Capt. William Joseph Hill, USN

William Joseph Hill Sr. was born January 6, 1938 in Darby, PA, the oldest of three boys. His father, William P. Hill, was an entrepreneur who owned a junk shop during the Great Depression and WWII, and later a hardware store. As a young boy, Bill enjoyed movies, especially Westerns that starred John Wayne. During the 1940s, Bill would watch the trains go by his house, carrying tanks, jeeps and troops off to the war. He'd wave to the GIs as they were shipped off to Europe, and dreamed of the day that he would be old enough to wear the uniform of a United States Serviceman.

William graduated from Villanova University in 1960 with a degree in civil engineering. After a short stint with the United States Park Service, he entered into the United States Navy's Officer Candidate School in 1960. He received his commission as an Ensign in March 1961. While serving on the USS Bigelow (DD 942), he participated in the Cuban Blockade of 1962, a key moment in American history. He served on various Destroyers during his 31 years in the Navy, including USS Bigelow, USS Allen M. Sumner, USS King and U.S.S. Turner Joy, on which he was Executive Officer. He briefly assumed command of the Turner Joy in April 1973 when his commanding officer suffered an illness. While in Vietnam, LCDR Hill earned the Bronze Star Medal. He is also credited with having fired the last shot of the Vietnam war while aboard the Turner Joy.

In the 1970s, CDR Hill was commanding officer of the Destroyers USS John R. Craig (DD 885) and the USS Henry B. Wilson (DDG 7). He earned the rank of Captain in 1981 and was assigned to Commander Third Fleet, Pearl Harbor. He and his family lived in Hawaii for the next ten years until his retirement in 1991.

Upon retirement, Capt. Hill returned with his family to San Diego, where he began his hobbies of woodworking and building custom furniture. He built several beautiful custom pieces over the next 13 years for family and friends.

He passed away April 22, 2004. He is survived by his loving wife Judy, oldest son William Joseph Hill Jr. and his wife Pamela, daughter Judy and her husband Paul Risler, sons Robert, Brendan, and Brian, and grandchildren Liam and Devan Risler. His kind, quiet and generous spirit will live on forever.

 
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