A blending of family through love

Story and photos
by Janna Virden

It was their grown children who fixed up Fred and Suzanne Hill.

It was Cody Hill, Fred’s son, who called Suzanne’s daughter, Rachel Williams, to get her mom’s number for his dad after they all saw each other at the local Walmart. Even though Fred and Suzanne both lived in the small town of Morrilton for years, they really didn’t know each other. Their kids did, and decided they would make a good match.

Fred and Suzanne just celebrated their two-year wedding anniversary in October. Even though their children got the ball rolling, it has been Fred and Suzanne who have worked hard to blend the two families into one big happy one. Suzanne said, “We had the advantage because our kids liked each other.”

Suzanne and Fred try to have the family over for lunch every Sunday and cook big meals for extended family during the holidays. Part of making their home so inviting is that it is decorated throughout the year, but especially in the fall. Suzanne said from Halloween to Thanksgiving and through the Christmas season, both she and Fred work together to liven up their home and yard by using lots of decorations. Some are handmade while others are heirlooms. Fred does just as much as Suzanne. “He is very good at it, too!”

For years, it was just Fred and Cody. Fred lost his wife, Beverly, several years ago to cancer. When he and Suzanne met and married, he added two daughters, two sons-in-law and three grandchildren to his family. “I love it,” he said. “I have three grandkids.” Next spring, the family will add another member when Cody marries.

During Christmas, Fred and Suzanne set up multiple trees throughout the house. A large tree in the family room is adorned with ornaments from when the children were small; the tree in the living room turns from one designed for fall/Thanksgiving to one decorated for Christmas; and a small tree with ornaments from Fred and Suzanne’s trips has a special place in their bedroom.

Fred and Suzanne have also combined their family heirlooms to create a home full of sentiment. He has an old ceramic snowman that has been in his family for generations, and she has a collection of Christmas houses given to her by friends and family.

Together they have lovingly blended their separate Christmas memories just as they have lovingly blended their families.