Ryan Hill suspected the worst Sunday morning when his father, an LDS Church mission president in Ghana, phoned and asked him to hold while he added Ryan’s siblings to the call.
Ryan thought there may have been a death in the family, but it didn’t cross his mind that it could be his mother, Sister Raelene B. Hill, 64, who unexpectedly died on Sunday in South Africa from complications following a routine medical procedure.
Sister Hill, a native of Ogden, Utah, had been serving in Ghana since July 2013 with her husband, President Norman C. Hill, president of the Ghana Accra West Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“One of our ancestors is Rebecca Burdick Winters, who died as a pioneer in 1852 and whose grave is marked on the Mormon Trail,” Ryan Hill said. “I’ve thought today about how my mom is like that. Our family has always been willing to sacrifice whatever the Lord would ask. She went on this mission because she knew it was important and the call came from the Lord.”
Sister Hill traveled from Ghana to South Africa for a procedure to remove kidney stones and died when complications developed.
“(The Hills) are deeply loved by their family, church leaders and their missionaries,” LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins said. “We pray for each of them at this difficult time and extend our love to President Hill and his family.”
The Hills were members of the Klein Texas LDS Stake before leaving on their mission. Sister Hill was a former Texas Mother of the Year and a past president of American Mothers.