Flying Tiger Line
Pilots Association

Richard L. Hill

Hill_RichardIn Memoriam...

Richard L. Hill

3/21/1942- 6/7/2012

Richard Lee Hill passed away peacefully with his wife and family at his bedside at San Juan Villa Memory Care Center in Port Townsend on June 7, 2012.

Dick was born in Miami, Florida, on March 21, 1942, to Richard N. and Eleanor (Kennedy) Hill. He moved to Southern California at age 13 with his parents and younger brother, David.

In 1960, he graduated from Birmingham High School, Van Nuys, California. It was at Birmingham High School that he met Kathy Jones, the love of his life.

From an early age, Dick was passionate about airplanes. Before he was 10 years of age, he began building and flying model airplanes with his father.

His love of airplanes and flying led him to Van Nuys Airport and a high school job pumping gas for flying time, which inspired a career in aviation that began at age 21.

Dick's passion for flight played a defining role in his life. As a pilot for the Flying Tiger Line, he rose quickly in the ranks, flying a wide range of airplanes, including the Super Constellation (the Connie), CL-44, DC-8, 727 and 747.

Dick was one of the youngest 747 captains in the industry, an aircraft that he piloted until his retirement at age 55. He was proud of the Flying Tigers' involvement in transporting troops, equipment and supplies during the Vietnam War and both the Gulf Wars.

Through aviation, he saw the world while delivering Shamu to San Diego's Sea World, Formula One race cars throughout Asia and Willie Shoemaker's thoroughbred race horses more than once.

Dick and Kathy were married on September 28, 1963, in Van Nuys.

When not crisscrossing the skies in his small airplane or a jetliner, Dick could be found tinkering in his shop with electronics, amateur radio, model building or wood working. He was often found helping friends with projects or sailing Wecantu, the Westsail 32 sailboat that he built with his father in the 1970s.

Wecantu, Dick's Native American version of We Can Too, brought Dick, Kathy and his two sons, Richard and Scott, to Port Townsend in the summer of 1978.

Dick and Kathy were married for nearly 49 years and shared a love for their dogs, their home on Morgan Hill and, most importantly, their children and five grandchildren.

Dick loved his five grandchildren, who brought him special joy whenever they were together. He could always be counted on to provide unwavering support at their activities, watching with a big smile that captured his overwhelming pride.

Dick's desire to help others throughout his life was punctuated by his involvement with Young Life, his faith as a Christian and expanding private aviation in Port Townsend and Jefferson County.

Dick was a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) for more than 45 years and played an instrumental role in the founding of the Port Townsend chapter of EAA.

Dick was a member of the Jefferson County Pilots Association and a supporter of the Port Townsend Aero Museum.

Dick is survived by his wife of 48 years, Kathy J. Hill; and his two sons and five grandchildren, Richard (Rachel) Hill of Port Townsend with children Lane and Berkley and Scott (Leah) Hill of Seattle with children Gavin, Mason and Andrew. He is survived by his brother, David (Roxanne) of Carlsbad, California; his aunt, Margaret Stricklin of Daleville, Alabama; and many nieces and nephews across the country.

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