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September 4, 2023
September 4, 2023
Gail Silver
To Woody Hill: I don't remember if I sent you a note or not, because I was so distraught at the news of losing your father, Wendell, and, almost at the same time, losing Alan Gross, one of Kurt Reichenbach's and my best friends! Wendell and I became very close when we worked closely together on Kurt's memorial and I was about to call Wendell when I saw your post: I loved Wendell and Alan so much and didn't want to share about Alan's death until I spoke to his magnificent wife, Norma Topa Gross, who is going through such deep sorrow right now, as are you and your family, dear Woody! Wendell and Alan will never be forgotten: Two beautiful human beings. RIP Wendell and Alan and Much Love, Hugs and Support to both of your families! xoxo
September 1, 2023
September 1, 2023
This is John Sweet from the old neighborhood (Hillandale). I lived around the corner on Cresthaven Drive. The fact that I randomly came across this Tribute site is a testament to the connective power and reach of the Internet. And a few coincidences thrown in.

Wow. So sorry to hear this news and condolences to the Hill family and friends. I knew Butch (he was always Butch to me) for a short time but wanted to share a few memories. I think we met in about 1964 and it was through a shared interest in comic books. I vaguely remember a Superman Club (yes, Butch was an organizer!). And the homemade movies. Let me tell you about movies I "acted" in. Butch made a Spiderman movie and I recall his own take on some Twilight Zone stories. And we did one on a popular TV show at the time, The Invaders. And who could forget The Man from U.N.C.L.E.? Butch loved that show.

But the one memory that really sticks out is when Butch created a comic book of his own. He wrote and illustrated the stories and he asked me about producing it (it was on carbon paper). I went to the school front office at Francis Scott Key Jr. High and asked one of the secretaries if she would print it on the "mimeo" machine. And she agreed! So for a year or so I would take the pile of papers into school and she would discretely run it off for us. I'm sure she was a rule-breaker!

We moved away in 1968 or so and I don't think I ever saw Butch again. Ironically, I have lived in Laytonsville for many years just down the road from Olney. Who knows? Our paths may have crossed unknowingly.

Once again, my condolences to all of the Hills. I hope these words have provided a small glimpse into happy days decades ago. I've enjoyed dredging these up.

John Sweet
August 26, 2023
August 26, 2023
The world lost an amazing soul last week. My Dad, Wendell Hill Jr passed away in his sleep last Friday. He was one-of-a-kind, always cheerful and positive, even in the face of adversity and hardship.

In 2018 he was suffering from numerous health issues, the worst of which was a congenital liver disease known as Alpha-1 deficiency. In early 2019 he became the recipient of a new liver, and began the long road of recovery back to full health. He had been away from his home for nearly a year, bouncing between rehab facilities and hospitals, nearly dying about six different times.

This entire time, despite all the reasons he would be justified in acting miserable, he didn’t. He was the opposite. He always smiled and laughed, cracking jokes with every nurse, doctor, and attendant that passed through his room, brightening their days and spreading his cheerful demeanor to others. He fought to live, to have more time on this earth with his family and friends (and to catch a few more movies at the theater while he was at it).

After he was admitted to the hospital in 2018, I made the tough decision to leave New Orleans and return to Maryland. At first I stayed with my sister Laura, but eventually moved in with my Mom and Dad when he returned home from the hospital in 2019. Later my sister joined us, and for a little over a year, the four of us were under the same roof as we had been in my childhood. And during this time, my Dad’s health skyrocketed in the right direction. He was fully rehabilitated, able to move about on his own, and even kept up a light exercise routine (I had never witnessed this before in my life). He survived the pandemic despite being an immunosuppressed transplant patient. He was thriving in all the ways that mattered most. And he was alive, enjoying so many meaningful moments with his family that almost never came to be.

He meant so much to me and to so many others. Some might say Kurt Reichenbach was his best friend, but I would selfishly argue that it was me. He taught me so much, like how to show genuine love and compassion to people, and how to be friendly and patient. He exposed me to comedy, magic, and creative writing. He helped me make a better Indiana Jones Halloween costume year after year. I know he loved me, just as he loved his wife Karen and his daughter Laura. I know this because he told us all the time, and we told him we loved him just as much. I truly believe he died without anything left unsaid.

I’m going to miss you, Dad. A lot. I will always hold your memory in my heart and I am so thankful for all the moments we shared in our lifetimes, especially the extra ones at the end. Rest in peace, and we’ll see you on the other side.


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