LIFE and LEGACY of RAYMOND P. HILL
Raymond Paul Hill, affectionately known as Ray, was born July 18, 1937, in Bronx, New York to the late Charles Hill and Rosalie Walker Hill. He was the older of two sons (Bernell Hill). During his first year, he moved with his family to Virginia and later to Philadelphia, PA at the age of six. Raymond and Bernell spent many hours together as young men, building model airplanes, roller skating and ice skating. Around age 11, he joined Boy Scout troop 214 in the Raymond Rosen Housing projects. It was through that experience, that his desire to be of service to others was enhanced and stimulated.
Raymond was educated in the Philadelphia Parochial school system. He attended St Elizabeth’s Catholic grade school in North Philadelphia. At St Elizabeth’s, he met his oldest and dearest friend, Paul Taylor, and the two have remained friends for all these years. Later, Raymond attended Roman Catholic High School, played football and graduated in 1955. After graduation, Ray enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He served his country for over 28 years both active duty and in the reserves. He retired as a 1st Sargent. Anyone who knew Ray, knew he was proud to be a United States Marine!
In 1959, Ray met the love of his life, Kathleen (Kay) Hairston. The two married on September 23, 1961 at Most Precious Blood Catholic Church. From their union, they have 3 daughters: Stephanie; Marcia and Karla.
Ray was called to a life of service. In 1960, he joined the Philadelphia Police Department (Class 144). He served in several districts including the 16th, 18th, 24th, 23rd, 39th, 92nd, 5th, 7th, Special Investigations, Civil Affairs, South Detectives, and Criminal Investigations. Ray’s final assignment with the department was an instructor at the Police Academy. Here he trained and mentored new recruits. He was best known for his defensive tactics class. In this class, he became known for “The Thumb”, a move that would bring the strongest person to his/her knees. Many of us have been on the receiving end of that “Thumb”. This was just Ray’s way of showing us that he loved us. When the police honor band was disbanded around 1995, Ray worked diligently to continue to honor former officers who passed away. While assigned at the Police Academy, Ray began recruiting other officers to help bestow honors to these deserving fellow officers. Because of his efforts and determination, he is also known as one of the Founding Fathers of the Phila. Police Honor Guard. Ray retired from the Philadelphia Police Department in 1997 with the rank of Sargent after 37 years and 10 months of service.
Education was always important to Ray. He received an associate degree from Community College of Philadelphia. In 1977, he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology from LaSalle University.
In 1972, Ray Joined the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal service organization. Throughout the years, he held titles of: Scribe; Past Faithful Navigator; Past Grand Knight; Former District Deputy; and Past Color Corps Commander. He was famously known for selling the annual C.O.A.L chances that support the Knights of Columbus’ scholarship and other charitable programs. He can be heard saying, “Take your book of 8 tickets for $6. Don’t worry, you can pay me later.” We all know that Ray was not taking no for an answer.
Ray was a man of faith. Around 1961, He joined Holy Child (Our Lady of Hope) Parish. He remained an active member for over 60 years, and rarely missed Sunday mass. Here, he served as a greeter, an usher, and a van driver. He really enjoyed fellowshipping with his “breakfast club” after mass on Sundays. When the grade school was open, he implemented an in-school lunch program. However, his most important role at the church was being the “Mayor” and calling people out when they have missed too many Sunday masses. And we can’t forget he was a self-proclaimed cherub.
Ray had many hobbies such as bowling and bike riding. Ray also loved to travel. His favorite mode of traveling was going on cruises with his lovely wife, family, and friends. He attained a Diamond Elite status for cruising and had visited 5 of the 7 continents. Ray also loved to take pictures. He believed a picture is worth a thousand words and he never missed an opportunity to capture a memory on film or video. Ray was an avid blood doner and encouraged everyone to give the gift of life as well. Ray also worked with the Retired & Seniors Volunteer Program and was a member of the Guardian Civic League.
Ray had a “mission first” mentality when it came to tasks and repairs: Get it done, everything is recyclable and functionality over aesthetics. Ray was gregarious. He had a story for just about every topic and could talk for hours on the history of anything! Some of his favorite sayings were: be thick-skinned, carve your own path, channel your strengths, go the extra mile and smooth the way for others.
Ray was a die-hard Eagles Fan! No matter where he traveled and no matter the audience, he would chant E-A-G-L-E-S Eagles! He loved those Birds!!! The only thing he loved more than the Eagles was his family. The ones in his bloodline and the people that God simply put in his path. Whether you called him Ray, Pop-Pop, Daddy, Sarg, Papa Smurf, Mr. Hill; you knew you had a great man on your team. He was the neighborhood block captain for over 20 years, up until his passing. He took pride in his neighborhood and was always willing to help anyone. Acts of benevolence were his passion. Up until the age of 84, he would be seen delivering boxes of food to the sick and shut in, shoveling snow in the driveway for the neighborhood or volunteering at his dear Alma Mater, Roman Catholic HS.
Ray’s most important role in life was being a family man. He loved his family and loved spending time with them. He supported them in all aspects of their lives and applauded their accomplishments privately and publicly. He would spend hours on the phone, passionately debating any topic you threw at him. If you knew better, secretly you would let him win or the conversation would never end.
Raymond P. Hill passed away peacefully on September 10, 2022. Ray leaves to celebrate his life: his wife of over 60 years, Kathleen Hill; children, Stephanie Hill, Marcia Frank (Kyle), Karla Payne (Terrell); five grandchildren, Nathaniel Bruce, Janae Jones, Jordan Frank, Zharia Payne and Zakia Payne; one great-grand daughter, Laila Muhammad; his brother, Bernell Hill (Barbara); one uncle, Charlie Paul Walker; a brother-in-law, Milton Streeter; 5 nephews (2 preceded him in death Tracy Hill and Byron Hill), Craig Hill, Eric Patterson and Terrance Patterson; 4 nieces, Brenna Hill, Deborah Patterson, Stacy Robinson, Pamela Patterson; 6 great nieces; 6 great nephews, a host of great-great nieces/nephews, cousins and friends who will miss him dearly.