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For Trout Lake Fair

Bugs and Rainy Hill named honorees for the fair

Eugene Walter (Bugs) and Lorraine (Rainy) Hill are both "locals."

Bugs was born in The Dalles (where his father, upon first sight of his new son, said he looked like a bug, hence the nickname) and moved to White Salmon when he was five. Rainy was born in Trout Lake in her Gramma's boarding house that was where Velda Meyer's house now sets. After leaving Trout Lake as a child, Rainy lived in Washougal for a few years and then moved to White Salmon at the beginning of high school. Even while living in Washougal and White Salmon, Rainy spent a lot of time in Trout Lake with her family who still lived here.

Bugs and Rainy were in the same class in high school in White Salmon. During their sophomore year, after the spring concert, they were with some friends and Rainy asked, "So who's going to walk me home?" Bugs answered at once, "I am." That was the beginning of the romance. They married on November 15, 1940, during their senior year, after Bugs worked all summer to earn the money to buy Rainy a wedding ring set. They got married on a Friday, borrowed Bugs' dad's car to go to Portland for a weekend honeymoon, and were back to school on Monday!

They worked with Bugs's father at Hill's Red and White Grocery until Bugs went in the Army in 1942 and trained as a Combat Engineer. Their daughter, Sherry, was born in 1943. During 1943, Bugs went to England and missed Sherry's first birthday in 1944. During 1944, he was in France at the end of the Battle of the Bulge and, thankfully, missed the gun play.

When he returned home, Bugs and Rainy returned to the grocery. They eventually took over from his father and worked a total of 30 years in the grocery business. Bugs also drove school bus while in White Salmon. When they moved to Trout Lake after retiring from the grocery, they both went to work as custodians at the school. Bugs drove the bus here for about eight years. He retired from bus driving, telling Rainy that he was now driving the third generation of a family and it was time to quit. The family was the Huffsmiths. He drove Punky in White Salmon, Guy and Roger in Trout Lake, and when Shannon got on his bus, Bugs decided it was time to retire.

Bugs and Rainy have always been outdoor people. They've always hiked, backpacked, down hill and cross country skied, camped, and rock and bottle hunted and used to snowmobile. Their first camping trip after Bugs returned from the Army was to Bird Lake. They had no camping gear, but they were loaned some quilts and cast iron pots and pans. Bugs built a lean-to out of fir boughs and used more boughs for the bed. The quilts were placed on top of the boughs and they slept with 3-year-old Sherry and 9-month-old Dennis between them. Every year since then, Bugs and Rainy have spent a week camping at Bird Lake.

They have walked around Mt. Adams three times. The first time was in 1957, when they took their two children, who were 9 and 12, and went with another family and horses. The next two times they backpacked. The second walk they went with their daughter and her teenage daughters. The last time was in 1989, when their 8-year-old great grandson, Eric, wanted to beat his Uncle Dennis's 9 year old record, to be the youngest in the family to walk around the mountain. Rainy has climbed the mountain twice and Bugs has been up and down it more times than he can remember.

Bugs and Rainy were members of the Mt. Adams Ski Club. They used to come to Trout Lake and ski on a hill that the club built on Hollenbeck Road and the hill where Jonna Morgan's house is now. They also skied on a hill at Wicky Creek.

As Rainy says, "Mt. Adams has always been our life."

Although a mostly happy life, theirs has not been without its tragedies. Daughter Sherry died in 1996 of cancer. They lost a great, great grandson at 7 months old, Cody, in 2001. And this summer, they lost their grandson-in-law, Lenny Schalk. Through all of this, though, Bugs and Rainy keep their sunny outlooks and are a joy to be around.

Their family has been and is made up of their daughter, Sherry Spring and her husband Larry; Sherry's daughter Lora Skerbitz, her husband James, and their daughter Amanda; Sherry's daughter Kim Schalk, her husband Lenny, and their children Eric and Sharlene. Eric is married to Katherine and their child was Cody. Bugs and Rainy's son is Dennis, his wife is Carolyn. They have three children: Jeff who is married to Stacey, and their children are Jordan and Alyssa. Jamie is married to Crystal. Jaqui is their youngest and Bugs and Rainy's youngest grandchild. So, that makes one son, one daughter-in-law, five grandchildren, three grandchildren-in-law, five great-grandchildren, one great grandchild-in-law to brighten their lives. And don't forget Candy, the dog who lives, hikes and camps with them.

After almost 63 years of marriage, always spent working and playing together, Bugs and Rainy are still in love and are great friends to one another. They are so fun to be with and seem to always have young people around them. They're very active, still backpacking, hiking and camping, and walking with "the group" almost every morning, and enjoying every minute of it. The day of this interview Rainy was complaining, because three of her grandchildren were heading to Bird Lake and would get there before her this year.


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