Carl Eugene (Gene) Hill passed away April 18, 2016 of congestive heart failure in Boise, Idaho at 88 years old. He was born August 15, 1927 in his family home in Ysleta, TX (now part of El Paso) to parents Floyd and Ida Hill. He had two older brothers, Allan and Jim, and a younger brother, Kenneth.
Having skipped a year of school, he graduated at 16 years old from Ysleta High School. Gene was both a scholar and an athlete, playing football, basketball, and was a record holder on the track team. The record he broke had been held by his older brother, Jim. In turn, his record was subsequently broken by his younger brother, Kenneth.
At 17, he joined the Navy. World War II ended before he would have been able to see action so he spent some of his service time playing piano in bands performing at USO facilities, as well as attending courses at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. Upon returning to El Paso, he earned degrees in Business and English from Texas College of Mines (now the University of Texas at El Paso) and began working as a teacher and coach at Ysleta High School.
Playing and listening to music was always important to him throughout his life. He was a fine musician and singer, having worked as church pianist and organist, as well as in professional dance bands. He played a fine stride piano and a mean boogie woogie.
On August 26, 1949 Gene married the great love of his life, Rosie Mae Sheppard, at the Ysleta Methodist Church. They had met there while both attended that church’s Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF) program. Sunday night fried chicken dinners prepared by Rosie’s Mother accelerated their ultimate marriage. They had two children, Stephen Eugene and David William. Gene and Rosie were married for 66 years.
After teaching for a year and planning their new family, he began working for Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company as an entry-level pay telephone coin collector. He worked at the phone company for the rest of his career life, finishing in Boise as Vice President and CEO of Idaho, and an officer of US West Communications. Gene and Rosie moved frequently during the course of his career, living in El Paso twice, Roswell, NM once, Phoenix, AZ once, Denver, CO three times, New York, NY once (with additional concurrent offices in Chicago and Orlando), and Boise twice.
He was especially proud of his community service and leadership, where he was a founding member of the Idaho Community Foundation, served on the Idaho Centennial Commission planning committee, on boards of directors for St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center, Key Bank of Idaho, Idaho Association for Commerce and Industry, the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho, the College of Idaho, the Salvation Army, the BSU College of Business, the Arid Club, served on the Governors Committee on Education, on the planning committee for the Boise River Festival, was a Paul Harris Fellow, and was a member of the Downtown Rotary Club.
After retiring, he enjoyed travelling, cruising, and golfing with friends, family and the Crane Creek Dewsweeper’s. But mostly he enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren.
Gene was preceded in death by his parents, his older brothers Allan and Jim, and his eldest son, Stephen Eugene Hill. He is survived by his beloved wife Rosie, their son David (Carla), daughter-in-law Glenda (Stephen), granddaughter Jessica (Ryan) Weatherstone and their daughter, Gene’s great-granddaughter, Emma Rose, grandson Stephen Thomas (Jessica Strand), brother Kenneth, and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family would like to offer special thanks and heartfelt gratitude to the caregivers who made his life at home safe and comfortable during his last months, Carrie Andrysiak, Melissa Addington, Michael Darren, Laurie Evans and Jackie Bauer.
A memorial service will be held at Alden-Waggoner Funeral Chapel, at 10 a.m., on Friday, April 22, followed by a reception at the same location.
August 15, 1927 - April 18, 2016