Merrill James Hill

Merrill James Hill

As he walked the streets of Stevensville, happiness and kindness radiated from his body. He greeted everyone he saw with a big smile and a nod of his head. Everyone in the town of Stevensville has had a positive encounter with our hometown hero, Merrill Hill.

Whether sitting at the table in the gas station, shopping at Burnt Fork Market, or simply traveling down the sidewalk, he was always blessing someone in our town or sparking up a friendly conversation.

Merrill really enjoyed talking about memory books, Stevi High athletics, essential oils, gardening, and healthy foods (in particular beans). If you gave him any moment of your time, he could go on and on about the things he was passionate about.

That passion for Stevi athletics led to one of Merril’s major contributions to this town: attending every single Stevensville High sports game he could. He was a staple in the front row at all the home volleyball game.

No matter the weather, you could always count on Merrill walking over to the games and giving his endless love and support. The Lady Jackets even gave him a team t-shirt one year. Once volleyball ended, Merrill continued to show up and sit in the front row at the basketball games, despite being run over by sweaty basketball players a time or two.

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He was a consistent presence at soccer, football, and more, always wanting to chat with anyone willing, and asking questions about the different sports, learning all he could. The immense support Merrill provided to Stevi athletics throughout the years exemplified his love for his favorite town.

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An outdoor enthusiast, Merrill loved being outside and walking around the town of Stevensville. He enjoyed sitting on the community benches and taking in the fresh air. Early in his life he was involved in Scouts and Search and Rescue. He contributed an enormous chunk of his time risking his life to save others. This passion for the outdoors and helpful nature carried through to his later life as he roamed the streets and blessed the citizens of Stevensville. Constantly being out and about on the streets made Merrill the town’s unofficial greeter; the friendly face of Stevi.

A hero is defined as a person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. Merrill Hill is more than qualified to be a hero. He has contributed so much to the community; mostly, the sharing of smiles and laughter.

That, in itself, is enough to be considered a hero. He gifted the community with happiness and touched the hearts of hundreds of citizens in this small town.

Unfortunately, the Bitterroot lost Merrill Hill on October 17, 2019. After about 43 years of living in Stevensville, his amazing service to our town will never be forgotten and will always live on within the streets. Our town is now more friendly and loving as ever. He has left his mark not only on our sidewalks, but also in our hearts. That is what makes Merrill Hill our forever loved hometown hero.