BOISE â€” Afton Dorothea Hill Benson, 90 of Boise, who formerly lived in Blackfoot, passed away Wednesday, July 6, 2011, due to a rare form of lymphoma cancer.
She was born Feb. 12, 1921, in Churchill, Idaho, to John Hyrum Hill Sr., and Olea Shipp Hill, and was the youngest of seven children. Aftonâ€™s parents were sheep ranchers and farmers who were poor in money matters during the Great Depression but had abundant love for one another and provided a happy home. Their recreation was gathering around the piano while their mother played and they sang and harmonized.
Aftonâ€™s early years were spent in Churchill, Albion, Island Park, Goshen and Riverside. She attended Firth High School for her freshman and sophomore years; Blackfoot High School her junior year, and she graduated from Moreland High School in 1938. During the end of her senior year, she met Ronald Lund Benson at a Moreland High School dance, and they were married Dec. 22, 1939, in the Logan, Utah, LDS Temple. They had three children, Sherry, Sevell and Jacque, and enjoyed playing together as a family. Weekends were spent fishing, boating or camping in Yellowstone Park, Palisades Dam or Island Park.
After graduating from high school, Afton worked in a country grocery store for her brother Reynolds Hill in Groveland. During World War II she worked as a secretary at Hill Field in Ogden, Utah, and then later worked at the Naval Ordnance Plant in Pocatello as a secretary. She was a secretary for the Atomic Energy Commission at the National Reactor Testing Station (INEL) from 1954-1980 where she received an award for her superior performance. She retired in December of 1980.
When Ronald died Feb. 9, 1981, she created a new life for herself. She was able to enjoy her love of travel by going to every continent and had many exciting experiences. She was involved in the LDS name extraction program; a counselor and secretary in the Relief Society; she was also involved in the Blackfoot Community River Valley Singers, Lady Lions and Daughters of Utah Pioneers. She moved to Boise in July 2000 where she continued to work in the LDS name extraction program until her health started to decline.
She is survived by her children and their spouses: Sherry (Walter) Bithell, Boise; Jacque (Joe) Jimenez, Pasco, Wash.; and Sevell (Donna) Benson, Folsom, Calif.; grandchildren: Celeste (Sam) Fackrell, Walter B. (Tiffany) Bithell, Grayson (Jessica) Bithell, Kimberly (Todd) Gomes, Shelly (Jeff) Huber, Marc (Elisabeth) Benson, Hillary (Danny) Legard, Katie (Dustin) Gramstad and 19 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Ronald; her parents, John and Olea; and her brothers and sisters: John H. Hill Jr., Reynolds H. Hill, William S. Hill, Lorraine Adams, Austin Hill and Mary Wheeler.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 9, 2011, at the Hawker Funeral Home, 132 South Shilling Avenue in Blackfoot. The family will meet with friends for one hour prior to the service. Condolences may be sent to the family at firstname.lastname@example.org.