Geraldine "Gerry" Wilma (Sutter) Hill celebrated her 95th birthday July 29, 2018, with a family dinner in Tillamook, Ore.
A month before her 95th birthday, her son Calvin and his wife, Jaimy Hill, hosted a dinner at their home for her scattered family, including daughters Marge Schwartz and Sherrilyn Lorenz from Michigan; granddaughter Julie Hill Alvarez plus her husband, Hector, and daughters, Amelia and Olivia, from Florida; and grandson Timothy Hill and his wife, Heidi, and children, Annalise and Dexter, of Portland, Ore. Her son, Bradley Hill, had visited shortly before this event.
Geraldine Wilma was born at home Aug. 26, 1923, in Buffalo, N.Y., to Walter and L. Marguerite Sutter, the first of six children. Her father worked in a steel mill while her mother was a homemaker. She grew up in western New York, attending a two-room elementary school and graduating from Williamsville High School in 1940. After a pre-nursing year at Atlantic Union College and three years' clinical experience at New England Sanitarium and Hospital in Maine, she became a registered nurse in 1944.
After a year of working in a very busy labor and delivery unit in Buffalo, she accepted an invitation of one of her nursing school roommates to join her at Walla Walla College (now University) to get a Bachelor of Science in nursing education. After giving the business manager her last $20, he hired her as one of the school nurses. To help meet expenses, she also worked at Walla Walla General Hospital.
Before graduating in 1947, she met and married Raymond C. Hill, one of the veterans who had returned from the Pacific Theater that year. They were married Sept. 10, 1946, in Buffalo, in a ceremony attended by that same roommate, Alice Bolton, and her husband, Charles Ames, who had been instrumental in fostering their friendship.
After graduation, they moved to Emanuel Missionary College (now Andrews University) in Michigan so Ray could get his degree in agriculture. During this time Gerry taught two pre-nursing classes before giving birth to their first daughter, Marjorie. Their first call was to Newbury Park Academy in California, where she served as a part-time school nurse and gave birth to their son Calvin. It was while there that they received their call to the Phillippines, sailing to Manila with their two small children in 1953.
Their second son, Bradley, was born in Manila a year after their arrival, and daughter, Sherrilyn, was born a week after they arrived at her parents' home while they were home on furlough, completing their family. In 1963 the family returned to the United States for a nine-year stay at Andrews University before moving to Ohio, where Ray was grounds superintendent at Kettering Medical Center and Gerry taught nursing for the next 13 years at Kettering College of Medical Arts.
Both retired in 1985 but continued to work part time for the next 13 years, interspersed with visits to their scattered children. It is satisfying to her that she has had a part in launching about 900 young people into a nursing career.
In 2003, they decided it would be prudent to be near family, so they moved to Tillamook, Ore., to be near their son Calvin, a physician there. Ray passed away two years later. Gerry still lives alone in the family home. She keeps busy helping out with community service, taking water exercises and teaching a Sabbath School class. She also maintains contact with many friends and family by computer or snail mail. She also enjoys the accomplishments of her 4 children, 8 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. She testifies that God is great.