Rachel Frances Hill, devoted wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend to so many, ended her journey with breast cancer on Saturday, June 16th, 2018. She rode through her illness as she lived her life - with grace, dignity, and courage; meeting every challenge head on. She passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by loved ones.
Rachel was born on December 15th, 1963, in Hastings, England. Her family later immigrated to Canada in 1966. Rachel grew up in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, on Moose Crossing Farm where she lived with her family enjoying the outdoors. Her childhood experiences led to a lifetime of appreciation for farming, gardening, animals, and wildlife.
After graduating high school, Rachel attended the New Liskeard College of Agricultural Technology and graduated with a diploma in agriculture in 1986. She then attended Sir Sandford Fleming College and studied fish and wildlife. It was here that she met the love of her life, Mark Gadawski. They married in 1990 and continued their journey through life together. After graduating, Rachel entered into her field of study and worked for the Ministry of Natural Resources. Her career spanned over 30 years, and she worked in various positions and locations throughout Ontario, until she and Mark settled in Fort Frances in 1998. Here Rachel worked as Senior Technician and later became District Planner - the position she worked in until she began her courageous battle.
Rachel’s fondness for horses led her down many trails, from showing to trail riding and finally to endurance riding. Rachel loved the sport with all of her heart, and could be seen rain, shine or sleet training her horses around the blocks of Alberton. She became an accomplished endurance rider, making many friends along the way and riding thousands of miles throughout North America on her trusty steed “Beamer” (AKA Sunbeam).
Rachel had many talents and was not afraid of any challenge. She had a true passion for her work at the MNR, for her beloved horses and dogs, and loved spending time with family and friends. From raising chickens, rabbits and goats to spinning her own wool (angora) and teaching herself how to knit, nothing was out of her reach. Rachel was also a farrier, a beautiful singer and a talented artist. Her energy was boundless, her love of her life unmatched. As Mark always says, “Happy wife, happy life!” and she was, and it was.
Rachel leaves behind her soulmate, husband Mark Gadawski, mother Julia Hill, special daughter (niece) Alison (daughter, Alyssa) Prentice, sister Rebecca (Yvon) Fortier, sister Ruth Kirkey, nephews and nieces; Daniel (Erica) Prentice, Christina Fortier, Corey (Amanda) Peters, and Alex Daigle.
Rachel was a special daughter-in-law to Connie Gadawski and dear sister-in-law to Pam (son, Sam) Gadawski, Pat (Ron) (children Brooke, Hallie and Wesley) Froman, and Tom Gadawski. She is also survived by her loving aunts, uncles, and cousins in England, including aunt Margaret who was always very special to Rachel.
She was predeceased by her father Roland Hill and her father-in-law Edward Gadawski.
Rachel will be dearly missed by all who knew her tenacious, giving spirit. This includes her special MNR family and her many friends in the horse community and beyond.
A special thanks to Dr. Jenks for all of her care and support.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date. If desired, donations to ‘Riverside Health Care Foundation - designated for the chemotherapy department’ in Rachel’s memory would be greatly appreciated.
“No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle” - Winston Churchill