Willard Neil "Bill" Hill

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Willard (Bill) Neil Hill was born on February 13, 1930 in Jacksonville, Florida and died June 30, 2017 at the North Carolina Veterans Home in Fayetteville. Willard experienced much in his 87 years. In 1946, at the age of 16, Willard, joined the U.S. Marines. After graduating from boot camp at Parris Island, he was assigned to be an Embassy Guard. However, soon after graduation, Willard's underage status was discovered and he was sent home to Portlock, Virginia. At the end of World War II, he moved to Key West, Florida with his parents. On December 20, 1947, (still determined to serve in the military), at the ripe old age of 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. Willard's first assignments sent him to Japan and Korea. Willard was in Seoul, Korea in June of 1950, at the outset of the Korean War; he was involved in combat and assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division. After his combat duty in Korea, Willard was sent back to the States and re-assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia. Fate (and Cupid) intervened when Willard was sent to Indianapolis, Indiana for training. There he met, fell in love with, and married the former Janet Parsons. Willard and Janet had three children, Ricky, Mark and Susan. The Army took the Hill family to West Virginia; Fort Benning; Newfoundland; Tallahassee, Florida; Fort Gordon, Georgia; and Fort McClellan, Alabama. In 1966, Willard spent a year of combat in Vietnam as a platoon sergeant. Willard retired from the United States Army on June 30, 1968. After retiring from the Army, the Hill family settled down in Anniston. In his post-military career, Willard worked several jobs, a car mechanic in a service station, a machine inspector, driver of a tractor-trailer rig, a machinist for a private company--before he eventually was hired as a machinist for Anniston Army Depot. Willard retired from this job after twenty years whereupon he earned the right to become a full-time dawdler. He then brought his talents to Camden, North Carolina in 2004. Willard will always be known for his smile and laughter, his infectious humor, his generosity, and his utter inability to take himself seriously. Willard lived a full life. He fought in and survived two wars, he loved deeply and was loved, he married "the sweetest girl I have ever known;" he was devoted to his Christian faith and his church; and he eventually became a certified expert in the art of taking life easy. Willard is survived by his wife of 63 years, the love of his life, Janet; son, Mark and wife Susan of Weaver; daughter, Susan and husband, Frank Hiner, and granddaughter, Megan, of Camden, North Carolina. He was predeceased by his son, Ricky. A celebration of Willard's life was held on Wednesday, July 5, 2017, at 1 p.m. at Corinth Baptist Church in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
Published in The Anniston Star on July 9, 2017
bullet Korean War bullet U.S. Army bullet World War II