James R. Hill, Jr., age 90, beloved husband, father, grandfather, teacher, artist, devoted friend, and Masonic Brother, a former long-time resident of Edinboro, PA, and a current resident of Delray Beach, FL died on December 11, 2010 at the Delray Medical Center. He was born in Erie, PA on March 27th, 1920 to James R. Hill, Sr. and Louvina Oldach Hill.
He graduated from Strong Vincent High School in 1938 and received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Edinboro State College in 1942. While there he was the captain of Edinboro’s first swim team and a member of Kappa Delta Phi fraternity. In 1948 he received his Master’s Degree from Columbia University in teacher supervision.
On June 6th, 1942 he married Frances J. Skelton of Edinboro and started his teaching career in the Conneautville School System. He spent most of the war years working for the Navy at the General Electric Plant in Erie building high-pressure turbines for destroyer escorts. In 1945 he returned to teaching in the Edinboro School System where he was also a cooperating teacher with the Edinboro State College. In 1945 he founded Indianhead Landing as a family picnic ground by the side of Edinboro Lake. In the 1950’s he added a marina and boat rentals and in 1965 expanded further into a travel trailer park where many families spent their summers year after year. He retired in 1975 from the General McLane School District where he taught social studies and world cultures and was a sponsor for many school activities.
He was a member and officer of the Edinboro Men’s Club and the Edinboro Lakeside Association. He was also active in the Local, County, and State P.S.E.A. For more than 50 years he was a 32nd Degree Mason and was Past Master of Oasis Lodge No. 416, F. & A.M. and the Scottish Rite and served as secretary for 11 years. He was a Deacon and Elder of the Edinboro Presbyterian Church and sang in the choir.
Mr. Hill was a sports fan and enjoyed bowling. He bowled with the Jolly’s team and also the I.G.A. team. His favorite sport was basketball and he spent many years keeping score or time at the local high school games. In Florida he avidly followed the Miami Heat. He loved music, bridge, card games, crossword puzzles, stamp and coin collecting, and especially traveling in his recreational vehicle. During his retirement years, his favorite pastimes were fishing on or swimming in or just watching his beloved Edinboro Lake. Until recently he could be seen tending his flowers. He was a “snowbird” for many years spending his winters first in Pompano Beach and then later in Delray Beach and his summers in Edinboro, but lately was a full time Florida resident.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Frances Skelton Hill, on June 27th, 1996 and his brother, Richard Hill, of Erie.
He is survived by his second wife, Mildred (Dee) Smith Hill, of Delray Beach, a son, James R. Hill III. and his significant other, Zoe Tarbell, of Waterford, PA, a daughter Barbara Hill Dittmer and her husband, John, of St. Helena Island, SC, and a daughter Patricia Hill Milligan and her husband, Neil, of McKean, PA and two grandchildren, Katherine Milligan and Darren Milligan. He is also survived by two step-children, Patricia Smith Soares and her husband, Michael, of Geneva, IL, and William Smith of Macon, GA, plus several step-grandchildren and step-great grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held in Edinboro at a future date. Memorials can be sent to the Skelton/Hill Memorial Scholarship Fund at the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania or the James R. Hill Scholarship Fund at General McLane High School.