April 20, 1924 — July 29, 2020
QUEENSBURY — James Wesley “Jim” Hill, 96, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, July 29, 2020, at his home on Old Mill Lane after a brief period of declining health.
The son of Grover Cleveland and Sallie Ann Summerlin Hill, he was born at home on Easter Sunday, April 20, 1924, in Lenoir County, North Carolina.
He graduated from Contentnea High School in 1941, having served as president of his senior class. After graduation, he worked briefly for a tobacco company with locations in Kinston, North Carolina and Lexington, Kentucky.
In January 1944, James was drafted into the U.S. Navy and sent on many missions as a hospital corpsman after his training at Bainbridge, Maryland. He served on various ships in the Pacific during World War II and on April 1, 1945 participated in the invasion of Okinawa aboard the USS Mendocino APA 100. Other duties included the USS Tulagi CVE 72 during the operation Magic Carpet that brought troops and equipment home from Japan.
In 1946, James enlisted in the regular Navy and served at several locations, including the US Naval Hospital at Pearl Harbor; the Quantico Marine Base; the US Naval Hospital in Coco Solo, Panama Canal Zone; the US Navy Department in Washington, D.C.; and the US Naval Hospital at Quantico, Virginia. He was in Panama when the Korean War began and enlistments were extended for one year by President Harry Truman.
James departed from the U.S. Navy as Hospitalman 2nd Class in August 1951. He was proud of his service to his country and was grateful for the many opportunities for personal growth that service provided.
Following his military service, he was employed in Glens Falls by the Imperial, Color Chemical and Paper Corporation as a laboratory technician, beginning in 1952. Later owners of the company were Hercules and Ciba-Geigy. He was a laboratory supervisor when he retired from Ciba-Geigy in 1983.
For many years, Jim resided on Circular Drive in Hudson Falls in a house with a big yard that he landscaped beautifully. He enjoyed both indoor and outdoor plants and had a talent for growing them.
Throughout the years he lived in upstate New York, Jim still managed to get “home” to North Carolina several times each year. After he retired, he delighted in being able to also spend several weeks each winter with friends in Sarasota, Florida.
He was a life member of V.F.W. Post No. 6196 in Queensbury.
Jim was a good, kind, thoughtful and a generous man. Throughout his life, he easily made friends wherever he happened to be, and he stayed in touch over the years with many of the good friends he had made during his time in the Navy. It was during the visit to the home of one of those friends, Ray Leroux, that he heard about a possible job at Imperial. Ray lived with his parents, Wilfred and Regina Leroux, in a big house on Main Street in Hudson Falls. Mr. and Mrs. Leroux urged Jim to apply for the job and said he could stay on with them as a lodger if he was hired. Thus, Jim was welcomed into the Leroux home then and, over the years, into the hearts of several generations of the extended Leroux family. Always, but for the past several years in particular, Nancy Leroux Moulton, her husband, John, and their children and grandchildren have held Jim especially close to their hearts and aided him in ways that helped him remain as independent as possible and in his own home.
Special thanks to Michelle Moulton Hammond for her patience, her thoughtfulness, her kind and compassionate care, and for being an advocate for what is just and right. There are many others, too, who lovingly helped provide heart-felt care for the man they think of as their “Uncle Jim” as he embarked on his final journey.
Many thanks to Connie Rawlins for being a good neighbor through the years and for her friendship, as well. In addition to his parents, Jim is predeceased by three brothers, William Stanley Hill, Grover Clay Hill and Wiley Edward Hill; and three sisters, Effie Lee Hill Becton, Faye Hill French Mozingo and Joyce Hill Owens Dula.
He is survived by his youngest sister, Rebecca Hill, of Kinston, North Carolina, as well as 13 of the 17 nieces and nephews to whom he was “Uncle Wesley,” and many more in succeeding generations.
Graveside services will be held for family and friends, with the Rev. Bob Smith officiating. Interment will take place in the Hill family plot in the British Chapel Church Cemetery on British Road in Kinston, North Carolina, with the assistance of Howard-Carter Funeral Home.
Memorial donations in memory of James W. Hill may be made to “Purrs and Paws,” P.O. Box 4197, Queensbury, NY 12804.
Arrangements are under the care of Carleton Funeral Home, Inc., 68 Main St., Hudson Falls.