Margaret “Midge” Gill, 78

Midge passed away February 14, 2021, after a five year battle with bladder cancer. Mom was born July, 27, 1942, to Ivar & Mary Nelson in Boise, ID 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 hardwork 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, there Mom stocked shelves, worked as a cashier, 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.

Upon graduating 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 on June 4, 1961, in the yard of the Old Highway Inn main street Riggins. This union lasted almost 60 years. Together Melvin & Midge raised a son, Marty, and a daughter, Shelley. Mom had a good business head and together her 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 down grade Mom chose so she didn’t have to work 6 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, her and Dad built and continue to own the little building that currently houses the small community mail stop.

Early years together, Mom & 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 4 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 dog “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 on-line in the early morning while Dad fixed breakfast. Mom took to the computer quickly, and on-line 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 the Blackmer Funeral Home, Grangeville.

Condolences to the family of Margaret “Midge” Gill, 78

  • Liz Dailey says:

    Sorry to hear this and that her last years were not as good as they should have been. She is free now. Take care you guys.

  • Ann and Clare Chapman says:

    We enjoyed getting to know Midge and Melvin during our efforts together regarding the Poe Cabin fire. Midge seemed to be on top of the case as it referred to their (Gill’s) losses of cattle. We got to know Shelley and Garrett during this time as well.
    Please accept our condolences for your loss of Midge. Your family is strong and will continue to succeed as the torch is passed to a younger generation.
    Warmly and with high regard,
    Ann and Clare Chapman

  • Sheryl Bentz says:

    I am so sorry for your loss, your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Norm and Joyce Close says:

    Beautifully written. Midge was a wonderful person. we were privelged to be good friends for over 45years. Midge will remain in our hearts with treasured memories forever.

  • Rob Robinson says:

    It was a privilege and a joy to have known Midge. I will miss her her and her stories. “Well shit the bed”. We will won’t soon forget her.

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