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His Life

Wendell L. Hill, Jr - Obituary

August 25, 2023
Wendell L. Hill, Jr., born December 28, 1952, passed peacefully in his sleep in the comfort of his home in Olney, Maryland on August 18, 2023 at the age of 70. 

Wendell was born in Takoma Park, Maryland where his parents first met.  He lived in Montgomery County in a house his father built.  In his early years he enjoyed fun-filled summers traveling and camping with his family on long treks, visiting other family in California and even going south of the border to Mexico.  He absorbed America’s history, witnessing the beauty of national parks, natural landmarks, and differing cultures and foods.  Frequently summers were spent at Deep Creek Lake learning to swim, camping in the family’s travel trailer, and playing with family friends.  He got to experience more in his childhood than most people do in their lifetimes.

From an early age and to the end of his life, Wendell enjoyed learning new magic tricks and delighted in entertaining all who were interested.  During grade school years, he would film scripted “Hollywood-style movies” with his neighborhood friends and hold viewings of the films with popcorn and treats for all in attendance.  As a teen Wendell loved and collected comic books and learned to draw from transposing the pictures of his favorite comic heroes.  In his high school years, he planned grand and elaborate Halloween experiences, engaging his friends as volunteers to execute the haunted events.  He got involved in other extracurriculars such as the school newspaper and was eventually found to be a “pretty funny guy.”  One of his teachers encouraged him to partner with his close friend Kurt to perform a comedy routine at Takoma Academy’s talent show.  This would be the world’s introduction to the infamous “Reichenbach & Hill” comedy duo.  Their comedy routine repeatedly won the top award at the T.A. talent show, and they went on to perform at every alumni reunion they could attend thereafter.

After graduating from Takoma Academy, he went on to earn a degree in commercial art from Montgomery College.  After that he spent a summer in Northern Virginia with a small church group learning the art of Bible study.  He also began a multi-year personal involvement in church youth group ministry.  In 1974 Wendell attended Andrews University in Michigan to further his religious education.

In 1975 he met the love of his life, Karen Arkebauer, and married her later the same year.  He continued volunteer youth ministry at The Village Church in Berrien Springs, Michigan, and then at the Takoma Park Church after he and Karen returned to Maryland.  In 1981 Wendell and Karen were blessed with their first child, Laura Hill, and their son Wendell (Woody) Hill III six years later.    

Wendell’s first job was in a print shop which was a perfect segway into commercial art.  He later became known for his work in real estate and was also no stranger to small business and consulting.  All of these incorporated his creative talents in writing, drawing, and both physical and digital artwork.  In addition to being an accomplished artist, he also had an ear for music.  He dabbled with the piano, guitar, and harmonica, and had a knack for picking up just about any instrument.  Wendell would quickly decipher whatever melody had been stuck in his head, often adding his own humorous twist to the music and lyrics.

His hobbies included comedic performance, enjoying movies with friends and family, and anything involving J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings.”  In his young adulthood he started, owned, and operated his own company, “Land of Legend” from which he created, produced, and distributed the board game “Quest of the Magic Ring” and a live-action-role-playing instructional booklet entitled “Rules for the Live Ring Game.”  As a result of his business venture, Wendell also began a lifelong trend of staying ahead of the technological curve, and he always procured and mastered the latest computers and tech gadgets for both work and recreation.

More than his professional successes, Wendell will be remembered for his selfless love, genuine caring, and cheerful humor.  His positivity and ability to make people laugh brightened the days of all who knew him.  He was a loving husband and father, and instantly became friends with anyone he met.  There seemed no limit to his willingness to help others and his desire to bring happiness to everyone in his life.

Wendell was a beloved son, husband, father, and uncle.  He was preceded in death by his loving parents, Wendell Hill Sr. and Ruth Hill; his older sister Bonnie Chaney (Carroll); and his loving daughter Laura Hill (Trey).  He is survived by his beloved wife Karen; his son Wendell “Woody” Hill III (Kacie); and his younger sister Kathleen “Kate” Hill.  He also leaves behind a host of extended family including nieces and nephews, in-laws, and life-long friends whom he loved dearly.

Wendell received a liver transplant in 2019 which gave him four extra years of life with his family and friends.  In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Mercy Hospital Institute for Digestive Health and Liver Disease, or to the University of Maryland Medical Center Transplant Team (see links below).  These are causes near and dear to Wendell and to his surviving family.

*** Mailing List for Memorial Updates:

* Mercy Hospital Institute for Digestive Health and Liver Disease:

(click “donate now,” and select “Liver Disease” from the drop-down menu)

* UMMC Transplant Team:

(click “donate now,” and select “Division of Transplantation” from the drop-down menu)

* Register to become an organ donor at: