Obituary: Adeline Keehan Hill

Beloved great grandmother, teacher, prolific volunteer, artist, dancer, musician

Adeline Keehan Hill, beloved “Omi,” died November 22 in Sacramento at the age of 90.

She is survived by her three daughters, Deborah Sutherland, Roberta Suronen and Pamela Reynolds; brother, Rudy Padilla; ten grandchildren; and seven great grandchildren.

Adeline was born on December 27, 1929 in Gallup, New Mexico to Joseph and Flora Padilla. She grew up in the family home, a 24-unit motel, with sisters Tina and Dalila and her brother Rudy. 

She attended the University of New Mexico in Flagstaff, Arizona. She married Robert Francis Keehan in 1951. The couple moved to Claremont to raise their family. 

She taught elementary school for 25 years and was vice principal for three years. After Mr. Keehan’s death in 1988, she married Leonard Hill. Leonard preceded her in death in 2010.

She was dedicated to serving in her local community and church. She presided as president, chairman or board member of numerous organizations, including the American Bell Association, International Southern California Campanology, P.E.O. University Alumni, Rembrandt Club, Assistance League, Meals on Wheels, Curtain Raisers, Fine Arts Foundation, Opera Guild of Pasadena, Foothill Philharmonic of Clarendon, Red Hat Society, Economy Shop, Upland Book Club, church council member, Eucharistic minister, Christian doctrine teacher, children’s choir and hand bell director, Bible study leader, and a certified clown “Fools for Christ.”

She also enjoyed numerous hobbies. She collected more than 3,500 bells, taught bell programs and offered tours of her Claremont home. She decorated 24 themed trees every December (her favorite was the Jesus tree). She and her students won first place trophies in various city parades over 10 years with their nine-foot tall puppets.

She was a painter, a poet and an avid reader. She loved theater, the symphony, opera, country western line dancing, square dancing, tap, hula and Tai Chi.

She played piano, guitar, violin and ukulele.

She had a menagerie of beloved pets her entire life. She wrote and illustrated a children’s book,  Peter and Penny, about her parrot and dove.

She traveled around the world with her husbands and daughters.

Adeline was also known as “Bella the Clown.” Her sidekick was a puppet named Jingles. Together they performed scripture-themed programs with singing, mime, signing, tap, hula, magic tricks, tuned bells and ventriloquism.

She moved to Sacramento in 2016. She attended Divine Mercy Catholic Church and in her last years, Adventure Christian Church of Natomas. 

“She loved the Lord and is now at peace with him for eternity,” her family shared. 

She was buried December 2 at East Lawn Sierra Hills Memorial Park in Sacramento.


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