The adage “Love what you do, and you never work a day in your life” rings true for Bill Hill. If you’ve sold livestock in the last 50 years in and around Valley City, Jamestown or Edgeley, there’s a good chance you have met Bill. He was a brand inspector for 50 years, retiring in 2018; however, being a brand inspector is only one chapter of his story.
Bill is the fourth generation to live on the family farm in Getchell Township, north of Valley City. It’s the original homestead his great-grandfather purchased from the Northern Pacific Railroad. He attended school at Getchell School, later graduating from Valley City High School, and was an original member of the FFA chapter there. He took over the farm when he was 18, after his father had died in a snowstorm.
He raised sheep and was active in the North Dakota Wool Association. Bill also worked a booth every year at the ND Winter Show promoting the sheep/lamb production industry and serving up delicious samples of lamb.
He’s is a veteran of the US Army, having served on station in Puerto Rico from 1954-1956. His wife Earlis (Harland) joined him there, and that’s where their first daughter was born. Being a veteran is a source of great pride for Bill. He was an active member of the AmVets, holding every local office, even rising in the ranks to become State Commander. In 1985, Bill was the recipient of the AmVets’ prestigious Silver Helmet Award, which recognizes excellence and achievements in fields such as Americanism, Defense, Rehabilitation, Congressional Service, Civil Service and Peace. Bill and Earlis travelled to Washington, D.C., to receive the award. The AmVets organization was not the only group Bill was active in over the years. The Eagles Club was an important chapter in his life, too, especially his work with Home on the Range through the Eagles. Home on the Range is based in Sentinel Butte, ND, where disadvantaged troubled boys and girls receive help. Bill served as state chairperson and was instrumental in raising money for the program and worked closely with Fr. William Fahnlander, Superintendent of Home on the Range. For about 20 years, he served on the Ritual Team which traveled to other Eagles Clubs to initiate members and represented the area at national conventions.
Read the full story in your Tuesday, September 29th Times-Record Special Harvest, Farm/Ranch Edition. Purchase your paper copy of today’s paper at the TR office (146 3rd St NE, Valley City), local gas stations and grocery stores or an electronic copy by clicking subscribe in the top left corner of the www.times-online.com home page.