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Alouise Trana Hillier, aged 97, died peacefully on Oct. 14, 2017.
Alouise was born and raised on a farm near Kindred, North Dakota. Norwegian was spoken in her home and she did not learn English until starting first grade at age six. After high school she received a scholarship to Mayville State Teachers College, where she obtained a teaching certificate for employment in North Dakota schools. She met her husband, Kenneth Hillier, as she stepped off the train on her first day of college. They were married in 1943.
While raising five children, Alouise completed a degree in elementary education, studied Spanish, and taught bilingual remedial reading in the Portales, New Mexico schools.
In retirement, Alouise and Keny enjoyed an active life, pursuing their interests in travel, the outdoors, and hobbies, ranging from rock hunting and jewelry-making to Alouise’s special quilting talent, for which she won many awards. In 2002 the couple moved to the University Retirement Community in Davis to be closer to their four daughters. Her beloved Keny died later that year.
At the age of 93, she joined a class in memoir writing. This began a three-year process of reflection and writing that brought new understanding of memories and events, as well as the publication in 2016 of her book, Full Circle: An Autobiography.
On one of her last days she recalled a memoir writing exercise, defining your life in six words, in which she said she learned much about herself through hunting for these words that defined the stages of her life: “Timid, Curious, Determined, Satisfied, Thankful, Contented.”
In the last eight months of her life Alouise was in declining health and in hospice care, yet continued to be fully engaged in life, displaying the same sensitivity and attachment to family and others that she had displayed her entire life. She was still enjoying her daily 6:00 am swim less than three weeks before she died.
Music was one of Alouise’s chief joys. She will be remembered for her beautiful singing voice as well as her generous spirit, an infectious sense of humor, and her fierce competitiveness at Scrabble and card games. Her laughter will be missed.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 59 years, Kenneth, and her daughter Ann, who died earlier this year. She is survived by Lynn Gore of Davis, Susan Hillier of Marina, Ruth and Drew Shinnick of San Francisco, and Charles and Lisa Hillier of Stavanger, Norway. She is further survived by her grandchildren: Brian Gore, Jennifer Bliss, Caitlin Laycock, Heidi and Nils Hillier; and five great-grandchildren.
The family suggests that memorial contributions may be made to Yolo Hospice, yolohospice.org.
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