John Hill

Obituary of John Benjamin Hill

John Benjamin Hill died Friday morning, January 26, 2018 at the Dubose Health Center in Chapel Hill, NC. He was six weeks shy of his 95th birthday. He was born to the late Dorothy Arkush Hill and Charles Maurice Hill on March 8, 1923. John was predeceased by his wife of 56 years, Elaine Hill and his grandson, Dallas Cameron Hill.

John's childhood was spent in Weston, CT and New York City. He graduated from Worcester Academy in Worcester, MA where he developed a love of biology and enjoyed participating on the fencing team. He attended Brown University for three years prior to World War II. He then enlisted in the U.S. Army, was sent to the University of Illinois to study engineering, but was subsequently transferred to the University of Wisconsin Medical School. After three years at Wisconsin, he transferred to Columbia University where he completed his Ph.D. and M.D. degrees. 

In 1950, while at Columbia, John married the love of his life, Elaine Toulmin Mackenzie. In 1952 John and Elaine came to Chapel Hill where he joined the Department of Pharmacology as one of the founding faculty members of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Together they raised a family of five children. In 1970 John left UNC to work for the Becton-Dickinson Research Center from where he retired in 1979. John's professional career was guided by his curiosity, creativity, insistence upon speaking the truth and an irreverent sense of humor. Some of the highlights of his research career were the development of a method for detecting a metabolic disease in newborns (PKU), a better understanding of the treatment of aspirin poisoning, and the development of a charcoal-based system for removing toxins from the blood. 

In retirement John enjoyed writing novels and musicals, creating folk art, cooking, golf, and spending time with his family at his Kerr Lake cabin. 

He will be missed by everyone who knew him, especially his children Susan Hill, Christopher Hill, Cam Hill, Cindy Hill and husband Leith Hartman, and Alison Hill and husband Tandy Jones, as well as his twelve grandchildren, Alicia Sessoms and husband Jacob Sessoms, Jennifer Hill, Benjamin and Evelyn Hartman, Mary Mackenzie Hill, Cam Hill, Jr, Tyler Hill, Ian, Jonathan and Sarah Hummel, Anna and Marie Jones, and five great grandchildren, Skylar and Ashley Hill, Dallas and Atticus Sessoms and Madeline Haefele. 

The family is appreciative of the good care John received from the staff at DuBose Health Center and, especially, the dedication and steadfastness of his friend, Ben Burton. In lieu of flowers the family would like to suggest that donations can be made to Chatham Habitat for Humanity, PO Box 883, Pittsboro NC, 27312.

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