Ramon J. Hill, 85, a longtime area resident, died in his Roswell home Monday, April 30.
The son of John and Ida Hill, he was born and raised in New Athens, Ill., graduating high school there in 1944.
Mr. Hill first came to Roswell 1945, when he was stationed at Walker Air Force Base.
His career as a decorated high school athlete translated to similar success on the sports teams at Walker. Mr. Hill starred on base-sponsored baseball and basketball squads that competed in tournaments throughout the region. He also played a key role on an Air Force All-Star basketball team that toured the Southwest and West Coast.
Upon completing his military service in 1948, Mr. Hill played professional baseball in the Longhorn League, a four-year run that included three seasons in right field for the Roswell Rockets.
Mr. Hill returned to New Athens in 1952 and married Audrey, who was by his side until his passing almost 60 years later.
He became a born-again Christian in 1955, and immediately began living his faith as a Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church in New Athens.
In 1967, the Hills and their three children relocated to Roswell, where “Ray” lived the rest of his life as a devoted husband, father and witness for Jesus Christ.
His Roswell service included a 35-year membership at First Baptist Church, where he taught Sunday school for several years.
He is survived by Audrey; his son, Mike Hill and daughter-in-law Lauri Hill, of Scottsdale, Ariz.; daughter Patti Hill, of Roswell; and son, Randy Hill and daughter-in-law Julie Hill, of Fountain Hills, Ariz.; granddaughter, April Anderson and grandson-in-law Jeremiah Anderson, of Mountain View, Calif.; granddaughter, Lauren Dana, of Roswell; and grandson Jonathan Hill, of Fountain Hills; great-grandson Jake Anderson, of Mountain View; sister, Lucille Isom, of Lake Worth, Fla.; brother-in-law Wayne Hagan of New Athens; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his sisters, Sylvia Hill, Dorothy Jetton, Dolores Bardos and Fern Hagan; and his brother Wilbert Hill.
A funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, May 5, 2012, at Ballard Chapel, 910 S. Main St., followed by burial service in South Park Cemetery.
Pallbearers are Jonathan Hill, Jeremiah Anderson, Thurman Clark, Mack Wileman, Phil Downs and Dr. Richard Mooney.
Family and friends are welcome to view Ray at Ballard until 7 p.m., Friday, May 4, 2012.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, P.O. Box 96105, Washington, D.C. 20090-6105.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Ballard Funeral Home and Crematory. An online registry can be accessed at ballardfuneralhome.com.