Celebrations: 100 years for long-time Innis Arden resident Welma Hill

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Happy 100th Birthday, Welma Hill
Welma Hill celebrated her 100th birthday on Thursday, July 28, 2022 with a big smile at her current home at Cogir at Northgate.

She was an Innis Arden resident from 1964 until she moved to Cogir at Northgate some 40 years later. She is still a member of Richmond Beach Congregational Church.

Welma Hansen was born July 28, 1922 in Madison, Wisconsin, the oldest of five children. Her father was an immigrant from Denmark.

She survived a burst appendix at age of three. Welma was left-handed until third grade, when she broke her left arm playing “Red Rover.” Welma adapted by becoming mostly right-handed (including handwriting), which she still is to this day.

The family struggled financially during the Great Depression, but Welma was able to stay in school. At Central High School in Madison she took courses in typing and shorthand. When she graduated in 1940 she was able to find work as a professional secretary, a career she continued through her life.

During WWII she was at a USO dance in Tomwah, Wisconsin where she met Bob Hill who was playing in the US Army band which was playing at the dance.

Welma married Bob Hill on August 4, 1945. The couple moved to Arkansas for the remainder of Bob’s enlistment. After his enlistment and the war ended, Bob formed a jazz band and Welma traveled with him as his band performed in Alaska and Idaho. As newlyweds, they moved to Bob's home town of Lilliwaup, WA.

Bob used the GI Bill to enroll in the engineering program at the University of Washington. They moved to the UW married student housing and Welma got a job as a secretary at the UW and supported Bob as he completed his degree.

Welma Hill at work

Bob had a long career as a Boeing Aerospace Engineer which included being part of Boeing’s AWACS design team (spy plane) during the Cold War (1950’s to 1980’s).

They started a family, adopting Bert Hill in 1959, and Eileen Hill in 1960. They bought their Innis Arden home in 1964. Bert and Eileen went to Sunset Elementary, Einstein Middle School, and Shorewood High School.    

Welma was a secretary for Camp Fire USA. Bob continued his side hustle as a jazz musician, the leader and keyboard player of the Boogie Blues Band. They continued to perform until the early 2000’s with Welma as their biggest fan. After decades as a "band wife" attending Bob's late-night gigs, Welma remains a night person to this day.

They made frequent family trips back to Madison, Wisconsin and Bob’s idyllic childhood home of Lilliwaup on Hood Canal. The family camped all across the Pacific Northwest in their classic camper van. 
Bob retired from Boeing but Welma started a new career at Res-Care, in the service of senior shut-ins. She continued well past her 80th birthday.

Eileen Hill married John Gunning in 1988. Welma become a grandmother in 1990 (Bobby), 1992 (Megan) and 1996 (Shannon).

They took trips to Switzerland and London and went to the annual Jazz festival in Moscow, Idaho. They regularly visited children and grandchildren, wherever they were living in the US or Canada and shared trips to the Oregon coast with Eileen's family.                 

After over 63 years of marriage, Bob passed away in 2009.

At 100, Welma is still reading The Seattle Times, cover to cover, almost every day. At Cogir at Northgate, she can sometimes be seen in her head-to-toe Seattle Seahawks fan gear. 

If you would like to send her a birthday card, the address is Welma Hill, Cogir of Northgate, 11501 15th Ave NE, Seattle WA 98125.
--Diane Hettrick


Anonymous,  August 3, 2022 at 4:27 AM  

Welma had a wonderful 100th birthday week with multiple celebrations with her children, grandchildren and many friends. Events included an outing to the Wallingford Cat Cafe, Dinner at Stanfords of Northgate, and a big celebration at Richmond Beach Congregational Church.

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