Darrell J. Hill, passed away as his residence in The Dalles, Oregon on 6/29/2016.
Darrell was born on March 4, 1939 in Wallace, Idaho to Homer J. Hill and Wanda J. McCutchen. Darrell spent his early childhood in Oregon, Washington and Idaho following his dad’s construction work. He moved to The Dalles in 1954 where he met his best friend and love of his life Dee (Darlena Hill). It was noted that a number of teachers and classmates thought the couple were brother & sister as they had the same last name.
Darrell had a number of various jobs from pin setter at Westgate Bowl, stock boy and first hired employee for Westgate Supermarket, dairy herdsman for the University of Idaho, and warehouseman for Guy F. Atkison and H. S. Smith; until he started his career with the City of The Dalles Police Department as a Patrolman on January 20, 1969 and worked his way up through the ranks to Chief of Police. He also had the distinction to be the first and probably the last Public Safety Officer for the city; holding the position of both Fire Chief and Police Chief.
As a police officer Darrell won a number of awards and trophies in firearms competition, including the “Governor’s Top Twenty” distinction which included all law enforcement in the state. He also received the Chief’s 100 Club award several years for shooting 100% during qualifications.
In 1975, Darrell was selected to attend the National FBI academy. At the time, he held only the rank of PFC and the lowest rank ever accepted by the Academy. Despite contracting double pneumonia while at the academy and missing over 2 weeks of classes, he was able to make up the required work and graduated with his class in March 1976.
Darrell continued through the ranks and accomplished a number of “Firsts”. He rewrote policy and procedure manuals and brought the department into the computer age. After 27 ½ years, he retired as Chief of Police in July 1996; to run for Sheriff of Wasco County leaving the department in the capable hands of Jay Waterbury.
Darrell was elected Sheriff and took office in January 1997. Darrell was instrumental in getting city, county and state police working together and developing policy for the new 911 center. He also worked to help develop and open NORCOR; which he later also managed for 6 months after retiring from the Sheriff’s Department.
During the last few months of Darrell’s 2nd term as Sheriff, he decided to retire and turn his office over to Undersheriff Rick Eiesland. His retirement only lasted 3 months when he agreed to manage NORCOR until a new manager could be found. He agreed to 3 months but stayed for 6 months and while there developed a Policy & Procedure Manual for NORCOR.
Never one to be idle for long, Darrell was soon back at the Sheriff’s department where he volunteered as a substitute desk clerk, computer geek and gopher. He continued to assist in building computer programs for the department and animal control, but enjoyed mostly referring complaints to the Sheriff, until 2013 when he finally agreed it was really time to retire and do some of the things he promised his wife.
Darrell and his wife were foster parents to a number of teenage girls over a period of about 15 years and received the Klahre Award for Foster Parents of the Year. They also were Resident Parents for the Community Attention home for over a year all the while Darrell worked for the police department.
Darrell was a member and president of The Dalles Chamber of Commerce, receiving a lifetime membership award, a member of the Lion’s Club, served as President and other offices for the Columbia Gorge Genealogical Society, President & other offices for the Oregon Peace Officers Assn. and receiving their highest award the Association gave, the L. Dale Morris Trophy; Officer of the Year for City of The Dalles Police Department, life member of the NRA, Oregon State Sheriff’s Assn., Oregon Chiefs of Police and many other affiliations and awards.
Darrell was proceeded in death by his parents Homer J. and Wanda J. Hill. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, his daughters DeAnna Hill of Seward, Alaska, Debbie Loomis (Brady) of Gig Harbor, WA; grandchildren Brittney Bass (Matt), Garrett (Trisha), Grant (Kirstin), & Greyson Loomis (Meressa), his brother Monty Hill (Lilas), Niece Tina Ailinger (Brian). Four great granddaughters and two great grandsons and special family Molly & Tai Rogers and a number of friends.
Services will held at Spencer Libby and Powell on Tuesday, July 6th, 2016 at 12:00 pm. Donations should be sent to Heart of Hospice or a Charity of Choice.
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