January 27, 1956 - January 3, 2009
Source: The Oklahoman Newspaper McLOUD, OK – Jan 6, 2009 Hill, Robert Lee, 52, chef, died Saturday. Memorial services 2 p.m. Friday, New Life Baptist Church, Newalla (Bill Eisenhour Mortuary NE, Oklahoma City).
Robert Lee 'Bobby' Hill was born Jan 27, 1956. He lived in Oklahoma as a small child, and attended several different schools, including Watonga High School in Watonga, OK during second grade (a combined school for a town of about 3,200 people). The rest of his elementary school years were spent in Colorado Springs, CO, where he also attended junior high.
Bobby Hill, 8 years old, Watonga, OK - 1964
For his sophomore, junior and senior years of high school, Bobby attended and graduated from General H. H. Arnold High School in Wiesbaden, Germany with the class of 1975. There he pursued his passion for athletics, joining the football and basketball teams.
Bobby was most passionate about basketball. Over the years, friends shared stories about the basketball teams that Bobby was on, including one from fellow Warrior Wendell Scott Dean, who talked about a 1973 trip to Nuremberg that happened during the oil embargo and rising tensions between Israel and oil-rich middle eastern countries in the early 1970s. No one was allowed to drive on Sundays at the time, so the kids had to play their games as early as possible and get back by Saturday night.
The JV game didn't start until 9pm and they ended up having to stay the night on the base. The varsity players were scooped up by Nuremberg families at the game who were willing to make some space for them, but the JV team had to spend the night in the military stockade, which, according to Wendell, was 'a huge room located on the upper part of a big concrete building with about fity to seventy five beds sprawled across the room,' and filled with 'every Army drunk, misfit, dimwit, halfwit, wholewit, gunslinger, and urban reject.' The JV players weren't ready to call it a night, so they woke up all the convicts with their antics, started a fight with one of them, cranked the music, got a party going and pretty much rocked that joint through the night. And Bobby was right smack in the middle of the mayhem.
Many lifelong friendships were forged at HH Arnold with people like Jeffrey O'Hara Baker, Wendell Scott Dean, Fred, Mike and Cynthia Hancock, Guy Davis and so many more. Bobby earned the nickname 'Sunshine' at HH Arnold, namely because he was always smiling, and many classmates remember with fondness his sunny disposition.
Bobby, Mike (back), Darrell Horne, O.J., Ruffin Rhodes and Dave (back). Architecture class at HH Arnold in 1975.
After school, Bobby joined the Army and got stationed at Ft. Carson in Colorado Springs, CO along with fellow Warrior Jeff O'Hara Baker in 1979-1980. Jeff and Wendell recall getting together with Bobby in 1993, when they gathered for Cynthia Hancock's wedding in Oklahoma City, and then did a mini-reunion at Guy Davis' house in Dallas with all the gang. At the time, Bobby was married and had two little ones, was living in Oklahoma City and seemed happy in life in general and particularly happy to be hanging with the old crew.
In early 2009, Jeff began making plans for a big all-class reunion to be held in Atlanta, and he used the newly created Wiesbaden Warrior network to bring the family together and get the word out for the gathering. As plans came together, there was a renewed effort to get back in touch with Bobby, as several folks had lost contact with him over the years. It was on March 9, 2009 that Jeff received a phone call from Cynthia, letting him know that Bobby's little brother, Isiah had confirmed that Bobby had passed away from bone cancer on January 3, 2009. The Warrior network that had been so intrumental in helping Bobby's classmates get back together now served as a backdrop to real-time heartbreak as Bobby's friends learned of his passing and tried to come to terms with the shock of losing him at such a young age.
Cynthia took it particularly hard because she lived in the same city as Bobby and had even bumped into him earlier. He had told her he was sick, but didn't mention what was going on. She didn't know it was serious. She felt terrible that she hadn't stayed in touch, but her Warrior family rallied around, passing along condolences to Bobby's family, as well as a sympathetic understanding to Cynthia, as Warriors know that life gets in the way sometimes, and sometimes it keeps us from staying in touch with each other, but it doesn't change the bond that exists among us regardless of what life throws in our paths.
Memorial services were held for Bobby on Friday, January 9, 2009 in Oklahoma City. And whether or not fellow Warriors were able to attend, they felt his loss deeply and still do today.
Bobby 'Sunshine' Hill... you are dearly missed by so many. Rest on in peace, fellow Warrior.