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Samuel E. “Sam” Hill, age 86, of Geneva, passed away Tuesday, July 5, 2022 at Arden Courts of Geneva. He had fought for over 10 years the debilitating Alzheimer’s disease.
Sam was born November 8, 1935, in Battle Creek, Michigan, the son of Samuel H. and Ruth (Twichell) Hill. He is survived by his wife of 63 years Carolyn (Snader); children Jennifer (Dan Dworzynski) of Roselle and Jeffrey (Kathy) of Darien; grandchildren Mackenzie, Tyler, and Justin of Darien; sister Sue McClenachan of Greenwich, Connecticut; and other family members.
He was preceded in death by his brother-in-law Jack Snader and parents.
Sam grew up in Royal Oak, Michigan. After graduation from high school, Sam attended Kiski Prep School in Saltsburg, PA where he played football and baseball for one year. Sam entered the University of Illinois in the Fall of 1954. He played freshman football with Ray Nitschke and Bob Mitchell. He was an active member of Sigma Chi Fraternity. It was Sam’s senior year that he met his wife-to-be, Carolyn; they were married in August 1959. Sam graduated with a degree in Recreation and Park Management. His first job took him and Carolyn to Lincoln, Illinois where he was Superintendent of Recreation. It was here in Lincoln, that Sam decided to pursue a master’s degree. Interesting sidebar, Sam’s thesis was titled “The Design of a Farm-Recreation Facility”. The subject property was located in Charleston, Illinois. The subject matter is what led Sam to become involved in acquiring money for the purchase of property from the Peck family; he along with Steve Persinger, Superintendent of Parks and Recreation in Geneva were involved in addressing the politicians in Springfield to provide funds for the purchase of land. Sam was devoted to the Park District; he served for eight years as a Geneva Park District Commissioner. He helped create the Park District Foundation. The Park District honored Sam’s dedication to the programs, by naming a ball field after Sam.
After Lincoln, Illinois, Sam and Carolyn moved back to Champaign to allow Sam to work at completing his thesis. It was in Champaign, that Sam became a father to his first born, a girl named Jennifer. In late Spring, the family moved to Elmhurst, Illinois where he served as Superintendent of Recreation. A new addition to the family was the birth of a son, Jeffrey in August 1965. In Elmhurst, Sam was very involved with the Jaycees serving as secretary/treasurer and later elected to the position of Regional Director. In March of 1965, Sam made the decision to move on to sales/sales management. A series of moves ensued from Elmhurst to Madison, Wisconsin to Elmira, New York, to Williamsport, PA, and finally ending in Geneva, Illinois in 1977. Sam retired in 2001 from Horton Industries, Inc. In 1991, special recognition was given to Sam, the plaque reads “presented to Sam Hill in grateful recognition for pioneering the Roller Bushing which excited the employees and wowed the customers. Horton Industries, Inc 1991.”
It was in Geneva, that Sam began a long history of volunteer work. In addition to his involvement with the Geneva Park District, Sam served on the plan commission for a number of years and beginning in 2001, Sam served for 12 years as alderman for the first ward. Kevin Burns, mayor of Geneva is quoted as saying “His love for and dedication to all things Geneva was unmistakable. To serve with him on the council and benefit from his advice, friendship, and kindness was a true joy.” Quote from article by Susan Sarkauskas in Daily Herald.
Sam gave of his time to his church, Fox Valley Presbyterian Church; he sang in the church choir for over forty years. He signed on for the Living Waters of the World mission trip to Guatemala to help install water systems, and when devastation to Gulfport, Mississippi hit in 2006, Sam went on a mission trip to install new roofs.
Sam was instrumental in establishing Memory Café. When his wife came home from her support group upbeat and enthused, Sam decided he needed a support group for those with a form of dementia to meet with their loved ones at a place where those with mild to moderate dementia can meet and socialize. Meetings were once a month with numbers approaching 40 until Covid hit. Sam was an active member in the Geneva Lions Club. Thanks to the Lions Club Members for their comforting care of Sam.
In 2013, Sam and his co-council woman, Dorothy Flanagan, danced in Dancing with the Stars benefitting Geneva Cultural Commission and GAF. They performed a rumba and raised the most money votes to win the competition. At that time, Sam had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
In 2009, Sam was awarded the Wood Community Service Award.
Sam loved golf; even after retiring in 2001, he worked at a couple of golf courses as a starter. A younger Sam enjoyed skiing, swimming, racket ball, and golf. He was especially fond of taking the grandchildren to concerts, musicals, zoos, museums, and watching whatever was the sport someone was participating in . . . soccer, wrestling, football, baseball, and golf. Sam bled Illini orange and blue. Always attending football games in his orange pants and blue Illini shirt.
Card, phone calls, and emails are pouring in with amazing, beautiful heart-warming comments. As Sally Estes posted on Facebook . . . “he was one of the good guys.” The Daily Herald Editorial Board stated in a brief tribute “he was as stellar a human as you will find. We mourn his loss.”
A memorial service for Samuel will be held Saturday, July 30, 2022 at 10:00 am at Fox Valley Presbyterian Church, 227 East Side Drive, Geneva. Brunch will follow at Oscar Swan Country Inn in Geneva 1800 West State Street.
Burial will be held privately.
Visitation will be held Friday, July 29 from 4:00 – 8:00 pm at Malone Funeral Home, 324 E. State Street (Route 38), Geneva.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Geneva Park Foundation, 710 Western Avenue, Geneva, Illinois 60134, the Elderday Center, 328 W. Wilson Street, Batavia, Illinois 60510, Alzheimer’s Disease Research, 22512 Gateway Center Drive, Clarksburg, MD 20871, or Memory Café (Attention John McNeely) 311 N. Batavia Avenue, Batavia, IL 60510 would be appreciated.
For information, please call 630-232-8233 or www.malonefh.com.