Leo Howard Hill, 82, of Greenville, died Wednesday, April 21, 2010.
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Born in Greenville on May 26, 1927, he was married to Dr. Grace Lucile Garrison Hill for 56 years. He was the son of the late Forrest Katon Hill and Edna Osney Howard Hill.
Leo attended public schools and was President of Parker High School student body.
After graduation from high school in 1944, he joined the United States Navy and served in the Pacific Theatre.
After the war, he attended Erskine College where he served as President of the Philomathean Literary Society. Upon graduation from Erskine, he enrolled in the University of South Carolina School of Law, earning a Juris Doctor degree in 1952. While in Law School, he was elected Vice President of the USC student body and was a member of Wig & Robe.
Leo then returned to Greenville, where he continuously practiced law for 58 years. At the time of his death, he was of counsel to the firm Nelson, Mullins, Riley and Scarborough, LLP.
Leo was passionately devoted to the lawyer's craft and relished in using his talents to promote what he believed was law's chief purpose: to help others.
In 1968, Leo became the youngest President in the history of the South Carolina Bar. Through the Bar, he worked to help create the Public Defender and Legal Services Agencies to serve indigents in need of legal representation. He was also instrumental in modernizing South Carolina's bail bond laws.
He was awarded the Compleat Lawyer Gold Medallion Award from the USC School of Law, the Tommy Thomason Award from the Greenville County Bar and in 2005 he received the Durant Distinguished Public Service Award from the SC Bar. He was listed in every edition of the "Best Lawyers in America" from its inception, as well as "Who's Who In American Law" and The Bar Register of Pre-eminent Lawyers.
In the latter part of his career, Leo focused his practice in government law, representing numerous cities, water and sewer districts and other public service districts throughout the state. He received awards for meritorious service from the SC Association of Public Service Districts and the SC Rural Water Association.
Leo was one of the early leaders in promoting Arbitration and Mediation as a way to resolve people's legal disputes, and was often called upon to serve as an arbitrator and mediator throughout South Carolina and the United States. He was honored for his work by the American Arbitration Association, and attended the renowned Harvard Law School Negotiation Course.
Leo served as a board member of the Piedmont Health Care Foundation, Inc. and the Dunlap Orphanage. He was a member of the Greenville A.R.P. Church, where he was former deacon and Sunday School teacher. He was a member of the Erskine Alumni Board and he and his wife received the President's Award for service to Erskine College. He was also a member of the Poinsett Club.
In the early 1960's, Leo served as chairman of the Greenville County Democratic Party, while his great friend, E.P. "Ted" Riley, served as state chairman and John F. Kennedy carried the state in the Presidential election.
Surviving are his wife, Dr. Grace Lucile Garrison Hill; a daughter, Lillian Hill Watson and husband, Robert L. Watson, of Greensboro, NC: two sons, Leo Howard Hill Jr. and wife, Anne M. Hill, of Greenville and Judge David Garrison "Gary" Hill and wife, Amanda T. Hill, of Greenville; and seven grandchildren, Andrew Garrison Pinto, Caroline Grace Pinto, James Durham Hill, Lucille Tatum Hill, Henry Leo Hill, Garrison Page Hill and John Drake Hill.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Leo Howard Hill Legal Scholarship Fund c/o Nelson, Mullins, Riley and Scarborough, Suite 900, 104 S. Main Street, Greenville, SC 29601 or the Greenville A.R.P. Church, 741 Cleveland Street, Greenville, SC 29601.
Visitation will be held Saturday, April 24, 2010 from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the home of Howard and Anne Hill, 17 Quail Hill Drive, Greenville, SC 29607. The funeral service will be held Sunday April 25, 2010 at 1:30 p.m. at Greenville A.R.P. Church conducted by the Reverend Matthew S. Miller and the Reverend Dr. Robert J. Robinson. A private committal will be held prior to the service.
Mr. H. Jerry Balding, Mr. Michael Bruce, Hon. Rex L. Carter, Mr. Lane W. Davis, Mr. Frank L. Eppes, Dr. William E. Jett, Hon, Frank P. McGowan, Mr. Ray T. Orvin, The Hon, Richard W. Riley, Mr. Robert L. Smith, Mr. Rivers S. Stillwell and Dr. Michael C. Watson will serve as honorary pallbearers.
Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.thomasmcafee.com.
Thomas McAfee Funeral Home, Downtown.
Thomas McAfee Funeral Home - Downtown Chapel
639 North Main Street
Greenville, SC 29601
Published in The Greenville News from Apr. 23 to Apr. 24, 2010