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In Memory of My Brother, Michael J. Hill

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Author Topic: In Memory of My Brother, Michael J. Hill  (Read 37 times)
dhill757
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« on: August 15, 2023, 12:55:59 pm »

On August 7th, 2023, my oldest brother Michael John Hill passed away of natural causes. Mike was born on December 28th 1953 in  a small town in Illinois, but his career as a newspaper man spanned the country, including a lengthy stay at the Capital Times as City Editor during the late 1980s and early  90s.I could go on all day about his accomplishments, but his story is better told (like all great newspapermen) from himself.

Down below is in his own words, on the occasion of his retirement four years ago::



- 30 -

That means the end of the story in old-school newspaper lingo when
reporters turned in their stories from a typewriter.

And it is 30 for me today.

I've retired from the daily newspaper business after more than 42
years. I started out on a typewriter working at the Muncie Star in Indiana in
1977 after getting a journalism degree at Northern Illinois University
(got hired at the college's Northern Star a week before I started
classes).

Went on to work for nine news organizations, from the Las Vegas Review
Journal to Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers in Florida, from the
Capital Times in Madison, Wis., to The Courier/Daily Comet in
Louisiana.

I was a reporter for 12 years covering city, local and state
government; the environment; police and courts. And I was an editor
for 30 years.

I won several investigative awards in the post-Watergate era for
government corruption.

I was an eyewitness to a Vietnam veteran shooting at kids outside his
apartment before police killed him, interviewed a mother and her
4-year-old who was burned over 90 percent of his little body,
interviewed a funeral home director who had a mummy on the wall that a
Wisconsin guy was trying to sell in a scam and illegally got on
welfare that I wasn't prosecuted for (the story I got the biggest
public reaction over).

I interviewed Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman on a presidential
ticket, and made her laugh. I quickly left that interview in 1984 and
got waived through lots of red traffic lights in Milwaukee by
police/Secret Service who seemed horrified I entered their perimeter.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the founder of the Special Olympics and JFK's
sister, and I were together alone in a hotel room before I interviewed
her. Her daughter Maria Shriver (pre-Arnold Schwarzenegger) was
hosting the "Today Show" for the first time that day and she wanted me
to watch it with her. She treated me like she was my aunt and asked me
"How do you think Maria did, Mike?" I said she was great.

Peter Frampton put up with me, Don McLean didn't like me asking about
the meaning of "American Pie," presidential candidates Jesse Jackson
and Bob Dole shook my hand. I saw Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter in
Washington before grabbing a surprised Henry Kissinger's hand to shake
it.

I interviewed Joey Bishop, of the Las Vegas Rat Pack, the day Dean
Martin died. I got what I needed, but he told me "This interview isn't
done until I said it is."

As an editor, I directed coverage of three Florida hurricanes, was
part of team leaders who helped us get Newspaper of the Year awards in
Wisconsin and Louisiana, and believe I helped make many reporters
become better journalists.

I want to thank some of the people who helped me become a better
journalist over the years (and I'm sure I'm leaving people out):

Jerry Thompson, Irvan Kummerfeldt, Art Techlow, Dave Butler, Chris
Boultinghouse, Dennis Hetzel, Dave Zweifel, Dennis Chaptman, John
Patrick Hunter, Mary Bergin, Charles Zobell, Dennis Sodomka, Larry
Reisman and Keith Magill.

Thanks also to all those reporters who put up with me and everyone
else who worked with me at these newspapers.

I've been told that I may be one of the last of those who worked their
entire professional life in newspapers, which are dying off now.

For those people who turn out the lights, I wish you the best. My
heart is with you.

And it's been a trip.

++++
Mike was preceded in death by his parents, Elton and Dolores Hill, his youngest brother Keith and his beloved cat, Midnight.
He is survived by his brothers Tim, Elton and Dale and sisters Kathie and Nancy and ex-wide Mary Bergin. Be at peace, Mike,  you earned it.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2023, 10:07:15 am by dhill757 » Report Spam   Logged

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