Rose Marie Hill: An Obituary That Caught Our Attention

Following on the entry I made yesterday about the death of Jessica Z. Torres, 34, of Port Orchard in a car accident Monday, I find myself writing about another young woman, formerly of Port Orchard, who is dead before her time.

Rose Marie Hill, who died of breast cancer Jan. 8, was not a famous person, so her death does not merit a bona fide news obituary. But Local News Editor David Nelson and I agreed that her “zest” for life, despite her illness, deserves mention on the blog.

Rose moved to Port Orchard at age 3 and attended South Kitsap Schools, including South Kitsap High School, where she graduated in 1994.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 21 while a senior at Wells College in Ithaca, N.Y. For the next 10 years she continued to live a full life and then some. She not only completed her undergraduate degree, she went on to get a master in fine arts in performance, and she traveled the world sharing her talent for song and dance. The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where she received her degree, will award an annual Rose Hill Performance Award in her honor. She recently completed a second master’s degree in counseling, graduating with honors from the University of California Santa Barbara in California .

Beyond that, Rose had experiences in her short life most of us blessed with good health would be lucky to cram into longevity. According to her obituary, she “worked on an Alaskan fishing boat, participated in building homes for homeless in Texas, she was a sky-diver, sea-plane pilot, bi-plane enthusiast, para-sailor, motorcyclist, violinist, ballerina, banjo player, singer, song-writer, author and other ventures too numerous to name here. Rose used her vast experiences to touch other people’s lives for the better.”

Our sympathies to the family. The complete obituary is below, with information on the scholarship established in her name. CTH

Rose Marie Hill
31 May 1976 ~ 8 January 2008
Rose Marie Hill, 31, passed away peacefully, at home, on January 8, 2008, in
Seattle WA. Rose was born in San Diego CA, and moved to Port Orchard WA, in
1979, at the age of three. She attended schools at Bible Baptist Church,
Cedar Heights JH, and Sedgwick JH and graduated from SK High in 1994, where
she was very active in student government, Acting Ensemble, cheerleading and
the Head Start Program at Olympic College in Bremerton.

Rose was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, at the age of 21, while a
senior at Wells College in Ithaca NY. She completed her course of studies
there all while undergoing treatment and earned her BA in the spring of
1998. She went on to earn a Master in Fine Art (MFA) at the School of the
Museum for Fine Arts (SMFA), Boston, MA in 2004.

After graduation, Rose traveled the world as a performance artist in
2004-2006. She performed in United States, Canada, Chili, Ireland, Poland,
and traveled to numerous other places; Italy, Germany, Morocco, Tunis,
France, England, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand, Panama, it was her goal to
visit every continent. The SMFA in Boston will award an annual Rose Hill
Performance Award in honor of Rose’s contributions to performance art.

Rose moved back to Seattle in 2004, and began a master’s program at Gevirtz
Graduate School of Education, University of California Santa Barbara, CA.
She earned a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Clinical Psychology in May of
2008. She completed her studies with honors.

Rose loved people and she loved life. The aggressive cancer she endured
never went into remission; however, she never let her illness or treatment
stop her from accomplishing her goals in education and the personal
experiences she longed for, and she had many; she fished for the summer on
an Alaskan fishing boat, participated in building homes for homeless in
Texas, she was a sky-diver, sea-plane pilot, bi-plane enthusiast,
para-sailor, motorcyclist, violinist, ballerina, banjo player, singer,
song-writer, author and other ventures too numerous to name here. Rose used
her vast experiences to touch other people’s lives for the better. Above
all Rose loved her family and her friends and we will miss her infectious
zest for life; she truly lived the mantra “seize the day” or “carpe diem.”
Rose’s favorite song, “It Is Well (with My Soul),” personifies that Rose
lived well and she has gone to a better place where she is indeed well in
every sense of the word, today and forever. We give you to His heart.

Rose is survived by her parents, Ginger (Michael) Kulpit of Poulsbo WA,
Chuck (Michele) Hill of Olympia, siblings; Chrystie Hill of Seattle, Andrew
Hill of Spokane WA, Trudee Hill of Seattle, Tonya (David) De Loma of Benton
City WA, Karen (Tom) of Olympia WA and her paternal grandmother Ilene Lee
Hill Mays of El Cajon CA and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and
nephews.

Rose was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents, Russell Richardson
in 2001, and Mildred Richardson in 2006, both of Edgewood NM. She was also
preceded in death by her paternal grandfather Charles W. Hill of Olympia WA
in 2003.

A celebration of Rose¹s life will be held in Seattle WA on March 29,
location will be published at a later date. Memorial donations may be made
to the Rose M. Hill Memorial Fund to benefit the Rose Hill Performance Award
at Navy Federal Credit Union, 2238 NW BUCKLIN HILL RD STE 100,
SILVERDALE WA 98383-8530.

2 thoughts on “Rose Marie Hill: An Obituary That Caught Our Attention

  1. Hi, I love your comments on Rose Hill’s obituary. I met Rose during our freshman year of college and she challenged and inspired me to live authentically without fear. While I struggle with this challenge, Rose courageously lived her life fully. There was a significant oversight in Rose’s obituary and your follow-up article that I feel needs attention. Rose Hill was survived by her companion, life partner and — in Canada– her wife, Heather Warncke. Rose’s close friends found comfort and gratitude in her final years and days knowing that Rose was cared for, adored and fiercely loved to her last minutes by her “soul mate” Heather. For part of their love story please listen to: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16112459

    Thank you, Audra Rutherford

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