Merriam Evelyn “Babe” Hill of Twin Falls, Idaho was born in Jerome, Idaho on June 7, 1926 to parents, Fred Peterson and Blossom (Grouns) Peterson. She attended the Canyonside School south of Jerome in her early years, where she excelled at baseball, and later Jerome High School.
Merriam was the baby of the family for a time, with older brother Fred “Bud” Peterson, and older sisters Elizabeth “Ta” (Peterson) Behrens and Doris “Dori” (Peterson) Barnes. Eleven years later, along came younger brothers, Ted, Ed “Butch”, and Wally Peterson.
Merriam worked as a legal secretary in Jerome after High School. She married the love of her life, Kirby Hill, in November of 1947 in Jerome. After a short time of farming south of Jerome, they moved to Clearfield, Utah where they both worked as civilians at the Hill Air Force Base. Merriam worked as a secretary in a department that maintained and tested jet engines. Kirby installed and maintained altitude chambers which were used for training pilots. They had many good times and wonderful friends there.
Around 1960, they moved back to Idaho to resume farming, living south of Wendell in the Orchard Valley area. Merriam began work as a “Lunch Lady” at the Wendell School District around 1972. She of course had many duties there but was famous for her hot rolls. Between 1972 and her retirement in 1993, she made well over one million hot rolls.
Merriam and Kirby had three children: John, who died shortly after birth, Randy Hill and Merrilee (Hill) Brush.
Merriam was a member of the First Baptist Church in Jerome, Idaho. She taught the Preschool Sunday School Class for decades, sometimes teaching children of her former students. She continued attending the church until recent health problems prevented her from traveling to Jerome. During her Orchard Valley years, she was a member of the Orchard Valley Grange and the Pollyanna Ladies Club. Merriam and Kirby had many lifelong friends from Orchard Valley.
Merriam and Kirby moved from Orchard Valley to Jerome in 1989. Kirby passed shortly after they moved to town, and Merriam lived at her Jerome home until moving to Twin Falls in 2013.
Even after working at the lunchroom for over 20 years, Merriam loved cooking, cookbooks, and being in her kitchen. As often as not, if you visited her and found her reading anything, it was a cookbook or a cooking magazine.
She was able to spend her last years surrounded by family and close to grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She usually had a candy dish filled to encourage the children to come and say hello.
Merriam was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Kirby; son, John; sisters, Elizabeth and Doris; brothers, Fred, Ted and Wally; and brother and sisters-in-law, Ralph Behrens, Bill Barnes and OraLee Peterson. She is survived by her children, Merrilee (Woody) Brush and Randy (Sherry) Hill; brother, Ed Peterson; and sisters-in-law, Lois Peterson, Sharon Peterson and Gail Peterson. She considered her brothers and sisters-in-law as family and loved them dearly.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 10:00 am, Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at the Jerome First Baptist Church with a viewing beginning at 9:00 am. Graveside service will conclude at Jerome Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Jerome First Baptist Church are appreciated.
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family on Merriam’s memorial webpage at www.farnsworthmortuary.com.
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