February 22, 2021
A dapper dresser with a twinkle in his eye, a ginger-haired teaser with a joke and a wave for all; a lover of hockey and curling who would never turn down a steak, or the occasional drink, Richard Nelson Hill passed peacefully from this world in the presence of family and his Lord’s grace on February 22, 2021. He was 93.
Richard, or Red as he was most often called, followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather to become a proud member of the military, in which he served for 36 years.
n air cadet as a boy in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Red enlisted at RCAF Station Regina as an Air Photographer. What followed was a long and enjoyable career with postings to Rockcliffe, Uplands, RAF North Luffenham, England; Macdonald, Borden, North Bay, Cold Lake, Halifax and Winnipeg.
As he jumped from post to post—advancing from Corporal to Major—Red met and married Olive, the love of his life, and helped raise three children, all born in different stops along the way. Proud to have been Commanding Officer of the Satellite Tracking Unit in Cold Lake, Red was invested in the Order of Military Merit. After retiring in 1982, Red and Olive fled the snow to Courtenay, B.C., where he began introducing himself as Richard, since the red that earned him the nickname had by then taken leave as well. Some of Red’s contributions to military history can be seen at the Comox Air Force Museum.
Red was well known for his sense of humour, always playing the straight man, so much so that it was often hard to tell if he was joking or not. This did not always sit well with his wife. Granddaughters, he’d advise: “Eat those onions, they will put hair on your chest!” Around Olive, he might make a comment about the modern standards of housekeeping just to catch the fire in her eyes before he jumped in to wash the dishes.
They met in Ottawa, while Olive was on a date with one of his friends and though Red always aimed to be loyal and do right, this once he and decorum parted. The risk was worth it as Olive and Red’s love was a bond that would not be broken by time or distance.
She followed him to England where they married in one of the oldest chapels in England, where Red was the only person she knew. Richard lost his beloved wife of 65 years in 2019.
After her passing he did not enjoy living alone, however his spirits were buoyed by family, friends and the fellowship of the Cumberland Community Church where he was able to express his fulfilling and life-long connection with God. When Red’s time came, he was ready to be the one to follow and believed both Olive and his true Home awaited.
Red will be fondly remembered for his one-liners. Of late, they included: “I don’t mind dying, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”
Richard is survived by son Steven (Mary Ann Grigorovich); daughters Karen (Greg Ewing), Susan (Brian Ward); grandchildren Heather, Erin, Delaney, Stephanie and Mikaeli; five great-grandchildren; brother Leonard; sister Florence (Bob Clark), and many nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by wife and life-long partner, Olive; parents Helen Mott and Charles Hill; and brother Clyde.
The family is grateful for the extraordinary care Richard received from Dr. Marcus Langhans, staff at Berwick and The Views. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Kidney Foundation of Canada or the Comox Valley Hospice Society. Cremation has taken place. In light of COVID-19, a small family service and interment has been scheduled for Tuesday March 2, 11 a.m. at Comox Valley Funeral Home. To join virtually go to https://www.facebook.com/rnhillcomox/
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