Guy Parmenter, friend and historical society enthusiast, met Hill in the mid-1990s when they were introduced by mutual friend Joe Head at the Allatoona Pass Battlefield.
"We were working on making a park at the battlefield," Parmenter said. "Ed developed a passion for the project, and we worked there together for five or six years."
Time was devoted to the project every Saturday regardless of weather conditions. "It didn't matter if it was the coldest or wettest day of the year," Parmenter said. "He was always ready to go at any time and loved that kind of work. The only time he didn't go out there was if he was visiting his daughters or was at a Penn State game."
Hill was born June 30, 1929, in Lewistown, Pa., and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in finance from Pennsylvania State University in 1954. If Hill was not actively working on cleaning the trails at Allatoona Pass, he would often drive up to the Chickamauga Battlefield where one of his ancestors fought during the Civil War.
Although he had a pacemaker to assist with his health, Hill never slowed down.
"He was a real taskmaster and kept at me when I started to burn out," Parmenter recalled. "I asked him if he would ever slow down or keep at it at that [fast] pace and he said, 'I'll slow down when this battery stops.'"
Countering his previous statement to his friend, when the pacemaker battery failed, Hill had it replaced and continued his work with the EVHS.
Serving alongside Hill as vice president of the Historical Society, Dianne Tate said that "he was an absolutely devoted historian. Ed worked every week on the Friendship Cemetery. ... He was instrumental in getting Allatoona Pass cleaned up and turned over to the state."
"On a personal note," continued Tate, "Ed was a sweet person and he tried to keep up with everyone. He was tireless in calling and checking his resources."
In October 2010, Hill was honored with the lifetime achievement award presented by the EVHS, where he had served as president for the past six years. Hill spoke on his passion for history when he told The Daily Tribune last year, "I'm a Yankee, but Bartow County has a lot to offer. We have an awful lot of history in this county going back to prehistoric times. I think it's important that we keep stuff like this going or our children will grow up knowing nothing about the tremendous history we have here."
The EVHS will meet at a future date to appoint a new president. "I don't know how you replace someone with Ed's interests and energy," Tate said. "He will be missed by this whole county."
In memory of his strong spirit and dedication to his love for history, Tate stated that the society will honor Hill in some manner in the future, possibly at Allatoona Pass.
In memory of his friend, Parmenter stated that Hill was "a man who loved his family and had a passion for historic preservation."
Trey Gaines, director for the Bartow History Museum, agreed with Parmenter and stated that "even though Ed wasn't from here he had a passion for keeping local history preserved."
Hill is survived by his wife of 54 years, Lois Cowden Hill; three daughters and sons-in-law, Gwen and Rene Briones, Lisa and Mark O'Shea, Diane and Robby Murray; and four grandchildren along with other beloved family members. Hill was 81.
A memorial service will be held for Hill today at 1 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested that a contribution be made to the Etowah Valley Historical Society, P.O. Box 1886, Cartersville, GA 30120, or to the First Presbyterian Church, 183 W. Main St., Cartersville.
Owen Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.