Inuvik’s first female mayor, Cynthia Hill, passed away Dec. 13 at the Cottage Hospice in Vancouver, B.C. She was 87.
Hill will be remembered for establishing Inuvik’s first preschool and pushing for the creation of the Inuvik Centennial Library with her husband Dick Hill, according to an obituary submitted by her daughters Jessie and Alice Hill to the Vancouver Sun and the Inuvik Drum.
She sat on the Inuvik Town Council from 1977 to 1978, and then went on to serve as the town’s first female mayor from 1979 to 1982.
Hill was appointed to council again in 1990 until she retired from public service in 1991, when she moved to Calgary, Alta., to complete her law qualifications, articling and becoming a member of the Alberta Bar in 1994.
Hill was born June 21, 1931, to Gilmore Brenton and Alice (Miller) Creelman and grew up in Arlington and Lincoln, Mass.
She graduated from Concord Academy and Radcliffe College of Harvard University and received degrees in law and education from Boston University.
Hill married Richard “Dick” Hill in 1957 and then moved to Toronto. In 1963, they relocated to Inuvik and quickly got involved in the new and growing community.
At first, Hill worked as a primary and secondary school educator. She then became the superintendent of Continuing and Special Education for the Western Arctic.
“She believed that knowledge is power and she worked to empower a generation of Northerners,” her daughters wrote. “Cynthia brought energy, vision, and enthusiasm to everything she did: parenting and grandparenting, friendship, education, town council, and participating in community life as well as organizations including the Liberal Party of Canada, the Arctic Institute of North America, the NWT Association of Municipalities, and the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women. She was an intrepid woman who recognized the potential in people and organizations and worked to realize their potential. Her life had purpose, energy, and passion. Her memory is a blessing.”
Hill leaves behind her two daughters, five grandchildren – Imogen, Hamish, Elina, Caja and Alasdair – her brother James, and many other relatives, friends and neighbours.
In honouring Hill’s wishes, there will not be a funeral but a “Summer Fete” will be organized. Donations can be made in Hill’s memory to the Bloom Group, an organization that funds social services in Vancouver.