Ed Hill, a lifelong resident, and legend in the San Lorenzo Valley, has died. He was 84.
A big man with a booming voice and personality, Ed was known as “Ed Hill the Builder.”
He was the son of Rowland “Bingo” and Catherine Hill of Ben Lomond. He attended San Lorenzo Valley schools and was the Student Body President of the first graduating class of San Lorenzo Valley High School in 1954. He later attended San Jose State College.
Ed met and married the love of his life, Gail Ann Miller, “Gaily Bird.” The couple raised three wonderful children, Sherry, Jeff and Steve. Ed and Gail could always be found at their children’s many activities.
Ed worked for his father, Bingo, aka R. Hill the Builder, in construction and then worked for Graham and Sons Sand and Cement Company. He loved the job and shared wonderful stories about his times there. He was so proud of helping to build
the Loch Lomond Dam.
Ed obtained his contractor’s license in 1962. That began the legend of Ed Hill the Builder. He had a reputation for building the best homes in San Lorenzo Valley.
He enjoyed running his jobs and working alongside his crews. Always generous and giving, Ed voluntarily helped build a new a house for friends who lost theirs in a natural disaster.
He was a volunteer firefighter at the Ben Lomond Fire Department for more than 32 years and was President of the department’s social club. He organized memorable Christmas parties in Park Hall, countless pancake breakfasts, Halloween dances and Firemen’s Musters. He was a fierce competitor and was always a contributing factor in the Ben Lomond Fire Department’s winning record at the musters. BLFD is #1.
Ed and Gail were renowned for their parties —live music, delicious food, cocktails and always a few surprises. Ed once wanted more room for a party, so he built an addition on their house.
All his life, he loved the outdoors. Many vacations were spent at Eagle Lake in Susanville. He was known to drop a line in any lake or stream that might have a fish. He loved being with his friends and welcomed a competitive game of horseshoes, golf, or darts.
Ed’s house was always open for a drink, food, and a lively conversation. If you asked his opinion, he was sure to tell you what he thought. He was a masterful storyteller and was a mentor to many. If you were quiet enough when you stopped by, you might find him playing a tune on the piano. Occasionally, he was a preacher dressed in his tall black boots, long tailcoat, and tall hat, he married several couples.
There are no words to express what a phenomenal person Ed was. His life truly revolved around his family, friends, and community. His legacy will continue to live on.
Ed is preceded in death by his parents Rowland and Catherine Hill and his wife Gail Ann Miller.
Ed is survived by his brother, Col. Orland K. Hill and wife, Harriet; his children, Sherry Martinez and her husband, Gus; Jeff Hill and his wife, Lisa, and Steve Hill and his wife, Patty. Grandchildren, Travis (Stephanie), Clinton (Faye) and Lucas (Danielle) Hill; Bradley (Ashley) Hill; Nick (Jessica) and Katie Martinez; great grandchildren, Kaliyah and Orion Martinez; Logan and Parker Hill and many nieces, nephews and wonderful friends.
Visitation will be Thursday April 8th from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM at Benito & Azzaro Pacific Garden Chapel, 1050 Cayuga Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95062.
“Celebration of Life” will be April 9th at 1:00 PM held at Roaring Camp, Bret Harte Hall, 5401 Graham Hill Road, Felton, CA. 95018. Masks mandatory.
Private Family Burial immediately following celebration.
Due to Covid restrictions capacity is limited at the “Celebration of Life”. A live stream of service will be available and is encouraged during this difficult time. For those unable to attend in person, Ed’s service can be viewed on the following link https://client.tribucast.com/tcid/571887115
In lieu of flowers donations are preferred to the Ben Lomond Fire Fighters Association, PO Box 27, Ben Lomond, CA 95005. To express your condolences or share a memory with Ed’s family please visit www.pacificgardenschapel.com.