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Madelon Margaret (Burcham) Hill

June 19, 1918 - March 25, 2014 One of 1,078...


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Madelon Margaret (Burcham) Hillby: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Madelon Margaret (Burcham) HillMadelon Hill passed away peacefully on the morning of March 25, 2014 surrounded by her family.

The matriarch of the Hill family, she was born in Des Moines, Iowa, and graduated from St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., where she developed an interest in aviation. Returning to Des Moines, she attained her private pilot license – against the wishes of her father – as WWII began. Learning of a new Army Air Corps program, the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs), and demonstrating her direct and pro-active nature, she applied directly to the Chief of Staff for the Army, General George Marshall, who forwarded her letter recommending her for evaluation for acceptance into the program.

A leader for the women of the Greatest Generation, she truly was a pioneer, as she completed U.S Army Air Corps military pilot training and became one of only 1,078 women to successfully became qualified and rated WASP’s. She became a rated instrument and training pilot for the men being sent into combat overseas, becoming qualified in many of the military aircraft of the time, including the B-17 and B-26. Stationed at Las Vegas Army Field, she met her future husband, best friend and lifelong companion, Jack V. Hill, whom she married just prior to his deployment to the Pacific Theater as a combat B-29 pilot. They were married for almost 69 years until Jack passed away in January of 2013.

A guiding hand, motivator and inspiration to her four children, her two sons, Marty and Tom, shared her passion for aviation and graduated from the US Air Force Academy and US Naval Academy respectfully and both went on to become fighter pilots in their services. Daughter Margaret married an Air Force fighter pilot and is a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) in Bend, Ore. Daughter Nancy became a long time, highly respected science teacher at Mountain View High School in Bend, Ore.

In addition to being survived by her children, she enjoyed being the grandmother to six grandchildren, Bryan, Lauren, Bradley, Catherine, Douglas and Mathew who preceded her in death; and six great-grandchildren, Caitlyn, Mya, Brayden, Gavin, Ethan and Mathew.

Madelon lived a full, amazing, interesting and exciting life, full of adventures and firsts for women of her generation, and carved an inspirational legacy and path for others to follow. She will be missed by all who knew her, but especially by her family.

At present no service is scheduled and in lieu of flowers it is requested donations be forwarded to the Oregon Ve t e r a n s ’ Home or to the Partners in Care Hospice House in Bend, Ore. Please sign our online

g u es t b o o k at www. n i s w o n g e r - reynolds.com