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David Easton Hill, 90, husband of Patricia Gehrmann Hill for 62 years, passed away on Aug. 08 at Middlesex Hospital. David was born in Orange, New Jersey, to Marie Louise Easton and James Moore Hill on April 26, 1929.
He grew up in West Orange, New Jersey, attended Rutgers University, and earned his PhD in soil science. He served as a specialist in the Army during the Korean War. Dave worked at The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven as a soil scientist for more than 50 years, continuing to work there many years after his retirement. He was instrumental in working on the State Soil Survey, coauthoring three county surveys, and completing an extensive survey of Connecticut and Rhode Island’s tidal marshes.
Dave’s career changed when he established a demonstration plot in the Day-Waverly community garden in New Haven’s Inner City, where he experimented with different methods to improve the soil with various soil amendments. This led to research at the Experiment Station’s Lockwood Farm in Hamden, where he completed research on various mulches and their effect on vegetable yields. Dave’s last 25 years were spent leading the New Crops Program in which he studied more than 35 fruits and vegetables. He was considered the vegetable expert at the Station, known and respected by commercial growers and backyard gardeners throughout Connecticut.
Dave and Pat spent their first nine years of marriage in Tariffville before making their long-time home in Madison in 1966. He was not only a member of St. Andrew’s Church, but was also actively involved on the Vestry and Finance committees. He also served the community of Madison by being a member of the E.C. Scranton Memorial Library Board for several years. Dave’s hobbies included fishing and stamp collecting. As an avid stamp collector, he became president of the Clinton Stamp Club for several decades. He was a long-time fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and UConn women’s basketball. On occasion, he could be found in the kitchen making jam, sweet pickle relish, and oyster stew. Dave was a hardworking, kind, and patient person with a quick wit and dry sense of humor.
Along with his wife he is survived by his three daughters, Leslie Hill (Robert) Williams of Southington, Beth Hill McCrabb of Portland, and Stacey Hill Sullivan of Madison; as well as seven grandchildren, Jason and Jillian Williams, Tucker, Matson, and Sawyer McCrabb, and Sydney and Bailey Sullivan. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and coworkers.
Family and friends are invited to attend a Memorial Service for David at St. Andrew’s Church in Madison Saturday, Sept. 7 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation for the maintenance of the Memorial Garden at St. Andrew’s Church, for which David was organizer and groundskeeper. Checks may be made payable to St. Andrew’s Church, 232 Durham Rd., Madison, CT 06443, with a memo on the check “Memorial Garden/David Hill.” Alternately, a donation may be made for maintenance and to support research at Lockwood Farm. Checks should be made out to CAES-Lockwood Trust, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, PO Box 1106, New Haven, CT 06504.
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