In Memory of Swante Hill Sr.
Swante James Hill, Sr, Haugen, Wisconsin, passed away peacefully on Saturday, April 24, 2021.
“Jim” was born February 24, 1941, to Swante S and Margaret (Rappe) Hill in Ashland, Wi.
He grew up on the family farm in Highbridge, which was farmsteaded by his grandparents John and Helena Haapamaki. He attended the High Bridge and Section 5 Grade schools and the Mellen Public Schools. Jim was an active member of 4H and Union Church youth. Upon graduation he attended college and served in the US Army, stationed in Germany. This location allowed him to travel Europe, especially to Finland for “Good Coffee”. His Army experience was a major influence in his life, as he became an active member of the Brunclik - Konop American Legion Post 540, playing taps at funerals as well as recruiting fellow vets wherever he went.
Jim married Yvonne Fuhrman on June 10, 1967 at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. He graduated from Dunwoody Institute, working for Onan Corporation in electrical and plant maintenance work. Upon leaving Minneapolis, he obtained a position as The Electrical and Maintenance supervisor for Carnation Corporation that brought him to Mount Vernon, Missouri, Maysville, Kentucky and Campbellsville, Kentucky. They had five children: Kristen, Swante James Jr, David, Margaret, and Ericka. In the 1970’s Jim and Yvonne returned to Wisconsin, where Jim continued his career in Plant Maintenance and Electrical at Jerome Foods and Nicholas Homeshield, until they became the owners of the Village Grocery in Haugen, Wisconsin. There, Jim was his own boss, and was able to be an integral part of the Haugen community. He was an avid supporter of Haugen sports, especially baseball. Jim and Yvonne along with their children were active in 4H, Jaycees, Kiwanis, Jim was the first president of the Haugen Area Community Club, and participated in many events in the Haugen area.
In his 20’s, Jim ran for public office in Ashland County and was the township assessor. He became involved with political action by chauffeuring Senator Gaylord Nelson during the campaign. Jim remained a fierce and loyal progressive Democrat his entire life. He most enjoyed visiting with his customers at the store, discussing events and the Packers or Brewers, dispensing coffee, humor, compassion, and wisdom, along with bait and groceries. When traveling, you would probably meet someone who knew Swante James Hill! His pride and joy were his grandchildren – Ren, Ethan, Lauren, and Landon. He gave updates to his brothers and sisters during phone or store visits. He was happy to share his love of trains by taking a grandson, Ethan, to Yellowstone Park on Amtrak.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Swante and Margaret Hill, by his grandparents William and Mayme Rappe, and Johan and Helena Haapamaki (Hill), granddaughter Sylvan, and nephew Kyle Olson. Jim is survived by his wife, Yvonne, their five children, Kristen, Swante James Jr (Mariah), David, Margaret, Ericka, and by his four grandchildren, Landon Hill, Ren Hill Wall, Lauren Hill and Ethan Jarvela, along with his siblings, John Hill, Paul Hill, Phyllis Lampson, Charlotte Croes, Aleta Hill-Olson, along with many nieces, nephews, and their children.
Visitation will be Friday, April 30, 2021, at First Lutheran Church, Rice Lake, WI, from 9:30 am until the time of the funeral at 11:00 am. Lunch and social will follow at the Hide-A-Way in Haugen. Burial will be in the Hill Family Plot at Mount Hope Cemetery in Highbridge, WI on Saturday, May 1, 2021, 2:00 pm; with lunch and social to follow at the Oasis, Highbridge, WI. Pallbearers: Grandchildren: Landon J. Hill - Ren H. Wall - Lauren K. Hill - Ethan L. Jarvela, and Nephews: Dennis J. Hill - Jeffery G. Croes. Honorary pallbearers are the American Legion Post 540.
In lieu of flowers the family is accepting donations for a living memorial. The funds donated will be used to purchase trees that will be planted locally.