Midge Gill passed away Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021, after a five-year battle with bladder cancer.
Mom was born July 27, 1942, to Ivar and Mary Nelson in Boise while residing at Cascade. At an early age, Mom’s parents moved to Riggins, where they built the Salmon River Motel on the south end of town. Here Mom learned hard work at a young age. If her mother couldn’t bounce a quarter off a freshly made motel bed, Mom wouldn’t earn her allowance. After selling the motel, her parents bought and ran a store in downtown Riggins, where Mom stocked shelves, worked as a cashier and cleaned the meat saw every night.
Mom was athletic, fiery and competitive. She could swim like a fish in the Salmon River and walk on her hands in the sand. When Mom was a senior in high school, she lost her dad; from this point on, she did not want any service when she passed. The loss of her father was hard, but by this time she had met her high school sweetheart. She graduated from Salmon River High in 1960. Mom always said when people asked her what she wanted to do in life, all she knew was that she wanted to marry Melvin Gill. This accomplishment happened June 4, 1961, in the yard of the Old Highway Inn on Main Street in Riggins. This union lasted almost 60 years. Together Melvin and Midge raised a son, Marty, and a daughter, Shelley.
Mom had a good business head and together she and Dad built and ran a sizeable Salmon River cattle ranch. In 1968, Mom went to work for the United States Postal Service as the Lucile postmaster. This career lasted 30 years, 14 as the Lucile postmaster and 16 as a Riggins distribution clerk — a downgrade Mom chose so she didn’t have to work six days a week, giving her more time to spend with her family rodeoing and ranching. The continuation of the Lucile Post Office was important to Mom; in 1971, she and Dad built and continue to own the little building that currently houses the small community mail stop.
Early years together, Mom and Dad loved to square dance. Mom was an accomplished seamstress, sewing their matching outfits and always making Dad’s Western shirts with snaps and, later, matching rodeo pickup men shirts for Dad and Marty. Always willing to help out, Mom timed many jackpot team ropings and the White Bird Rodeo for several years. When four-wheelers arrived at the Gill Ranch, Mom was all onboard, having never mastered horseback riding, she could now get on her orange machine, load her border collie, Cactus, and help Dad chase cows. She enjoyed spending time at cow camp with family and good friends, sitting around the campfire. Mom liked to fish in small streams and ponds, but a tangled line was usually the outcome, often giving those watching a good laugh.
Having always drawn detailed house plans, Mom designed her and Dad’s dream home in 1999, with a beautiful view of Lucile and John Day Mountain. Mom knew just how wide rooms, windows, doors, everything should be laid out; overseeing this project to the point Holcomb Construction teased her about hiding her tape measure. When the Gill Ranch designed a new cattle working facility, it was Mom who figured out where to place it underroof next to the barn in view of the house.
She loved her son-in-law, Garrett, who was always willing to help her with household repairs. If a gadget came out that made cooking or housekeeping easier, Mom had it. Mom was independent, sharp and quick; she enjoyed playing bridge, first with the Riggins gals, later online in the early morning while Dad fixed breakfast. Mom took to the computer quickly, and online shopping was the only way to go; after retiring, she didn’t want to leave home if she didn’t have to. All her life, Mom loved to read. You never had to ask Mom what she meant, if she didn’t like something, she told you in words you definitely understood. Mom’s spoiled house cat, Miss Kitty, was a great comfort to her these last few years.
Midge leaves behind her loving husband, Melvin; son Marty; daughter Shelley (Garrett) Neal; a sister, Marianne (Bob) Ewing; two grandsons, Clark and Drew Gill; three nieces, Amy (Andrew) McCullough, Gayle (Jim) Hagler and Donna Gill.
We honored Mom’s wishes to be cremated, kept until Dad goes then together scattered by air over their Cow Creek ranch.
Arrangements are under the direction of Blackmer Funeral Home of Grangeville.