Obituary: Frederick Grant Hill, 1935-2018, South Burlington | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Frederick Grant Hill, 1935-2018, South Burlington 

Published April 23, 2018 at 5:30 a.m. | Updated April 23, 2018 at 1:40 p.m.

click to enlarge Frederick Grant Hill
  • Frederick Grant Hill

Frederick Grant Hill was born December 6, 1935, in Tulsa, Okla., grew up in nearby Bartlesville and died peacefully on April 17, 2018, at the Vermont Respite House in Williston after a prolonged illness. He leaves behind his partner since 1979, Dianne Monaco; his son by first marriage, Tristram, and daughter-in-law Preetha Kurudiyara, both physicians in Wisconsin; granddaughters Zara and Violet; and stepbrother Tom Murray and stepsister Marion Murray Olivier of Texas.

Before passing away, Fred had the following reflections on his life.

“He was an artistic and commercial/industrial photographer; a collector of discarded materials, some now a perplex of industrial-wire sculptures; a writer of letters to editors and some children’s verse; and an omnivorous reader with a large, select and cataloged accumulation of books.

“Start to finish, Fred was a naïve, conflicted small-town city boy — in love with Boston, at home in Burlington and comfortable with but unexcited by yard work in exurbia. He was solitary, introspective, friendly and likable but not sociable, at a loss for what to say after 'Hello,' usually out of step, nor could he dance. Obsessively neat, he respected creative disorder but had to tidy it a bit. He enjoyed (and kept) his day jobs, lived frugally, arrived early for appointments and wondered at finding himself so often among free spirits, as he was not one.

“Less ambitious than curious, he preferred discovery and was exhilarated to find intuition serving better than his instinct for planning. His best accomplishments, including photographs, were accidental. He wondered if even acceptance by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology hadn’t been by mistaken identity. Math and physics inspired decades of reading. Thermodynamics, though, he flunked; a senior-year requirement, it was clearly his limit, so he quit, with less regret than expected.

“Calling his formal education good, he proceeded with the informal. Reading was an adventure, learning still a habit, nothing else as much fun. In 1958 the U.S. Army assigned him to write film scripts at the Army Chemical Center in Maryland, where he waited a year for security clearance. No time wasted: He learned stagecraft at the little theater, improvised a silent skit that brought modest chuckles from a packed house and repaid his college loan.” Fred maintained a lifelong love of theater, film and the arts thereafter.

Fred’s favorite charities included the Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS), the King Street Youth Center, the food shelf and Women Helping Battered Women. He requested that, in his memory, “donations of any kind can be given to anyone anywhere if accompanied by an articulate letter on any subject, of 250 words.”

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