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Phyllis S. Hill

January 15, 1924 December 1, 2016
Phyllis S. Hill
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Obituary for Phyllis S. Hill

Phyllis S. Hill died December 1, 2016 at William Beaumont Hospital in Troy. She was 92 years old. Phyllis was born on January 15, 1924 in Detroit, Michigan to parents, Alice (nee Neubecker) and Arthur Subberra.

Phyllis lived a full and rich life. She would often comment on how lucky she was and how life had treated her grandly.

Phyllis graduated from the University of Michigan with a philosophy degree and worked for the Red Cross during WWII. She dated Gordon S. Hill, who served in the navy during World War II, and they were married in Ferndale, Michigan, after the war.

Growing up in Pleasant Ridge, Michigan, and attending Ferndale public schools were highlights of her childhood, so much so, that she and Gordon raised a family in Oak Park, which was part of the Ferndale School District, eventually moving her growing family to Pleasant Ridge, thus remaining in the Ferndale Public School District. The move to Pleasant Ridge involved much thought and consideration because pressures were put upon Gordon, a Pontiac Motors Executive, to move to the more prestigious Bloomfield Hills, where a majority of executives lived. The couple decided, however, that the close-knit neighborhoods and the quality, integrated schools in the Ferndale School District were the perfect fit for their family.

Phyllis devoted her life to raising her family and improving her community. She volunteered in her children’s schools, involved her children in sports and other extracurricular activities, was a Camp Fire Girl leader, a Cub Scout leader, and an active leader in the League of Women Voters. For years she was a reading aide in the Ferndale School District. Housework came second to spending time with her family and working to make her community better. As a mother she modeled important values that she passed on to her children: justice, equality, laughter, the importance of education, and the importance of voting and political involvement.

At her death, she had five children: Bruce (Natalie), Douglas, who preceded her in death, Deborah (Rick), Scott (Ilene), Cam (Julie), eleven grandchildren: Jason (Janelle), Jeff (Katie), Lisa, Heather (Aaron), Brian (Sophie), Andrew (Christie), Eric, Evan, Austin, Mike, and Deanna, and eight great grandchildren: Beckett, Tyler, Ben, James, Jon, Aaron, Colin, and Aiden.

Phyllis had many passions in life but three stick out. First, she was an avid reader of both fiction and nonfiction. Every room in her house held bookcases filled to the brim with all kinds of books. It was not unusual to find her totally absorbed in a novel at three o’clock in the morning because it was the only quiet time she had while raising five children. When her husband, Gordon, died in 1980, travelling became her second passion. Her interests took her to England, Italy, Costa Rica, Eastern Europe, Canada, and destinations within the United States. She would journal as she traveled so she would not forget one magnificent moment of her adventures. The history and lives of Native American Indians became very important to her, and she traveled extensively to learn more. She even kayaked with Inuit Indians in Hudson Bay! She bought a cottage in Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada, during one of her travels, and spent many summers enjoying lake living and the beauty of nature. Finally, she reveled in the time spent with her many, many friends. She enjoyed her neighborhood circle, her bowling friends, her Bridge friends, her traveling buddies, her breakfast club, her history buffs, her work friends, and her garden pals. Her friends were diverse and definitely filled a void after Gordon died.

Phyllis lived a life filled with love and laughter. She will be desperately missed by her children who describe her as “the best mother in the world.” She will be desperately missed by those in her extended family who she embraced with love and warmth and acceptance. And although she has outlived most of her friends, they no doubt would say she was a person they could count on in good times and bad, and a lady who brought much laughter and joy to their lives. Rest in peace, Phyllis Subberra Hill. Go Blue! Go Tigers!

Phyllis is survived by her loving children, Bruce (Natalie) Hill, Deborah (Rick) Monteath, Scott (Ilene) Hill, and Cameron (Julie) Hill. She is also survived by 11 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. Phyllis is preceded in death by her beloved husband Gordon, her dear son, Douglas, and her brother Arthur W. Subberra, Jr.

Private services have been held.

Memorials appreciated to the Salvation Army, 16130 Northland Drive, Southfield, Michigan 48075 or Detroit Public Television, 1 Clover Ct, Wixom, Michigan 48393

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