GRAND ISLE — Rodney C. J. Hill, 75, of Grand Isle, passed away peacefully at home on Jan. 10, 2015, surrounded by loving family. Born in Newport, Vt., to Robert V. and Claire (Coburn) Hill, he grew up in St. Albans, attended local schools, and graduated from Bellows Free Academy. In his youth, he was an accomplished athlete, earning numerous awards, and was an All-State and All-Northern League football player and held the State Scoring Title in football in 1957. He enlisted and was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps in 1962. He attended Norwich University, and as a member of Sigma Phi Fraternity, he graduated from The University of Vermont in 1963 and did graduate work there in 1964.
After college, Rod joined the Vermont Agency of Transportation as a Right-of-Way Agent, acquiring mass sections of property for the Interstate Highway System throughout Vermont. He rose quickly through the ranks and served the VAOT as Principal Management Analyst for many years and participated in helping with several reorganizations of the Agency. He served on the AASHTO Internal Audit Committee, chaired the Education Committee of Chapter 16 of the American Right-of-Way Association, was a Director of the Champlain Islands Chamber of Commerce, and spear-headed the placement of memorial plaques in some rest areas of the Interstate Highway System recognizing the contributions of those who built the system.
In 1970, Rod founded Hill Real Estate in the Champlain Islands and many years later was instrumental in the merger of three area real estate firms into a new company called Islands Realty, Inc. He eventually brought franchising to the Islands with the formation of Coldwell Banker Islands Realty, Inc., for which he served as President for five years. He was known locally as “The Lakeshore Guy” throughout his real estate career and eventually sold his company interest in 2006.
Rod continued to mentor others in the business and worked part-time under the name of Hill Real Estate these last few years. Retirement days, however, were most joyfully spent in the company of family, doing a bit of snow-birding to Florida, and writing children’s books.
Rod is survived by his wife of 49 years, Elizabeth (Hoechner) Hill, daughter Katherine E. Hill of No. Ferrisburgh, daughter Jessica C. Hill of So. Burlington and spouse Rochelle Weitzner, son Rodney C J. Hill, Jr. and spouse, Katharine Adams, of No. Ferrisburgh, sister Virginia and spouse, Thomas Hall, Sr. of St. Albans, sister-in-law Jackie Hill of St. Albans, special family friends Sara Lesperance of Ripton and Lori Frisella of So. Burlington, and beloved family pet Murtle of No. Ferrisburgh. He was predeceased by sister Juanita Viens and brother David J. Hill, both of St. Albans.
Viewing hours will be 4 to 7 p.m., on Thursday, Jan. 15, at Minor Funeral Center, 237 Route 7 South, Milton. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, January 16, at St. Rose of Lima Church, 501 U.S. Rte. 2, South Hero. Contributions made in Rod’s memory would be appreciated by C.I.D.E.R., P.O. Box 13, South Hero, VT 05486 or www.cidervt.org.