William Douglas “Duke” Hill of Rock Hall, Maryland died on Sunday, January 24 at University of Maryland Shore Regional Medical Center at Chestertown. He was 86. He was born in Rock Hall, MD on January 18, 1935 the son of the late William Francis and Geraldine W. Stevens Hill.
Hill worked at the age of 16 for Lon Hubbard as a deckhand on the fishing vessels “General Mac” and “Lon Swan” and continued to work with Lon and Cope Hubbard at Hubbard’s Pier & Seafood, Inc. until 1958.
Doug served with the Maryland National Guard for nine years.
Hill spent most of his life working with his father Francis “Buster” Hill and his brother Lloyd at Hill’s Marine Railway operated at the end of Skinner’s Neck Road to the right of the public landing. The property has since been incorporated into a private residence. His career with Hill’s Marine Railway in Skinners Neck, Rock Hall, spanned over 50-years. Duke loved his work. He remained at his house by the boat yard for many years.
He also worked as a hunting guide with East Neck Island Gun Club, and as a self-employed oysterman. Doug or “Duke” as he was known, guided hunting parties for a group of Psychiatrists with their club “The Nutcracker’s Gun Club”.
He was a member of Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church.
Doug enjoyed woodworking, repairing furniture, gardening, hunting, fishing, and traveling with Lynne.
“Duke was a fun, hardworking, likeable guy,” recalled Ron Fithian, Kent County Commissioner and Rock Hall native. “He was a good family man.”
Fithian recalled a story that reflected well Duke’s character.
“He was fishing with Naudain Francis (1921-2017) down off of Cove Point below Solomons. It was blowing up a cracker and the weather was getting worse. They were working to get the nets in and Naudain was getting concerned. Duke’s response was ‘When it’s too rough for you, it’s just right for me.’”
Hill is survived by his wife of 61 and a half years, Patricia Lynne Olsen Hill; a sister, Katherine Hedrick of Camden, DE, along with nieces and nephews.
Services will be held on Thursday, January 28th at 12:00 noon at Fellows, Helfenbein, and Newnam Funeral Home 130 Speer Road Chestertown where a relatives and friends may call 10:00-12:00 noon. Interment will be in Wesley Chapel Cemetery. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Wesley Chapel Sunday School Fund at P.O. Box 626 Rock Hall, MD.
This story includes original reporting by the Kent Pilot and published obituary.