Nita Ruth Hilton was born on October 25, 1943, in Oakland California. She was the second child born to Joyce Van Noy Hilton and Eugene Savage Hilton. Nita was the oldest granddaughter of two prominent LDS (Mormon) families with a long heritage of sacrifice and service. Nita Ruth as her family called her was named after her two grandmothers Oneita Lewis -Van Noy & Herbert Adamson Van Noy and Ruth Naomi Savage & Eugene Hilton.
As a child, she was surrounded by a multitude of Uncles, Aunts, Cousins. Her favorite playmates were her brothers and cousins. At a young age, Nita formed a love for literature, learning, and religion. Nita was an inquisitive and independent child always asking questions in an attempt to understand the world around her. Her inquisitive nature sometimes got her into scrapes like falling off the second story balcony of her grandparent’s house in Oakland when she was supposed to be napping. She landed in a bush and proceed to go up to the house and knock on the door so someone would let her back in. She could be found many nights reading books by flashlight after her bedtime. As a child, she also formed a love for nature and wide-open spaces spending time exploring the Oakland Hills with her siblings and cousins. She enjoyed taking care of others and helping those she felt were in need and could be found sneaking stray animals into the house.
Many of her childhood memories took place in the home built for the family by her father and his brothers on 2627 Charelston st. in Oakland, California directly below what would later become the LDS Oakland Temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She has a multitude of memories involving church friends and family meeting several prophets and apostles of the church over dinners at her grandparent’s house.
As a teenager and youth Nita excelled in school becoming a National Merit Scholar and taking classes at Cal Berkley while still in High School. In High School, she was actively involved in competitive swimming, synchronized swimming, played the French Horn in the band, and was a song girl (Cheerleader). Some of her favorite memories as a teenager were hiking the John Muir trail with her dad & brothers as well as spending the summer swimming near the family cabin in Clear Lake. While in High School Nita became friends with people from many different racial and religious backgrounds. She graduated from Oakland High School in the Spring of 1961 as a 17-year-old.
Nita studied at Brigham Young University in Provo Utah. Nita planned to become a nurse and studied nursing her first few years of college even doing residency time in an Oakland Hospital. She changed her major to education during her Sophomore year in 1962. At a Fall dance at BYU in the Autumn of that year, she looked out from a balcony and saw a handsome young man who caught her eye. This young man had curly dark hair, facial hair, and was tall with broad-shouldered. He was dressed in a Flannel Shirt, Levi’s, and White Buck Shoes. Luckily she knew one of the men that was talking to him and proceed to go find out who this young man was. After he asked her to dance they were pretty much inseparable until he died fifty years later. She went home that evening and wrote to her mother to say she had met the man she planned to marry. This was met with some mixed feelings at home as she had a missionary Teddy out in the mission field thinking he would come home to marry her. Instead, she married her soul mate Ralf Joseph Farrell on August 9, 1963, in Oakland CA.
Ralf and Nita continued there educations at BYU. As they were both students they had very little money and spoke laughingly about surviving on a hundred pounds of potatoes one of Ralf’s Jardin Uncles gave them at a wedding gift. There the first year of marriage also included a questionable studio apartment with a toilet/shower combo in the living area. Sadly there first years of marriage were not all smiles and laughter. Nita suffered her first of many unsuccessful pregnancies on February 12th, 1964 giving birth to a premature baby Richard John Farrell in Provo, Utah. Nita’s aunts and uncles put together a funeral service and chipped in to pay for a burial marker for baby Richard. Nita was heartbroken and it put a strain on their marriage but they stayed together getting sealed to their son on August 11, 1964, in the Logan Utah Temple. Nita gave birth to and lost their second child Christian Farrell on February 22nd, 1965. During this time Nita finished her degree in Education at BYU and the couple moved back to California spending some living with both of their parents. Nita also started attending the University of California San Fransisco working on her Masters in the education of the Othopediacly Handicapped while Ralf continued his education at Cal Berkely. Nita gave birth to her third child Virginia Ruth Farrell on August 23rd, 1966. Virginia only lived a few days.
In the Fall of 1966, their home was filled with joy when Nita and Ralf were able to bring home a beautiful baby boy Patrick Eugene Farrell on October 23rd, 1966. This is also the year that Nita started her first teaching position teaching at Sunset School in San Leandro in a program for the Orthopedically Handicapped where she made many life long friends. After months in the hospital, Nita gave birth to Erik Michael Farrell on December 9th, 1967 at UCSF Medical Center in San Franciso California. Family stories from this time period include the joy of raising two young boys in Berkley California while living off Telegraph avenue during the years that would later be called the Summer of Love. Patrick and Erik were active children often getting themselves into scrapes. Many stories from this time period are of their mischievous activities.
Nita, Ralf, and the family moved from Berkley California north to Davis California so Ralf could work on his Doctorate in Cultural Anthropology at UC Davis in the fall of 1970. The family spent two years living in Davis before moving to the Puebla Valley of Mexico where Ralph would continue to work on his Doctorate. They loved this time in Mexico and often spoke of it fondly of the experiences they had there.
Nita found out she was pregnant in early 1974. She was told that her pregnancy was extremely high risk so she returned to the United States so that she could be treated once again at UCSF medical center. After several months of near-death experiences, Nita gave birth to Meaghan Elise Farrell on August 26, 1974. Meaghan was too small and frail to travel to Mexico and live at the high altitude of the Puebla Valley as she was born 12 weeks early weighing in at just three pounds four ounces. The family moved back to Oakland while Meaghan and Nita recovered during the fall of 1974 and winter of 1975.
During the summer of 1975, the family moved to the Monterey Bay Area where Nita had got a teaching job teaching for Monterey County Office of Education at Sherwood Elementary School in Salinas California in a class for the Orthopedically Handicapped. Soon after moving to the area, the family bought a home at 99B Echo Valley Road in Prunedale California where Nita and Ralf would both live for the rest of their lives. On August 23rd of 1977, the family was blessed with the birth of Donald Scott Farrell at UCSF Medical Center. Brenden Sean Farrell then joined the family on February 16, 1979. During these years of family life, Nita could often be found rushing between work, baseball, soccer, karate, swimming, dance lessons, Boy Scouts, and church activities. Nita excelled as an educator and was one of the California Teachers of the Year in the early ’80s.
Nita was plagued by a variety of chronic health issues but chose to live her life fully with a simile on her face. You would rarely hear her complain about any of her health issues. In the winter of 1977, Ralf had a life-changing accident that left him in debilitating chronic pain. Leaving Nita with the responsibility to be the main provider for the family. Nita stood by Ralf though decades of surgeries, struggles, and pain.
Nita loved people fully. She had a way of making people feel loved, accepted, and cared for. She had the ability to see the best in people and to help them want to be better. She had friends from all walks of life never caring about someone’s race, religion, or orientation. She spent years serving others both at work and in a variety of church callings, including working with the churches 12 step recovery program which she did for the last 15 years. Throughout her life, she kept her love of books, learning, and study. The joy of my mother’s life was her husband, children, and grandchildren.
Nita was proceeded in death by her parents, grandparents a multitude of Aunts and Uncles, her husband Ralf Joseph Farrell, and her children Richard, Christian, and Virginia. Nita is survived by her brothers Herb and Jerry Hilton, her sisters Judi Merrill, Bonnie Dennison, Jaci Kern, their spouses, and children. She was also survived by her inlaws Jack Farrell, Shirlee Farrell, Teri Beardsley, Mark Farrell, and Lori Barrato, their spouses and children. Nita is survived by her children and their spouses Patrick & Babara, Erik & Tania, Meaghan & Darin, Donald & Ashley, Brenden & Meghann. She is survived by her grandchildren, Dustyn, Nathan, Benjamin, Jacob, Brighton, Ellison, Nicolas, Maximus, Cameron, Jackson, Connor, Emalia, Lucy, and Brooks.