June 4, 1932 - February 22, 2020
Leila Watkins Hill, loving wife, sweet mother, and special friend to many of her grandchildren, passed away suddenly on Saturday, 22 February 2020, of causes incident to age. She was living with her husband, Bruce at the BeeHive Homes of Provo memory care and assisted living center. She was 87 years old. In her final years of life, Leila’s cognitive skills and speech slowly faded away as dementia sapped her ability to function. However, her family and friends all found it remarkable that her inner core of personality, manifested in an enduring sweetness, never left her. In the final year of her life, Leila was often found cuddling and caressing her baby doll “Sunshine” with whom she was bonded and just as careful as with all the children whom she loved and cared for during her life – evidence that the love which had powered her life was still burning bright in her soul. Leila Watkins Hill was born in her family home at 984 East Center Street, in Provo, Utah on June 4, 1932, during the Great Depression. She is the daughter of Ira Oray Watkins and Ida Jane Snyder Watkins, and is the sixth of nine children. Leila lived in Provo her entire life while growing up, and she graduated from Provo High School. Leila married Bruce P. Hill on September 18, 1952 in the Manti Temple. Displaying artistic skill and creativity, she wore a wedding dress that was of her own creation. Leila and Bruce had 5 wonderful children – the oldest, a girl, Jayne Hill Hansen (David G. “Doc”) of Provo, UT, followed by four boys: Richard B. Hill (Debbie Maule), presently living in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA; Jon J. Hill (Tamara Bons), Provo, UT; J. Brian Hill (Karen Beardsley), Provo, UT; and Kurt R. Hill (Lani Wilcox), Gilbert, AZ. Leila and Bruce are grandparents of 30 grandchildren and 50 great-grandchildren, with more on the way. Leila has always been an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; living a life of committed service in behalf of many others, beginning with her own husband and children. Leila’s pioneer ancestry and family history are filled with examples of work and service and faith. Thus it is no mystery that Leila’s life, indeed her very heart and soul, is filled with countless examples of love and service, both within and without her church. She truly enjoyed working with, teaching, and helping others. As she loved and supported her husband, Bruce, she faithfully followed him as his employment took them to reside in a number of locations, first in California, and finally in Colorado. When Bruce and Leila left Provo in 1954, they would continue to continuously reside outside of Utah for another 48 years. The Hill family moved from California to Colorado in 1968, and there the children finished growing up, graduating high school and leaving to attend college and get married. Leila and Bruce resided in the same Englewood, Colorado home for 34 years until moving to Provo in 2002. Family and children were of the utmost importance to Leila. As their family grew, Leila and Bruce made a mutual pact and commitment to spend their free time and best efforts with their children. In particular, they taught their children to love the outdoors with lots of camping, hiking, and picnicking in the mountains and forests of California, then Colorado, which also included learning how to ski. Over the years in Colorado, Leila and Bruce took their family on many, many day trips and overnight camping trips into the mountains west of Denver. Two especially favorite areas for family outings were the mountains around Geneva Basin and South Park. Leila and Bruce also encouraged their children to love and participate in sports. Among their children’s many athletic activities, each child individually developed a love for and skills in a particular, favorite sport – track, baseball, football, basketball, and more. Their children were constantly encouraged with attention and support for all their activities of interest – whether artistic, church-related, scouting, or team sports. Though Leila was an introvert and quiet by nature, she was adept at moving beyond her comfort zone, reaching out, making friends, and seeing the good in others. She was also self-motivated, dependable, and hardworking. These and other qualities made her a natural leader. Though she may have doubted her skills and abilities at times, Leila never questioned her commitment and never turned down requests to serve in church callings or opportunities to serve in the wider communities wherever she lived. Thus she worked tirelessly as a leader and teacher in the Relief Society, Primary, Sunday School and Cub Scout organizations of The Church, including service for a time as the Relief Society President in her ward. Leila also did much volunteer work while her children were growing. For instance, she volunteered in the health room at her children’s elementary school every week for 3 years. She also volunteered as a store clerk in the Seventy’s Mission Bookstore when a branch opened in Denver. Later in her life, when her children were grown and married, Leila worked and volunteered outside the home and became an excellent asset to the companies and organizations who benefited from her service. One simple and unassuming line in her resume, written in the 1990’s, says much about what she considered valuable about herself: “HOMEMAKER 1953 – 1985.” In her longest and most productive employment in the 1980’s and 1990’s, Leila served as an insurance setup clerk and quality assurance specialist for a national insurance company. She received merit bonuses and an Employee of the Month award for outstanding work. When she finally retired from that job, the company needed to hire 2 people to replace her! As her husband Bruce was always very interested and involved in local-level politics, in later years, Leila joined him in his volunteer efforts. Perhaps their greatest political achievement together was their participation as key organizers in the incorporation of the City of Centennial, Colorado – the 10th most populous municipality in the state of Colorado. Its incorporation in 2001 was the largest such action in U.S. history. Every free moment of Leila’s life was spent in some type of work that benefited others, beginning with her husband and children. All of us who know her – husband, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, extended family, friends, and neighbors – will miss Leila and her kind, uplifting, and engaging manner. She put a quiet stamp of great, selfless love and service on her family, for which we are forever grateful. She was tiny in body, but towering in spirit! Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Friday morning, 28 February at the Edgemont 9th Ward chapel, located at 4300 North Canyon Road, Provo, Utah. Friends may visit with the family from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. prior to the service. Burial will be at the Provo City Cemetery. Condolences may be expressed at www.bergmortuary.com.
Leila Watkins Hill, loving wife, sweet mother, and special friend to many of her grandchildren, passed away suddenly on Saturday, 22 February 2020, of causes incident to age. She was living with her husband, Bruce at the BeeHive Homes of Provo... View Obituary & Service Information
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