Richard W. “Dick” Hill

Richard W. “Dick” Hill

Richard W. “Dick” Hill died in early May. He was 95.

Hill grew up North Haledon and Fair Lawn, New Jersey. He was drafted during World War II and served in the 100th Infantry Division’s 373rd Field Artillery Battalion, which landed at Marseilles, France. They fought on Patton’s southern flank as German troops began their retreat until April 1945. The division remained in Europe during the postwar occupation until January 1946.

When a school was set up in a hotel in France for the troops, he took two classes in physics and was encouraged by the professor to enter the field once he returned home.

While finishing his bachelor’s degree in physics at New York University, he met his future wife, Lois. After getting married, they moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where he earned a Ph.D. in nuclear physics at the University of Wisconsin. 

After working for the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in Pittsburgh, he took a job at  Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1958. He initially designed X-ray counters for the Lab’s underground nuclear weapons testing program. He joined with other nuclear physicists at LLNL in making the first astronomical surveys of X-ray sources using sub-orbital rockets launched from the Pacific Missile Range at Barking Sands in Kauai, Hawaii, and the less glamorous Johnson Atoll and ships at sea. Toward the end of his career, he was a manager in the chemistry department, where he led a research project in underground coal gasification.

One year after Lois died of lymphoma in 2003, he met Inez Thomas. They moved to the Stoneridge Creek retirement community in Pleasanton in 2013.