HAIL TO THE ‘CHIEF’
Kenneth R. Hill was born on July 3, 1943 to Eloise Knox and Lawrence Hill in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. He graduated from Peake High School and attended Arkansas AM&N College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He delayed college completion at that time and entered the United States Air Force in 1962.
Kenneth completed his basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. He was later assigned to Altus Air Force Base in Altus, Oklahoma where he served as an Administrative Specialist in the 11th Strategic Aerospace Wing. In September of 1964, he was assigned to the 19th Air Commando Squadron, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, and subsequently to the 37th Consolidated Maintenance Squadron at Nha Tran Air Base, Republic of Vietnam. Kenneth returned to the United States and was assigned to Headquarters 10th Air Force at Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base, in Kansas City, Missouri. He served his country in the following positions and locations: the US Air Force Postal and Courier Service in Taipei, Taiwan; 1st Aerial Cartographic and Geodetic Squadron at Forbes Air Force Base, Topeka, Kansas; Royal Air Force Base, Upper Heyford, England; Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea; the 390th Strategic Missile Wing, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona; Military Postal Operations, Republic of Panama, and the 82nd Fighter Training Wing, Williams Air Force Base, in Chandler, Arizona.
Kenneth was hand-picked to implement the Military Postal Operations of the Panama Canal Treaty from 1979 to 1982. Upon his return to the US, he served as the Assistant Chief of Base Administration at Williams Air Force Base in Chandler, Arizona and was promoted to Chief Master Sergeant. He served four years as the Senior Enlisted Advisor under three Wing Commanders from 1986 to 1990. In this position, Kenneth was responsible for the morale, welfare, and concerns of approximately 4,000 enlisted personnel. He affectionately became known as “CHIEF HILL”. Chief Hill attended the Military Airlift Command Noncommissioned Officers Leadership School, the Strategic Air Command Noncommissioned Officers Academy, and was a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Senior Non Commissioned Officers Academy.
Despite an active military career of more than 28 years, Chief Hill was dedicated to his family.
It was the community’s good fortune that Chief Hill relocated to Arizona. In 1990, his second career took wings when he was hired as Air Force Junior ROTC instructor at Chandler High School in the Chandler Unified School District. The program was struggling and on probation status with dwindling enrollment. In this capacity, Chief implemented many initiatives that instilled a sense of pride and leadership awareness in cadets. The cadets enrolled in the program became integral participants on the Chandler High School campus and in community activities. His program always received excellent ratings. In 1997, Chief Hill was named Assistant Principal at Andersen Junior High School. Chief Hill was well loved and his personality was great for morale.
The Chandler Chamber of Commerce paid tribute to Chief’s distinguished career by naming him the 2007 Administrator of the Year. Later, the Chandler School District Governing Board further recognized Chief Hill with a new school named in his honor, the Ken “Chief” Hill Learning Academy to recognize his outstanding contributions to the school district, students, and the community.
Although, Kenneth “Chief” Hill retired from the active duties of daily employment, he did not retire from serving students, parents and the Chandler Unified School District. After the opening of the Ken “Chief” Hill Learning Academy, he was a loyal and dedicated volunteer. Not only did he volunteer at the Academy on a daily basis, he recruited volunteers and solicited motivational speakers for the school. He developed great relationships with community organizations who contributed to the development of the students at Hill Academy. In addition to advising parents, he provided financial assistance for housing, utilities, food, toys for Christmas and other necessities to families in need.
Kenneth “Chief” Hill was the recipient of the Chandler Unified School District Outstanding Volunteer Award in November 2011. He was also recognized in the Town of Gilbert “Go Neighbor” Magazine in May of 2013 for his outstanding achievements in public service.
Kenneth “Chief” Hill met the love of his life Emma Walker as they both served as administrators in the Arizona public school system. After a long enduring courtship of many years they joined hands in holy matrimony at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church where they were both members under the leadership of Bishop Alexis A. Thomas. After a long period of illness with Emma continuously by his side, he went home to be with the Lord on July 14, 2016.
Kenneth “Chief” Hill leaves in God’s care to mourn his wife, Emma; four children: Vicki, Reggie, Viveca, and Lemuel; two grandchildren: Kristen Johique Malone, and Tharon Hill; two great grandchildren: John Williams III, and Jordan Sariyah Green.
Kenneth “Chief “Hill lived his life in the service of others both abroad and at home. He was once quoted as saying “people have helped me, and I’m trying to pay it back.”