Belfast Telegraph

Home News Obituaries

Obituary: Reverend James Hill, musical minister who always had a smile on his face

By Alf McCreary

The Reverend James Hill, who died earlier this year, was a well-known Church of Ireland minister who served in a number of parishes in Northern Ireland, as well as in Donegal. Following his retirement he lived in Bangor.

A music lover, James Arthur Hill, known to his friends as Jimmy, was ordained in 1972 and served in St Patrick's, Ballymena; Aghavilly in the Diocese of Armagh; Castlederg, and at Inver union in the Diocese of Raphoe.

During his theological training he stayed at the Divinity Hostel, where he quickly made friends with Rev Hayden Foster, who paid him a warm tribute at his funeral in St George's Parish Church in Belfast.

"I knew Jimmy from the first weekend we met in 1969, and I was rather surprised that he had been a musician with showbands, although I cannot think now why such a thing seemed odd," he said.

"Time showed him to be a very gifted musician, particularly with the guitar, but also on piano and organ. Not only did he play, but he also taught music.

"He also made guitars, and performed several 24-hour organ recitals for charity, including one in a shop window in Dublin when he was a student.

"The ordinary everyday Jimmy had a smile on his face when one met him, and a bemusement that the world was not as he expected it to be. To describe Jimmy Hill as naive is to use the word in the dictionary sense of natural and unaffected, with a childlike simplicity that our Lord suggested we emulate," he said.

Rev Hill is survived by his wife Valerie, children Sarah and Christopher, and by his wider family and friends.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph