Vernon Ivalee Hill, 86, of Raleigh passed away Friday, Nov 17, 2017 and has been taken home by his precious Lord and Savior. Born in Carrboro, NC on March 5, 1931 and the youngest of six brothers and sisters, he was the son of the late Herbert and Velna Hill of Carrboro. He is survived by a brother, William Collier Hill of Waxahachie, Texas and several nieces and nephews.
Lee graduated from Chapel Hill High School in 1949 where he lettered in basketball, baseball, and football. As a Senior, he participated in the first NC East-West All Star Basketball game held in Greensboro, was All-State in baseball and was awarded the first E. Carrington Smith “Outstanding Athlete” Award, Class of 1949. During the summer months while he was in Chapel Hill, he played on the Carrboro Cubs Semi-Pro baseball team.
Lee attended UNC Chapel Hill on an athletic scholarship, playing freshman basketball and baseball before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force in 1951 during the Korean Conflict. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Staff Sargent in 1954.
Lee returned to UNC after being discharged from the Air Force, playing three more years (1955-57) for the Tarheel baseball team. He led the team in batting average (.358), home runs (4), and RBIs (24) as a junior third baseman. He again led the team, as a senior first baseman in home runs (2). He graduated from UNC in 1958 with a BS in Industrial Relations.
Lee worked in the financial services industry his entire business career before retiring from Merrill Lynch. He traveled extensively throughout the US and around the world acquiring a diverse collection of art. He was well read with a broad range of interests and had a lifelong desire for learning – especially history, religion, archaeology, travel, sports, and current events. He was a past member of the Elks Club, American Legion, and charter member of North Ridge Country Club. He remained a devoted UNC Tarheel athletic booster throughout his life.
Lee will be remembered by those who loved him for many things, especially his quick wit and the grace and calm with which he faced the final chapter of his life.
A graveside memorial service at Westwood Cemetery in Carrboro will be held on Tuesday, November 28, at 1:00 pm with Walker Funeral Home of Chapel Hill handling arrangements. The family has requested that donations, in lieu of flowers be made in Lee's name to the Leukemia Research Foundation,191 Waukegan Road, Ste 105
Northfield, IL 60093.