When I read of his passing, I truly felt as though I had lost a family member.James Dasher
RINCON — State Sen. Jack Hill left an imprint on his district and state that is extremely wide and deep.
The former grocer’s significance was made clear by people who have mourned his loss in recent days. Hill died in his Reidsville office April 6 at the age of 75.
“Jack Hill was one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I ever served with,”
Gov. Brian Kemp said on the day of Hill’s death. “His loss is devastating to our state, but he leaves behind an unmatched legacy of hard work and public service.”
Hill, who represented District 4, was Georgia’s senior senator, having won 15 terms since 1990. Kemp served in the Senate with him in 2003-07.
At the time of his death, Hill was writing a state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. He was the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and he also served on the Natural Resources and the Environment, and Regulated Industries and Utilities committees.
“Jack Hill was a true stateman, a man of overwhelming integrity and a servant leader,” Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan said. “For three decades, Georgians have benefitted from his leadership and his calm and steady hand at the helm. He exhibited all the characteristics we hope for in a leader and was a true friend to all.
“Jack always ensured we were good stewards of taxpayer dollars but it was more than that. He led with kindness and clarity.”
James Dasher, a member of the Rincon City Council, echoed Duncan’s sentiments. He called Hill a “one of us” kind of man.
“It wasn’t only his stature that earned the respect of others. It was his character,” Dasher said. “He was a gentle giant and he earned the respect of his friends, colleagues and constituents by just being ‘Mr. Jack’ for the twenty-plus that I have known him. When I read of his passing I truly felt as though I had loss a family member.”
Hill left a positive impression on Brett Bennett, the former city manager of Springfield and the current the interim city manager of Guyton,
“When I hear the term ‘public servant,’ I always seem to think of Senator Hill,” Bennett said. “I didn’t know him before he became the statesman he was but my guess is that the significant influence he earned over his political career never changed him as a person.”
After graduating from Reidsville High School and Georgia Southern University, Hill returned to his hometown and went into the grocery business as owner and operator of Hill Shopping Center. In addition to the long hours spent running the business, he served in the Georgia Air National Guard for more than 33 years as a unit commander and state inspector general.
Hill continued to build on his legendary work ethic in the Senate. He was usually the last person to leave the Capitol each day.
Effingham County School District Superintendent Dr. Randy Shearouse was impressed by Hill’s efforts to stay connected to his district, which includes all of Bulloch, Candler and Effingham counties, and part of Emanuel, Evans and Tattnall counties.”
“Any kind of school event we had, if we invited him, he was going to be there,” Shearouse said. “It was amazing how many of our things he attended because I’m sure he was wanted in other communities as well. He was always there.”
Shearouse was still reeling from the news of Hill’s passing at the time of his April 6 remarks.
“He was such a true statesman in the state of Georgia,” Shearouse said. “He is a person who is going to be missed by so many folks. He was a true Southern gentleman and, to me, he always looked out for everyone.
“He always listened to you and tried to help you out. I don’t think anyone understood the state budget like him.”
Hill is survived by his wife of 48 years, Ruth Ann; three children and seven grandchildren.
“May we never forget the imprint he left on our state,” Duncan said.