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home : obituaries : obituaries August 20, 2017

5/9/2017 1:50:00 PM
Carmen Millar Hull October 26, 1941 - April 27, 2017

Carmen Millar Hull passed at her Sisters home with her husband and daughter by her side from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. For three years, she steadfastly continued to live fully as the disease progressed, with grace and all the abilities she could muster.

Carmen was literally born at an insane asylum in Memomanie, Wisconsin, where her father, Gordon Millar, was the farm manager and her mother, Irma Millar, oversaw the housing and meals. She grew up with a sister and brother and an extended family of mental patients in the huge facility. She learned from early childhood that there is more to each of God's children than what appears on the surface.

As children, Carmen and her siblings worked alongside the patients who were capable of and aspired to be part of the farm production. They tended a 10-acre garden on the 1,100-acre farm and cared for Belgian horses, cattle, poultry and pigs, which fed up to 130 residents of the facility, staff and patients. They were so successful that the farm sold livestock and produce to the surrounding community.

The Belgian horses added to the joys of childhood when the young children groomed them for horse shows and fairs, and were trusted to lead the giant steeds into show arenas. Thus, Carmen developed a lifelong love for horses and for draft horses in particular. She and her husband, Allen, traveled to an annual Idaho Draft Horse Sale, where there were even reunions with former Wisconsin friends.

Because of their experience with chronically ill mental patients and their willingness to let patients be part of the farming experience, Carmen's father once prophetically said, "I think that someday we're going to find out that getting out on the land and especially working with animals is good therapy for people." That attitude was planted in Carmen's heart.

She attended college at the Eau Claire, Wisconsin, a satellite campus of University of Wisconsin.

Carmen married Bill Wynveen in the 1970s. The couple moved to Portland, Oregon, where Bill did graduate studies. She began her working career at Management Compensation Group as assistant to the president for 10 years, and then at Massachusetts Mutual, another investment-life insurance company. A divorce led her to expand her horizons in her working world.

Her longest career was at the Oregon Board of Medicine, where she was hired as a temp. She developed a protocol for physicians who suffered alcoholism and addiction that including counseling, family therapy and treatment. Her incredible organization skills resulted in her being hired to manage this program in the Oregon Health Professionals Program from 1995 until 2008.

She met Allen Hull at a mutual friend's birthday party in 1980. They were inseparable from that time, marrying in 1982. The couple rode bicycles all over Portland with her stepchildren, Dana and Darin, long before bicycles became an Oregon identity. She and Allen enjoyed listening to jazz and socializing with a wide range of friends. They were regular hosts of house guests and companions, including dogs. They showed American Water Spaniels at championships.

The Hulls were very active members of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Beaverton, Oregon.

Carmen's stepdaughter, Dana, described her as her "do-over mother," a mom who was a best friend and taught Dana to knit and quilt.

In the 1980s, Carmen joined the Singing Christmas Tree, a Portland tradition. She continued to sing with the choir until her disease caused her to quit singing three years ago, traveling to practices weekly in the fall for the Christmas performances.

With a move to Sisters in 2006, Carmen became active in Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church. She served on the church council for six years, the last three years as council chair. As her disease progressed, she joyfully rode her power wheels from their Coyote Springs home to church meetings, as weather permitted, in another display of grit and independence.

She was a member of the Sisters Philanthropic Education Organization (PEO). She was also a clarinet player in Cascade Horizons Band, where she played her old high school clarinet in her first performances. She sang in Sisters High Desert Chorale for nearly 10 years, and continued playing in the Sisters High Desert Bell Choir until spring of 2016.

With the diagnosis of this terminal disease, Carmen never complained about her lot in life. Not even to Allen. She adapted with all that technology had to offer as her abilities declined. The Hulls became active in ALS Walks, with a support group of church members and friends. In her last months, she spoke through her computer, even to lead council meetings.

Her faith carried her with a security that gave her peace and trust to the end. She was a powerful lesson in love and acceptance.

Carmen is survived by her husband of 35 years, Allen Hull, daughter, Dana; sister Sandra Calvert; nieces Shelley Magnani (Jay) and Patricia Richards (Patrick).

A memorial service will be held at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church on June 17 at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations are made in memory of Carmen to the ALS Society of Oregon and Southwest Washington, 700 NE Multnomah St., Portland, OR 97232, or

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