Raymond Merlin Hill, 94, of Mahomet, IL, formerly of Syracuse, NE, passed away Sunday, April 4 at Accolade Healthcare of Paxton Senior Living, Paxton, IL.
Merlin was born on August 15, 1926, the son of Raymond C. and Dorothy Hill, in Clay Center, KS. Upon graduating from high school in 1944, he joined the U.S. Navy and served on the USS Alabama supporting the advancement of marines in the Pacific. He was among the initial occupying forces in Japan and witnessed the devastated remains of Hiroshima within a week of the bombing, in August of 1945.
After the war, Merlin returned to Kansas and married his high school sweetheart, Iris Elaine Todd, on August 17, 1947 at the Presbyterian Church in Clay Center. After graduating from the University of Kansas with a degree in Pharmacy, the Hills moved to Syracuse, where they raised a family of four children, Larry, Alan, Chuck, and Teresa. Merlin purchased the downtown pharmacy, which he operated for 23 years as Hill Pharmacy, before he became a partner in Town and County Pharmacy for another 10 years. Merlin and Iris were married for over 67 years, until Iris’s passing on January 16, 2015 in Mahomet, IL.
Merlin is survived by his four children, Larry (Linda Mohr) Hill of Minneapolis, MN; Alan (Tammy) Hill of Fort Collins, CO; Chuck (Marcy) Hill of Maitland, FL; and Teresa Hasken of Brownsburg IN; by seven grandchildren, Susan Hill; Sean (Megan) Hill; James (Audrey) Hill; Charity (Grey) Leonard; Hannah Hasken; Audrey (Sean) Cochran; and Collin Hasken; and by five great-grandchildren, Samuel, Jedidiah, and Geneva Hill, and Ford and Zephyr Leonard. Merlin was preceded in death by his parents, by his brother, Delroy Hill, and by his wife, Iris.
Anyone who lived in or near Syracuse from the 1960s through the 1990s will remember Merlin not only as the helpful, local pharmacist – often seen making deliveries in “The Pill Wagon” – but as a pillar and mainstay of the community. He set an example for many by playing various roles in community life through a host of civic organizations. Besides his service through Lions Club, Syracuse Rescue Squad, the City Planning Commission, and the Good Samaritan Care Center building committee, he often shouldered leadership responsibilities, serving as Director of the Nebraska Pharmaceutical Association, President of the Syracuse Chamber of Commerce, SDA School Board President, member of the the Good Samaritan Care Center Advisory Board, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post Commander, Veteran’s Service Officer, and Worshipful Master of the Masonic Lodge. In 1975 he was honored with the Syracuse Journal-Democrat’s Community Service Award, and in 1990 was selected as the Nebraska recipient of the A. H. Robins Co. “Bowl of Hygeia” award, to honor pharmacists who have contributed to their communities. A man of faith, Merlin was also active in his church, the United Church of God.
Merlin and Iris made many dear friends in the Syracuse area, and their home was often open to guests. In 2014, after 60 years in Syracuse, they moved to Mahomet IL to be near Teresa and her family. Merlin remained in Mahomet until his death.
Visitation, with Merlin’s family present, will be held on Friday, April 16, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Fusselman-Allen-Harvey Funeral Home in Syracuse. A private, family service will be held graveside at Park Hill Cemetery on Saturday, April 17 at 2:00 p.m. The graveside service can be viewed by livestream at the Fusselman-Allen-Harvey Facebook page with a link on www.fusselmanallenharvey.com.
Memorials in Merlin’s honor may be directed to the Syracuse Rescue Unit or the Syracuse Public Library.
Arrangements by: Fusselman-Allen-Harvey Funeral Home, Syracuse, NE.
Condolences to www.fusselmanallenharvey.com.
Posted online on April 13, 2021