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John Hill

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John Hill Obituary
John W. Hill

John Hill, attorney and long time Palos Verdes Peninsula resident, died at age 79 of prostate cancer. John was born December 5, 1935 in Pittsburg, Kansas. Due to the depression gripping the country, John and his family frequently moved around the Midwest finally settling in Peoria, Illinois from where John graduated high school. He was the first of his family to graduate from college. He earned a B.S. degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois in 1957. After college, John enlisted in the Marines and served his country faithfully for two years. John moved out to Long Beach, California where he met his wife of over 40 years, Elizabeth D. Hill. John then worked in the insurance industry but always a person to seek out a challenge, John enrolled in law school and started practicing law in 1968. Seeking ways to push himself physically, John started running for the first time in his life. Soon he was completing marathons. Not content with running over 100 marathons in his lifetime, John was one of the first participants of the nascent Hawaii Ironman Triatholon finishing the grueling event two times. In terms of endurance sports, John was just getting started. He ran and completed the 100 mile Western States 100 Race that starts in Squaw Valley, California and ends in Auburn, California. Not a competitive or ocean swimmer at all, John slowly learned how to swim in the ocean. After a few years of training, he successfully swam the Catalina channel from the Isthmus on the island to the rocky shore below Marineland. This swim took him 19 continuous hours of effort and also made him the oldest person at the time to complete the swim. He also paddled in the 32 mile long Catalina Classic Paddleboard race in 1986. In the 1990's John turned to mountain climbing and pursued his goals with a singular (many would say extremely obsessive) focus. He climbed the highest mountains on 3 continents: South America, Europe, and Africa. Well into his seventies, it was common to find John climbing local mountains with his beloved bloodhound Ella Mae. John could be a man of startling contrasts. He loved his expensive sportscars but also prided himself on making coffee with tepid water straight from the tap. Gregarious, charming, chatty and at times hilarious, John loved to run, hike and drink coffee. He would talk your ear off and before you knew it, long distances were covered. John was a proud member of L.A.'s Jonathon Club. One of the heros of John's final years was his long time friend Christine Adams who helped him immensely with his dual struggles against cancer and dementia. Her unwavering tenacity and committment to John's wellbeing made some difficult times bearable. John is survived by two sons, Greg Hill and Andy Hill, and five grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Sierra Club. A celebration of John's life is planned for Saturday, January 31 at 2 PM at Green Hills Memorial Park.

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Published in Daily Breeze on Jan. 29, 2015
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