesota, California, and her most recent trip to Georgia was in March 2011, to be with family.
The center of her attention was always to her family to whom she was devoted. She cared for many pets over the years. She was a very thoughtful and generous person. Her secrets to longevity? First, a Scandinavian background, she was born to immigrant parents who raised six children with good food, a spiritual atmosphere and abounding love. Second, to remain positive and be surrounded by family and friends who you love and who love you back. Also, she would say to eat healthy, limit the quantity and have something sweet with afternoon coffee.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, D.W. Pete Gill, and five siblings. She is survived by one daughter, Andrea L. Patterson, and son-in-law, Jack F. Patterson, of Medford, Ore.; grandson, Bryan J. Patterson, wife, Carie, and great-granddaughters, Micayla AnnMarie and Caitlyn Rose, of Tyrone, Ga.; granddaughter, Angela M., husband, Scott Weathers, and great-granddaughters, Addyson Marion and Samantha Loren, of San Diego, Calif. She also leaves a nephew and niece in Minnesota, along with many cousins in America and Sweden.
A memorial service is to be held at Conger- Morris Central Point Chapel, 800 S. Front St., Central Point, Ore., on Sunday, July 3, 2011, at 11:00 a.m. A private graveside service at the Masonic Cemetery in Canyonville will be for family.
Contributions may be made to the Southern Oregon Humane Society, 2910 Table Rock Rd., Medford, OR 97501 or Rogue Valley Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 1468, Phoenix, OR 97535.