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Obituary

Thomas Wrate Hill passed away on Tuesday, February 13, 2018, at home in Rockford at age 73. He was born to Nancy Logan Hill and Dwight Hill on Jan. 27, 1945, in Rockford. Their home was often a neighborhood boys club, with Tom, brother Dutch and their friends enjoying it as their natural haven. He attended Walker School, Roosevelt Junior High School and West High School in Rockford. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Rockford University, where he met his wife Helen and formed the beginnings of lifelong friendships with fellow alumni and faculty. He was thrilled when he received the 2017 Karl C. Williams Award from RU.

Tom is survived by his wife Helen; brother Francis "Dutch" Hill (Beverly); nephew Eric Hill (Liz); niece Lisa Cornell (Jeremy); nephews Adam Sokal (Andrea), Peter Sokal and Harrison Hill; and grandnieces Olivia and Ines Hill; as well as cousins. Tom's parents predeceased him.

Tom worked at Eclipse for many years in manufacturing and retired in 2013. He bicycled to work for decades, and his co-workers often joined him for bike rides on their lunch hour. After retirement, he devoted more time to bicycling, operas and concerts, friends and fun with his characteristic and lovable enthusiasm. Despite cancer and chemotherapy in recent years, Tom continued to live life as fully as possible. The family is very grateful to Dr. Richard Nora for the exceptional care he gave us.

A celebration service of Tom's life will be held on Saturday, Feb. 17th at 11 a.m. at Second First Church, 318 N. Church Street, Rockford, with Pastor Rebecca White Newgren and Pastor Kris Delmore officiating. Visitation preceding from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m.at the church. Olson Funeral Home is assisting with the service. To share a memory or send an online condolence visit olsonfh.com.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to establish a scholarship in Tom's name may be sent to Rockford University, 5050 East State Street, Rockford IL

Condolences & Shared Memories (13)

  1. Paris

    I would like to offer my condolences to the family and friends of Thomas W. Hill. May these Scriptures comfort you during this time Revelation 21:3&4 John 5:28&29 Thank you. Best Regards, Paris

  2. Val Whipkey

    Tom was so funny he made me laugh everyday. Such a great personality. I remember him cooking vegetables everyday for lunch. He will be missed by everyone that knew him. May God be with you Helen and family.

  3. Ed and Diane Kuehl

    Dear Helen, Thinking of you during this time of Tom's passing. His smile was always a welcome sign whenever we saw him. May the joyful memories of your life together give you peace in the coming days.

  4. Maureen Haggarty

    One of first memories of Tom is a story Helen told about Tom waking up one night with bad leg cramps and shouting: someone help me! To which she calmly replied: I'm right here. So like them both! He was such an enthusiastic and cheerful person. A big personality that will be just as largely missed. Love to you Helen!

  5. Art Burkhalter

    Tom and I became friends at Roosevelt and of course went on to West together. His happiness was a pleasure to be around. I last saw Tom at a recent reunion and will miss him moving forward.

  6. Mike Nicholas

    Helen, I am very sorry to learn of the passing of Tom. My deepest sympathies, Mike

  7. Jeannie Jackson

    Helen, My heartfelt condolences to you in the loss of Tom. No words seem adequate at a time like this, but know that I am saying prayers for you and Tom and the rest of your family. I wish you peace and beautiful memories... until you meet again. With deepest sympathies. God Bless.

  8. Jim and Lynda Hill

    Helen and Family, We are so very sorry to hear of the loss of Tom. No one will ever forget his smile ... even way back then! We send our sincerest sympathy and love to your entire family. May God wrap his loving arms around you and bring you peace ... we will always remember.

  9. Ron Hoffman

    Since our college years, I have witnessed Tom's love for Helen, for life, and for his friends. He was often the impetus and the glue for bringing people together. He has been a joy to know and I now find a hole that can only be filled by his memory. And he would want us all to carry on and enjoy this earthly experience. My best to Helen, his family, and his friends.

  10. Charles Colman

    I only know tom from Rockford College activities. He was always fit and smiling. He contributed whenever he could. Hellen you have my condolences. You both are great people!

  11. Lenny Payne

    I worked with Tom for over 15 years. The thing I remember most about Tom is his beaming smile and joyful attitude toward almost everything. Tom was a great guy and will be missed by many.

  12. Rod Larson

    Tom was my boss, I was Tom's boss. He never had a harsh word for anyone. The best memory and we spoke about it the last time together was moving that darn rock collection into the new house on Lundval. Gonna miss you Tommy

  13. Rick Powell

    Tom and I grew up playing together when we were both at Walker School. His mother Nan was our cub scout den mother. He was a dear friend and I will always remember his beaming smile.


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