A Life Lived: Wilma Hill left her family with good memories

Published 8:34 am Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Wilma Yvonne Simerly Hill, who died Oct. 28, was the keeper of her family’s treasures. One of six children — three boys and three girls — she was the last of her siblings. Among the family’s keepsakes that Wilma treasured were her mother’s dishes, some teacups from another family member, a letter from the Tennessee Forest Service dated 1954 upon the death of her brother, Bobby, and other family memorabilia. “She collected and kept everything that was the least bit family-related,” said Donna Teague, Wilma’s daughter.

Wilma, 82, was the daughter of the late William and Mary Ann Peters Simerly. She lived in Hampton most of her life. Her brother, Bobby, died at the age of 15 along with three other teenagers when they were trapped in the Jenkins Mountain-Hampton fire in 1954.

Wilma took care of her mother many years. “My mother was devoted to the care of my grandmother, who lived to be 103 years old. She took her camping until she was 100 years old,” said Donna.

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Wilma enjoyed camping, and for a number of years had a camper at Watauga Lake. She was very family-oriented and enjoyed her family. “Whatever her grandchildren did, that was what she was interested in,” said Donna, noting that her mother was a big fan of the Hampton Bulldogs. She went to her great-grandson Drake’s soccer games, and to her grandson Luke’s football games. They were among Wilma’s six grandchildren and several great-grandchildren, who she doted on.

In addition to her two children, Wilma also had six stepchildren.

Wilma enjoyed the holidays. “She decorated for every holiday. At Christmas she decorated her home with lights and had her yard decorated with snowmen, Santa, and reindeers. At Halloween, she had pumpkins, scarecrows, and goblins. Her favorite thing at Halloween was to hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters,” said Donna. At her memorial service, which was held on Halloween afternoon, the children were encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes. “She would have loved it,” Donna shared.

Donna described her mother as a very independent and strong-willed person. “We all knew where we stood with her. She was very firm, but she was also a very devoted mother,” said Donna. She had worked at a number of different jobs, including restaurants and at Leon-Ferenbach in Johnson City. “She did whatever she could find to do to raise her family,” Donna shared.

“Mom enjoyed taking care of her family, especially cooking for them. She fed everyone, and was like an old mother hen to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren,” Donna shared.

“We surely are going to miss her this year during the holidays.”

Wilma also enjoyed reading, mostly Harlequin romances.

She was married to Bobby Hill, who preceded her in death.

Wilma was a good housekeeper, caregiver, and a wonderful mother and grandmother.

She didn’t make a name for herself in this life, but Wilma Simerly Hill was special to her family, and gave them the best life she could. Lasting gifts to them was love and memories, something they already treasure.