Velma Marie Hill passed away on Tuesday, August 12th at home surrounded by family, after a prolonged battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Velma was born to Evan Colbert and Cora Smallwood on January 2, 1935 in Omak, Washington, the youngest of eleven children.
The family lived in Chesaw and Velma attended school in Molson. In 1951, Velma married Richard Ray Hill and moved to Oroville where she worked in the apple warehouses for 36 years as a sorter and packer. It was often said she was the fastest apple packer in the valley. Velma and Richard were married for 32 years and enjoyed their time together in the mountains.
In 1986 Velma met her long time companion of 27 years, Paul Gentry, who purchased her first horse. Horses and horseback riding became her favorite pastime over the next 20 years. Velma was a member of the Back Country Horsemen, she packed into the wilderness many times and rode most of the trails in the Pasayten Wilderness, fulfilling a lifelong dream. A special thanks to Tiny Gould and Gordie Geisen for helping make those dreams come true. In recent years, she was an active member of the Oroville Senior Citizens Center and the Red Hat Society.
Velma was caring, generous and lived life to the fullest. She enjoyed all things beautiful, from taking drives looking for deer to the sparkle of dazzling garments.
Velma was preceded in death by her husband, Richard Hill in 1983 and her long time companion, Paul Gentry in 2013, as well as her parents, Evan and Cora Colbert, brothers: Lloyd, Marvin, Melvin, Orin and David Colbert and sisters: Ruby Sherling, Eleanor Anderson and Retha Colbert.
Velma is survived by her three children, Richard Milton Hill of Kalispell, Mont. and daughters Beverely Hill and Karen Tibbs of Spokane; granddaughters Rickayla Hill of Kalispel and Julie Tibbs of Spokane; grandsons Michael Reienes and Mitchell Tibbs of Oroville; daughter-in-law Trish Tibbs, who was Velma’s “Angel” always going above and beyond to help;great-grandchildren Chad, Cody, Seth and Noah; sisters Leatha Melton of Spokane, Elizabeth (Betty) Grigsby of Airway Heights; as well as numerous brother-in-laws, sister-in-laws, nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 6, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at the Assembly of God Church in Oroville. Refreshments will follow the ceremony of Velma’s life. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made in Velma’s name to the Oroville Senior Center.