Lloyd Curtis Hill died on 18 August 2021 from pneumonia and, in his own words, being "old as dirt." Lloyd, or Gramps as I will refer to him for the remainder of this inadequate summary of his life, died as one of my favorite people, and as such, this history will be tainted by the bias of adoration of a granddaughter. His failings, which may be mentioned but not focused on, made him human and shaped his life and the lives of his family, but more powerful were his strengths of love, humor, knowledge, and wisdom.
Lloyd Curtis Hill was born 27 June 1934 in Lake Shore, Utah to George Albert Hill and Velma LaVern Graves. He was the fifth of eight living children (George, Vance, Blain, Sterling, Clarence, LaReta, Martha, and Shirlene). Gramps spoke very fondly of his kind and loving mother (and less fondly of his tough-as-nails father). As a child, he spent plenty of time causing a ruckus with his near-twin brother Clarence and they formed a close friendship that would last their entire lives.
He joined the Navy in 1952 during the Korean War and was based in Monterey, CA. He passed his time peeling potatoes, following orders, and taking a drawing class, one of the many expressions of his creativity. During this time he also met Joan Beth Olsen, and they were married on 7 December 1953. Gramps described their early married years as care-free and full of friends and festivities.
Lloyd and Joan had three children, Steven, Kevin and Curtis. The family of five lived in Salt Lake, Brigham City and then finally Sandy, Utah. Anyone who knew Gramps knows that their life was far from perfect, but happy times included family breakfasts, usually cooked by Gramps, of steak and eggs, game nights, family dinners, and special holiday celebrations.
Gramps spent his professional career working for GMAC (heaven help you if bought a Ford or worse, a Toyota!). He started as a bill collector, driving from town to town to catch delinquent car buyers, moved into finance for both personal car purchases and the dealership inventory, and eventually held branch management positions. He was proud of his career at GMAC and had many stories to tell of collecting delinquent debts and repossessing cars from colorful characters.
Gramps and Joan eventually divorced and he married Mirtes Iost in 1988. They spent a few years living apart with Gramps finishing up his career in Spokane, WA before he retired and then joined his "amor" Mirtes in Denver, CO. They enjoyed their retirement together, receiving visits from family and friends from around the world, while Mirtes did volunteer work and Gramps began his second, unofficial career as the region's best (and possibly oldest) contractor.
Gramps and Clarence spent their retirement years together doing construction (and frequently whacking thumbs with hammers). They remodeled his own house into the southwest-inspired space that it is now, as well as the kitchens, basements, and rooms of numerous friends and family members. In between construction projects, Gramps and Mirtes spent the cold northern months visiting her family in Brazil. Although he never really learned to speak Portuguese, it never stopped him from making friends, and even having lengthy conversations with everyone from the owner of the bakery down the street to his non-English speaking brothers- and sisters-in-law. He bonded with them over caipirinhas and grilled meats at his spacious and welcoming Brazilian home.
Gramps was certainly a "jack of all trades", master of many. Gardening was one of his lifelong hobbies. Gramps always had a crop of tomatoes and herbs, grapes and apples. He spent hours of his life weeding, mowing, pruning, mulching. His creativity extended to sketching, cross-stitching, home design, building furniture and garden accoutrements (like the trellis still standing in my mother's yard), cooking, and baking. His concoctions in the kitchen were delicious (except for the one year he nearly ruined Thanksgiving with a less than delightful peanut-butter pumpkin pie!) and anyone who ever visited Gramps and Mirtes surely experienced his scrumptious breakfasts of pancakes and eggs dripping deliciously in bacon fat.
His other interests were wide in scope and depth. Gramps was an avid reader of mysteries and histories. He loved learning, discussing, and debating. Gramps would talk for hours about American history and politics, religion, and international affairs. Politics was his favorite debate material; he was a true and loyal conservative until the end and delighted in enlightening his family members to the "truth".
Gramps loved his family and always made an effort to join in family gatherings and events. He dragged his grandchildren (who actually always went willingly) to countless extended family reunions in small towns around Utah. We met cousins we didn't know existed, visited cemeteries, and once even convinced the owner of his childhood home to let us have a tour. He encouraged all of us to stay connected and remember where we came from. Gramps was never afraid to tell us directly that he loved us, even when his terms of endearment (like "turd bird" (always repeated twice) and "little shit" and his American-accented Portuguese "troço" (thing, aka turd) might have been insulting to someone else. He was thrilled to have great-grandchildren (six great granddaughters and three great grandsons); he loved playing with and spoiling his tiny progeny.
In short, Gramps was the very best. He was flawed but not afraid to ask for forgiveness. Any failings he had as a father, he made up for as a grandfather. We will miss the way he whistled as he worked around the house, the slight scent of Marlboro Lights mixed with Old Spice and aftershave that followed him around for many years, and countless other details that made Lloyd our beloved grandfather, father, uncle, and husband.
Per Lloyd's request, there will be no public service.
Published by Horan & McConaty - South Denver on Aug. 30, 2021.