John Ivan Hill, 96, Medora, died 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, April 17 at his residence.
Born March 26, 1917 in Leesville, Ind., he was the son of Styles H. Hill and Fannie Gillan Hill. On June 28, 1947, he married Naomi Ruth Gehring Hill, and she died July 10, 1999. In May 2001, he married Ruth D. Lewis, and she died in September 2012.
Mr. Hill was a Staff Sergeant in the 35832675 L. Company in the 47th Regiment of the 9th Infantry Division. He was inducted into military service April 15, 1944, and completed basic training at Camp Wheeler, Ga. He shipped out to England in September 1944.
He became a member of L. Co. in November 1944, near the French German border.
Mr. Hill was involved in the capture of the Siegfried Line and battles of the Bulge fought in harsh winter weather, with the only shelter being a fox hole. Trench foot was rampant.
He fought in the battles for The Rhur and the Hurtegon Forest. He was with the first Infantry to walk across the Rhine River Bridge at Remagan. L. Co. had 150 or more men that walked across the bridge. Three days later, the Germans arrived in force at daybreak with orders to push the troops back across the river at all costs.
By noon, they were forced to withdraw. L. Co. now consisted of 27 men. Mr. Hill was among the survivors. The other companies suffered similar losses.
Mr. Hill helped with the enlargement and breakout of the bridgehead, and fought countless battles from the Rhine to the Elby River near Dessau. He fought in the last battle on the banks of the Elby River on April 29, 1945.
Mr. Hill never missed a day of combat. He had one unreported small wound. After the war in Europe, he trained to go to the Pacific. The war ended there before his unit shipped out.
He drove a Jeep for a time, was made section sergeant of the 60 MM mortar section for one month, and was then made administrator of a kitchen in the Moosburg prison. The kitchen fed 3,000 people.
After three months, Mr. Hill was transferred to headquarters command and was assigned to the fiscal office of the "Stars and Stripes" newspaper. When he was sent home 4 1/2 months later, he was the chief administrator of accountants at the newspaper.
Mr. Hill was discharged on May 16, 1946.
After the war, he was a livestock and grain farmer and a member of the Indiana Farm Bureau. He served for the United States Farm Services of Jackson County for several years. He was a bus driver for the Medora School System. He served on the Medora School Advisory Board for several years.
Mr. Hill was also a member of Medora Christian Church, where he taught Sunday School, held several offices and the title Elder Emeritus.
Survivors include a son: James W. Hill, Medora; daughter, Mary M. (Dana) Beavers, Medora; three grandchildren: Christopher J. Hill, Mendy L. (Jeremy) Ross and Tisha L. (Bradley) Milton; and six great grandchildren: Kennedy Cole, Iassac Ross, Josiah Ross, Adessah Ross, Emeyln Milton and Carter Milton.
Other than his parents and wives, he's also preceded in death by one great-granddaughter, two brothers: Frank Hill and Cecil Hill and one sister, Cynthia Boss.
Funeral services will be conducted 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 20 at the Medora Christian Church, with church elders officiating. Burial will follow at Leesville Cemetery in Lawrence County, with graveside military rites.
Friends may call from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 19 and 1 p.m. until time of service Saturday at the church.
Arrangements will be handled by Hague Funeral Home, Medora.
Published in The Jackson County Banner from Apr. 19 to Apr. 26, 2013