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Susan Harlor Hill
Susie Hill, born Aug. 7, 1944, in Scott Field, Ill., died peacefully of lymphoma on Aug. 29, 2008, in Perrydale, Ore. She was 64.
Susie spent the early part of her childhood in Cleveland, Ohio, and moved to California when she was 10. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English and Master of Library Science from the University of California at Berkeley. Later in life Susie said that her view of the world and her place in it were deeply affected by her time at U.C. Berkeley where she got involved in the Free Speech Movement and the women’s liberation and feminist movements. Susie lived in Berkeley for many years, as a stay-at-home mother, librarian, and corporate investor relations and real estate investment executive. After earning a Certificate in Landscape Design from U.C. Berkeley, she owned a garden design and landscaping business.
Susie had fond memories of the Willamette Valley from a year she spent at Willamette University during her undergraduate studies. In 1988, tired of increasingly noisy and crowded urban life, she and her family moved to a farm outside of Dallas in Perrydale. During her early years in Oregon, Susie taught at Chemeketa Community College, worked at Meier & Frank department store in Salem and was a rural mail carrier in Polk County.
Susie was a certified Master Gardener through the Oregon State University Extension Service. She was book chair of the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon and a past president of the Salem Hardy Plant Society. She and her husband, Doug, also ran a daffodil business on their property for several years. During the ‘90s she was the Floriculture Superintendent at the Polk County Fair. In 1999-2004, she co-authored the well-received Pacific Northwest and Western Region editions of “The Plant Locator.” Susie then started “The Gardener’s Gardener,” a garden design and landscaping business with clients in Oregon and California.
In addition to her passion for gardening, Susie loved reading, anacrostics, and playing games and doing puzzles with her family. Susie’s family and friends enjoyed her baking talents, especially her chocolate and fresh fruit desserts. She and Doug spent years restoring their Craftsman-style farmhouse, employing Susie’s many home improvement and design gifts. She treasured quiet times as a member of the Portland Chinese Classical Garden. She was an active CoreLight practitioner and believed that the end of her time in this world was just the transition to the next part of her journey.
Susie is survived by her husband, Doug Hill, her daughter Melissa Holmes (Jen King) and grandson Nathan Holmes-King of Fremont, Calif.; daughter Miranda Holmes (Brian Sparling) of Oakland, Calif.; son Alec Hill (Christina) of Lake Oswego, Ore.; step-son Erik Hill (Christina) and their children Kimberleigh and Austin of Riverview, Fla. and step-daughter Gretchen Hill and her children Gabrielle and Madysen of Reno, Nev. Her parents, Jean and Harry Harlor, preceded her in death.
Donations in her memory may be made to the Salem Hardy Plant Society, P.O. Box 2027, Salem, OR 97308-2027.