Mystic - Our father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, Frederic Hill, died after a long life at the age of 102, on April 13, 2014, at Mystic Healthcare and Rehab, where he had lived for the last two years. His passing was sudden but peaceful, occurring when he could no longer enjoy food, one of his great pleasures in life.|
Fred was born in Ashaway, R.I. to Finnish immigrant parents. He was one of nine children who grew up on the Chase Hill Farm. He graduated from Westerly High in 1930. After high school, he travelled the country and worked as a bell hop in Miami, one of the periods of his life he loved to recall. For a short time, until he met his wife, Ida Beeson, he rode the rails in Depression era America.
Ida and Fred were married in 1938 and lived at the Chase Hill farm, where their son, Brian, and daughter, Kathleen, were born. Fred then built the first of our two houses in North Stonington where daughter, Barbara, and son, Paul, grew up. There was a sauna in the basement. He usually heated it up every weekend and friends and neighbors would come over to participate, as was the tradition in Finland. Dad liked a hot sauna and he would roar like a bear when he was done.
Fred worked most of his life as a union carpenter, both outside and inside, in all weather. One of his big projects was the construction of the Jamestown Bridge. On weekends he loved to fish for trout and in his later years spoke out against acid rain as he watched it ruin the trout streams.
Dad loved to travel by car. His son Paul remembers a long camping trip they took. An attempt was made to drive from Connecticut to Alaska, but the trip was cut short in British Columbia due to car trouble. He and Ida liked to drive south every spring. Ida always took a thermos of tea and food for the ride because once Fred started driving, he did not like to stop.
After retirement from the union, Fred worked in the homes of friends and neighbors and built furniture for the family. He had a garden and fruit trees and his workshop in the cellar. He and Ida spent a lot of time with their first grandsons: Adam, Steven, and Sam Cote. They were members of the North Stonington Quarter Club, an informal but dedicated gathering of card playing friends. More grandchildren came along, a total of seven, and later, six great-grandchildren.
The family would like to thank the staff of Mystic Rehab where Fred was lovingly cared for and appreciated.
Donations in his memory may be made to the Samuel F. Cote Scholarship Fund, c/o Chelsea Groton Bank.
The Hill Family will greet relatives and friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, at the Buckler-Johnston Funeral Home, 121 Main St., Westerly. A celebration of his life will be at 8 p.m., at the funeral home.
Published in The Day on Apr. 17, 2014