Dr. William Wesley Hill

Published 10:54 am Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dr. William Wesley Hill, 73, of Demopolis, passed away Tuesday, Oct. 15.



He was born March 14, 1940, in Edneyville, N.C.

He was preceded in death by his daughter, Kimberly Hill Strickland; and parents, Sidney and Grace Hill of Edneyville, N.C.

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He is survived by his wife, Barbara Oates Hill of Demopolis; children, Dr. William W. (Dana) Hill II of Demopolis and Holly Hill (Tom) Beckham of Cornelius, N.C.; seven grandchildren, Jonathan Strickland, William Hill III, Sydney Hill, Meredith Hill, Amelia Grace Hill, Tucker Beckham and Trevor Beckham; sister, Peggy Hill Messer of Edneyville, N.C.; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends who loved him.

Visitation will be held Friday, Oct. 18 from 4:30-7 p.m. at Kirk Funeral Home in Demopolis. The funeral service will be held Saturday, Oct. 19 at 10:30 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church of Demopolis. The burial service will be held Monday, Oct. 21 at 10:30 a.m. at Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Edneyville, N.C., with Jackson Funeral Service of Hendersonville, N.C., directing.

Present and retired school superintendents, principals, coaches and co-workers are asked to serve as honorary pallbearers, as well as Sunday School class members and golf buddies. The Hill family would like to especially thank the wonderful caregivers who have helped care for Wesley over the last four-and-a-half years.

A devoted husband and father, and a passionate educator, Wesley served as Superintendent of Demopolis City Schools from 1980 to 2007. At the time of his retirement, he was the longest serving Superintendent in the state of Alabama.

Born in Hendersonville, N.C., son of an apple farmer, he was one of the best basketball players in western North Carolina playing for Edneyville High School in the late 1950s. He was an all-sports athlete playing shortstop in baseball and running back in football.

In college, he received a bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University, a master’s degree from Western Carolina University, and a doctorate degree from the University of Alabama. It was at the University of Alabama from 1969-1972 where he and his family began a lifelong passion for the Crimson Tide of Alabama. Even when he moved away from the state of Alabama for several years, he and his family were never too far from Alabama football, often traveling back to the state of Alabama purely for a football game.

After college, he taught school and coached all sports, and when he coached, he delivered, winning area and district championships in basketball in South Carolina. The pride and devotion to excellence was not lost with his wife, children and grandchildren who are avidly involved in athletics to this day.

Along with way, Wesley gained knowledge and prominence as a school principal throughout the states of South Carolina and Georgia. His first superintendent’s job opportunity came in Franklin, N.C., in 1977 at age 37. Three years later, he became Superintendent of Demopolis City Schools. The Demopolis position turned out to be both a blessing and a perfect fit in that it followed his belief that city school systems have the support of the city, the county and the state. He believed that that kind of mutual support, the kind of support that the people of Demopolis have, was important for the success of the school and ultimately the child.

As the Superintendent of Demopolis City Schools, Dr. Hill took great pride in high school athletics and the goal of excellence. He never missed an event. He was instrumental in starting women’s athletics at Demopolis High School, which was missing throughout the state of Alabama in the early 1980s. He believed a child’s involvement in youth activities, not just sports, was a vital part of a child’s development.

Dr. Hill’s other interests included his support of the Boy Scouts of America. He was an Eagle Scout in Edneyville, N.C., and was a lifelong support of the Boy Scouts of America in Demopolis. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Demopolis, where he sang in the choir and taught Sunday School for more than 30 years. He served in Rotary International for more than 30 years, and was awarded the Paul Harris Award in 2002. In 2007, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Chamber of Commerce of Demopolis for his outstanding service to the school system and community.

Dr. Hill enjoyed playing golf and attending athletic events at all levels. He enjoyed taking trips and eventually traveled to every state in the union and abroad with his wife of 50 years, Barbara. He also took many memorable trips with his children and grandchildren. Finally, Dr. Hill loved Demopolis and loved Demopolis City Schools. After his faith and family, it was his life.

If you wish to send a memorial, please consider the Demopolis City Schools Foundation, P.O. Box 1338, 102 East Washington Street, Demopolis, AL 36732.