Gerarda Hill loved to explore, lived all over the world

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 | 10:55 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Gerarda M. Hill was a woman of the world. Over her lifetime, she lived in multiple countries spanning three continents, was a collector of antique maps and was an enthusiastic explorer of diverse cultures.

Gerarda M. Hill died Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. She was 72.

Mrs. Hill was born Gerarda Willemse in Haarlem, the Netherlands, on Jan. 14, 1942, during World War II. Growing up, she learned four languages — Dutch, English, French and German.

As a young woman, she was selected to represent Haarlem and the Netherlands during its world-renowned flower festival.

In 1967, Mrs. Hill left Europe for a job in Princeton, N.J., and met Robert Nelson Hill, then a Ph.D. student at Princeton University. The couple married in Haarlem in 1969.

Mr. and Mrs. Hill continued to travel and over the course of their lifetime lived abroad in Tehran, Iran; Kabul, Afghanistan; Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; and all over the continental United States.

Mrs. Hill retired to Columbia with her husband in 2004.

Mrs. Hill is survived by her husband, Robert Nelson Hill; two sons, Robert Jan Willem Hill and Alexander William James Hill; her sister, Marthina Maria Dennert; and two grandchildren, Charles James Willemse Hill and Jane Emily Holland Hill.

She has two grandchildren in St. Louis.

Two sisters, Neeltje Gerarda Willemse and Melanie Josina Willemse, died earlier.

No service is planned at this time.

Contributions can be made to the Alzheimer's Association Greater Missouri Chapter, 2400 Bluff Creek Drive, Columbia, MO 65201.

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