Lenora (Lenny) Lillian Hill

Obituary of Lenora (Lenny) Lillian Hill

Lenora (Lenny) Hill passed away peacefully on May 4, 2022. Predeceased by her parents, Mona (neé Merrifield) and Leonard Hill, and by other treasured family, including Aunt Eileen, Uncle Lew and Uncle Bud, she leaves to mourn her cousin Sheila Arnold and countless friends, including Anne Brammer (Floyd Toole); Douglas Bieber (Mona); Jakki Gordon; the Riseborough family, Pamela (Thomas), William (Nancy), Edwin (Antonia), Rosalind (the late Daniel), and their children; the Brown family, David (Teresa) and Steve (Karen), and their children; Barbara Whalen Purcell (Shannon); Wendy LeClair (Barry Matechuk); and Linda Carter (Gordon). Also predeceased by treasured friends Viola and William Riseborough; Mabell LeClair (Peter); John Strang; Walter Brown; Jeannie and Gordie MacDonald; and Joyce Mead Delle Palme and Joe Delle Palme.

Lenny was born in Ottawa and grew up here. She had a behind-the-scenes view of Canada’s efforts during the Second World War because her father worked for the House of Commons. In fact, she was seated at the desk of an absent MP on the day Churchill delivered his fiery “Some chicken, some neck” speech to Parliament. She attended Percy Street P.S., Glashan Middle School and then Lisgar Collegiate. She fondly remembered the horse-drawn milk wagon (so that she could pet the horse, of course), and milk shakes with her school chums on Friday afternoons.

After Lisgar, Lenny attended Carleton College, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts. She enjoyed the college life, attending fundraisers, going to dances in Aylmer and expanding her network of friends.

When she began working full time, Lenny was one of very few female staffing (recruitment) officers in the federal government during the 1950s and 1960s. She advocated for including women on hiring panels for female candidates. Often finding herself the only woman on an interview board, she would push back on managers who wanted to hire their friends or people who were just like themselves. Lenny was always challenging them to pick the right person (male or female, younger or older) because they were the best qualified or had the greater potential to do the job. This didn’t always make her popular, but her instincts were right. Her integrity earned the respect of not only other managers, but also the people she championed, who tried even harder to prove that Lenny was right. She kept her colleagues on their toes in day-to-day interactions too, expecting them to also follow her high standards.

But the workplace was also where Lenny forged deep and lasting friendships. She happily recounted stories of downtown picnics with Doug and other work pals, involving crackers, cheese and clandestine bottles of wine.

After being in the public service for 30 years, Lenny retired to pursue her love of travel, and she was fortunate that so many of her friends shared that passion. She explored the United Kingdom (with many trips to London), Europe, Scandinavia, Hawaii, New York City, California, Florida (and many other U.S. spots on yearly car journeys to Florida), and more. She appreciated good wine—especially good champagne!—and good chocolate.

Lenny loved animals. For most of her life, Lenny shared her home with her adoring black cocker spaniels: Jeep, Missy, Shanty and Pepper. She missed having them around in her later years, often reaching down to give them phantom pats on the head.

Another lifelong passion was her cottage in the Gatineau Hills. Many happy memories were made there with family and friends—marshmallow roasts around the campfire, late-night card games, brook trout breakfasts, hikes to Lac La Pêche, an infamous pig roast to celebrate an engagement soon followed by another celebration to rejoice in 50 years of the cottage.

Lenny left an indelible mark on the lives of many, who will greatly miss her quickness to laugh, her kindness and generosity, her great wit, and her love for her friends.

Lenny was proud to have been retired longer than she had been in the workforce. She achieved her hope of staying in her home, thanks to the support of Barb, Sally Houston and the staff of Saint Elizabeth Health Care. She was able to keep looking her best thanks to mobile esthetician Trudy Albert. Lenny’s final weeks in Élisabeth Bruyère Hospital were buoyed by bedside visits from Anne, Pam and her wide circle of friends, and all the caring staff, including Nurse Julie and Nurse Laura.

If you would like to make a donation in her memory, her favourite charities included the Ottawa Humane Society, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and the Salvation Army.



Eulogy Delivered by Pam Riseborough for

Lenny’s Inurnment, May 6, 2022

Since last Wednesday, I have been driving all over Ottawa to take care of things and everywhere I look, I see some landmark that sparks a Lenny memory. She is deeply woven in the fabric of my life, as I know she is for many of you here. I am grateful that there will always be reminders of her as I go about my day-to-day life.

Lenny was witty, vivacious, generous and caring. She loved animals (especially black cocker spaniels), travelling, the theatre, reading and learning new things, and spending time at the cottage. And of course she had a highly—dare I say it?—infectious laugh.

Through school, through friends and through work, Lenny cultivated lifelong friendships with so many people, including those here, and some who passed away earlier, such as Mabell LeClair, Walt Brown, Jeannie and Gordie MacDonald, Joyce and Joe Delle Palme, my parents, Vi and Bill Riseborough, and John Strang, with whom Lenny will share this niche. There are many more—these are the ones whose stories Lenny has shared with me.

Others still could not make it here today, such as:

  • Barb Whalen Purcell, who lovingly cared for Lenny and made it possible for her to achieve her hope of staying in her home
  • Mabell’s daughter, Wendy LeClair, who regularly sent baked goodies and COVID care packages
  • Lenny’s cousin, Sheila Arnold, who shared that when Sheila visited Ottawa, Lenny took her to the horse races because she knew Sheila loved horses
  • My sister-in-law, Nancy Scott, who took care of many practical things these past few years so that they would not be overlooked

Even in palliative care, Lenny was still her sparkling self, befriending her nurses and the other caring staff, while baffling the doctors.

In the last few years, part of my friendship with Lenny involved helping her get things done. We often joked about developing a plan, and then a Plan B, and, sometimes, a Plan C. While she lived by her very high standards, Lenny was canny enough to know that life always had the last laugh. So her attitude was, why not laugh along with it? And that, I think, is how all of us remember Lenny: laughing at the absurdity of life and delighting in sharing that laugh with friends.


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Lenora (Lenny) Lillian