A fun-loving son, brother, father, grandfather, uncle, friend and co-worker, our beloved Bobby Dean Hill, 77, passed away peacefully on Monday, March 31, 2014, in the home of his parents, the late Homer and Emma Hill. God favored him with threescore and 10 years, which he celebrated on Feb. 10, 2014.
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Bobby was a gifted musician. He learned to play the piano under the tutelage of the late Mrs. Emma D. Croft, the director of music at his church, Shiloh Baptist. He quickly mastered the keyboard and became the pianist for the Junior Choir. He took advanced lessons at Laverty's Music Store and perfected his artistry: reading music and playing the piano.
He graduated from Carver High School, Gadsden, earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Slavonic Languages from Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, and qualified to enroll in a Russian Studies Program that admitted a few select students at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind.
Bobby was adventurous. In 1979, he accepted an invitation to visit Monrovia, Liberia. That visit lasted 11 years, during which he became fully acculturated. He taught at the American Cooperative School and the academy that he opened for aspiring pianists. His reputation as a classical pianist earned him the privilege of playing a crowd-pleasing prelude at "The Public Lecture of the 40th Anniversary Fulbright Scholar Conference." The conference was sponsored by the United States Educational and Cultural Foundation. Dr. Maya Angelou was the guest speaker. Civil unrest leading to the Liberian Civil War forced Bobby to say farewell to his friends in Monrovia and come home to Gadsden.
Our Center lost one of our valuable staff members this week. During the past 19 years, Bobby was a Residential Coordinator/Residential Advisor at Gadsden Job Corps. We appreciate the 19 years of service that Mr. Hill provided to the Gadsden Job Corps Center and our students. He tutored students, engaged them in cultural activities, and supervised them on educational field trips. He will truly be missed. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.
His piano - a shiny, black Yamaha - was his love and joy. He played it into the wee hours of the morning. When he grew weary, he programmed it and fell asleep listening to some of his favorite classical pieces.
Family, friends in Gadsden, others throughout the country, and those in Liberia will miss him, his outgoing personality, loving smile, winning ways and everything that made him our beloved Bobby.
We will celebrate and honor his life at a memorial service on Saturday, May 3, 2014, at 1 p.m. at Shiloh Baptist Church, 1037 Tuscaloosa Avenue, Gadsden, AL 35901. Watson and Sons Funeral Home is in charge.
"Life is precious, love is all that really matters, and who we are in the end and how we've touched the lives of others is the legacy we leave behind." - Erika Whitmore Godwin
Watson and Sons
562 Meighan Boulevard Gadsden, AL 35901
Published in The Gadsden Times on Apr. 20, 2014