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Harley Hill
  • In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to: the Gregory Golf Course.
  • Gregory Golf Course
    28820 339 Ave
    Gregory, SD 57533
  • In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to: the Gregory Ambulance
  • Gregory Ambulance
    Po Box 411
    Gregory , SD 57533

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Kotrba-Smith Funeral Home

Kotrba-Smith Funeral Home
101 Gerkin
Gregory, SD 57533
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Memories & Candles

“Dearest Rollie, Katherine, Hill family etal, I am saddened to hear about Harley's passing. He was a friend of my Dad's, my family and myself growing...Read More »
1 of 3 | Posted by: Ron Nikodym - Shawnee, KS

“Harley you were such a great man! I fondly remember playing golf with you & your group as a young boy. I felt honored that you guys would allow me to...Read More »
2 of 3 | Posted by: Steven Ehnes - New Castle, CO

“Harley was several years ahead of me in High School but I still remember his transfer to Burke and also when he crashed his plane in the Dixon area....Read More »
3 of 3 | Posted by: Jim Harder - Winner, SD - Friend

Harley Hill, 93, passed away on May 25, in West River Gregory, South Dakota. He was born June 30, 1922, to Rollie and Eva Hill, on the family homestead north of Gregory. His mother was not happy with the doctor's fee of $25. He joined his sister and only sibling, Marcellene. Harley traveled by horseback with his big sister to rural schools in Gregory County during the Depression. He was expelled from Gregory High School for good reason and later went on to graduate from Burke High School in 1940, along with his future wife, Katherine Neuroth. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Harley enlisted in the Navy and Katherine entered nurses training at St. Vincent's in Sioux City, Iowa, graduating a registered nurse in 1944. They married later that year on September 22, 1944, while stationed in Beeville, Texas.

When Harley entered naval flight training, he was assigned to Yankton College for ground school. He was later stationed in Corpus Christi, Texas for primary flight school. He received his wings on June 3, 1944, and was commissioned a Navy Air Corps Ensign. Harley was then assigned as a primary flight instructor in Beeville, Texas where he taught touch-and-go night landings. His final assignment was Atlanta, Georgia, training pilots to be flight instructors. His favorite plane was the Stearman Model 75. The war ended and Harley was honorably discharged on November 29, 1945, in Chicago.

Harley and Kate returned to Gregory where they operated a hardware store and Harley also managed the Gregory airport along with flight instruction to many Gregory County residents. They had four children between 1950 and 1966. Harley started a construction company in 1947 building houses, motels, and commercial buildings in South Dakota and Nebraska over the years. Some of these homes are a part of Hill's First Addition to Gregory.

In 1951, Harley purchased a ranch on the Missouri River leading to his retirement from flying after crashing his Piper Cub checking cattle. He started raising Quarter Horses during this time and stood several stallions for breeding services. He enjoyed his many years of raising and showing horses throughout the Midwest. He was a life member of the AQHA and served in all offices of the SDQHA, president in 1962. Along with the construction business, he farmed and ranched in Gregory County his entire life. Harley drove school bus to many sporting events in his retirement years and was an avid Gregory Gorilla Fan.

Harley took up golf in his early 70s and shot under his age several times in his LATE 80s on his home course. He played every course in western South Dakota. He took up artistic painting in his 80s and painted many homesteads, horses, and portraits of his grandkids. He won several awards through the Dakota MasterWorks Art Shows over the years. His artwork is on display throughout Gregory County. He was active in the Gregory American Legion over the years, taking his turn hiding slot machines at the ranch when a raid might be in the works.

Highlights in Harley's later years was going on a WWII Honor Flight traveling from Rapid City to Washington, D.C., with a west river crew. He was honored as the Gregory July 4th Parade Marshal for his 90th birthday. Harley was the resident historian of Gregory County and could remember every team of mules and good cutting horse in the country. He was the go-to-guy for the history of many families and milestones in the area.

Harley Henry Hill is survived by Katherine, residing at Silverleaf in Philip; his four children, Rollie (Elle) Hill of Rapid City; Randy (Dolores) Hill of Dallas, Texas; Donna (Ray) Smith of Philip; DeAnn Hill of Omaha; 10 grandchildren; a bunch great-grandchildren; two great-great-granddaughters; and sister Marcie Peterson of Cameron Park, California.

A special thanks to Harley's family at Silverthreads Assisted Living where he resided the past few years and the hospice staff at the Avera Gregory Healthcare Center.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Funeral services for Harley Hill, 93, of Gregory, SD, were held Saturday, May 28, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Gregory with Pastor Royal Archer officiating. A visitation was held Friday evening at Kotrba-Smith Funeral Home.

Recorded music was "There You'll Be" by Faith Hill and "Amazing Grace" and "I'll Fly Away" by Alan Jackson.

Chelsea Hill and Riley Hill were in charge of registration.

Elmer Karl gave the eulogy.

Casket Bearers were Doug Pochop, Gavin Pochop, Ray Smith, Jordan Smith, Ace Arizmendis, and Brandon Arizmendis.

Military Honors were given by the Gregory American Legion and the Navy Reservists.

Burial will take place in a private service at a later date.