• Most of the photos in this section are obtained from Jean Siirila and her helpers on the showbook committee. Thank you Jean and crew!

Claire Hill

M Kerkvliet

WMSTR Past President
WMSTR Lifetime Member
Claire Hill.jpg

Claire Hill
1934 - 2022

Claire L. Hill, of East Grand Forks, Minnesota, died on Tuesday, August 9th, 2022 at the age of 88. Claire was a US Army Veteran. He worked as a welder for Grand Forks Welding and was a Rivet MILE mechanic for the Air Force. Claire was a member of the WMSTR (Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion) in Rollag, and he was also involved with the East Grand Forks Heritage Village.

Clair was preceded in death by his parents, Ira & Alice Hill; sisters, Doris Raad, Dorothy Ellsworth, Ruth Lerud, and Evelyn South; and brother, Jim Hill. He is survived by his wife, Joyce; children, Patrick (Lisa) Hill, Ira (Shar) Hill, and Jennifer (Randy) Carels; grandchildren, Calvin Hill, Jon Hill, and Max Hill; and siblings, Howard Hill, Sr. and Kay Stevens.

No services are scheduled at this time.

Moderators note: Ira Hill, one of Claires sons wrote this beautiful note about his father... Posted below with his permission.

So Dad passed away this week I’ve been kinda quiet about it

He may not have been a regular church goer but he taught us it not what you do for an hour on Sunday but what you do the rest or the week and how you treat people that makes you a good person. I never remember a time that we passed a stranded car with out stopping no matter how rough the situation seemed he always helped if he could.

He taught us to work hard and to be proud of that. He was always the first to help a neighbor and drag us along to teach us the value of volunteerism.

Most of the neighbor kids knew him as the guy that would fix their bike or go cart and send them on their way with out a bill.

Party all night but you better work even harder the next day. That’s a work ethic that lives on in all three of us kids. Dad would come and get you bring you home with out a lecture and that extended to our friends too. Mom is the same with that.

A Cub Scout leader Pack 21 and Boy Scout leader Troop 14, the crazy kids would all pile into his bubble top retired military van and go on an adventure. Never sure if the van would make it or not but didn’t stop the adventure from happening. Dad and Jim Janisch would always get us there and back. Some times a tow rope was required but everyone got home safe when it was over.

Rollag, Heritage Days and Lake Of The Woods steam and gas shows were a huge part our lives most people took vacations to the lake or Disney Land. Not us! We went to a steam show, camping and working on our vacation.

I remember as s kid spending every weekend he had off rebuilding the merry go round at Rollag, building up the worn out pieces... and other summer vacations putting in new flues in steam engines on the hottest days of summer and one summer rebuilding the engine on a road grader at Rollag.

It influenced the "can’t sit still person" that I am today always looking for something to do.

We never had a lot growing up but it didn’t stop him from dragging a few extra kids along for the adventure.

My brother inherited his patience for teaching and continues in miniature land. I was never that patient... thankfully one of us did.

It’s amazing the Nelson family let us take over their priceless collection to keep younger generations learning about steam. Pat and Ray have filled the gap left by Dad and Uncle Joe.

And Norman Nelson and Ray Mini before them.
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M Kerkvliet

WMSTR Past President
WMSTR Lifetime Member
My deepest sympathy to Joyce, Pat, Ira and Jennifer. I had the opportunity on a couple of occasions a few years back to visit with Claire for a while... Very nice man and he will be missed at the WMSTR and I am sure many other places.