Donita Lee Hill Graves,

Donita Lee Hill Graves, 73, passed peacefully Sunday, Jan. 17 at Platte County Memorial Hospital in Wheatland. She was born on Wednesday, July 2, 1947 to Verlyn and June (Snyder) Hill. Her growing up years were spent with her brothers and sister on the family farm at Aurora, S.D.
In 1965, she graduated from Brookings High School. From there it was on to South Dakota State University to earn a degree in nursing. In the summer of 1969, she was the camp nurse at Outlaw Ranch near Custer, S.D. That fall, Donita took a job at Platte County Memorial Hospital in Wheatland. She continued as a registered nurse for 20+ years working with doctors Allison, Wilson, Woods, Howshar, and Thalken. In 1990, Donita retired to take up the job she referred to as “chief cook and bottle washer” at the Graves Ranch.
The love of her life, Jim Graves, became her husband, on Dec. 5, 1970. The couple lived their entire married life on the ranch off Bordeaux Road. It was there they raised their two sons but always had an open house for any young fellas that might need a place to hang out and stay out of trouble. Donita made sure they had something to eat, and Jim made sure they had plenty to do. Ranch life led her to be a lifelong member of the Laramie Peak Cattle Women (Cowbelles).
Donita was a master quilter, who enjoyed creating baby quilts for family, friends, and neighbors near and far. One of her fellow quilters referred to her as “the most intricate quilter” she’d ever seen.
In 2010, she became the researcher/photographer half of what she lovingly referred to as ‘the cemetery ladies’ team. This history buff searched through obituaries and archives to ferret out pertinent information that made the Wheatland Cemetery Gateway Project so important to genealogists, always seeking to make sure every bit of information was correct. Next to her family, this was what she was most proud of accomplishing. Cataloging the 6,000+ burials in the Wheatland Cemetery earned the team the Wyoming State Historical Society’s Award for Historic Restoration/Interpretation and the Daughters of the American Revolution Award for Excellence in Community Service.
Donita was preceded in death by her husband Jim on Dec. 8, 2017 and by her parents. She is survived by son Josh (Jill); granddaughters, Jadea and Jessie of Wheatland; son, Nathan (Susie) of Cheyenne; brothers, Terry Hill (Priscilla) of Aurora, S.D. and Lowell Hill of Bruceville, Texas; and sister, Lorna Hill Roberts (Lee) of Gering, Neb.; as well as, numerous nieces and nephews.
A Funeral Service will be held on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. at the First Christian Church in Wheatland, with Pastor Casey Schroeder officiating. The ashes of this feisty, Covid-free lady will join those of her husband on a hill overlooking the ranch they both loved…and she will always be remembered for her staunch Conservative beliefs and values. The funeral will be lived streamed for those that are unable to attend at
The Gorman Funeral Homes – Platte Chapel of Wheatland are in charge of the arrangements.
Condolences may be sent to the family at


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