Journalist, Author, Gardener
Class of 1960
Bob Hill was a strapping young man who grew up in Sycamore to a blue collar family with five kids! While attending Sycamore High School he won ten varsity letters in four sports; football, basketball, baseball, and track; was class president his sophomore year and vice- president his senior year and spent his summers working on a dairy farm! He was a busy young man!! After graduating from SHS in 1960, Bob went on to attend Rice University in Houston, TX on a basketball scholarship. He graduated from Rice with a Bachelor of Commerce degree.
Bob came back to Sycamore and married his high school sweetheart, Janet (also a SHS graduate.) In 1967, a job opportunity arose here in Sycamore at our hometown newspaper and without any journalistic training, Bob took the job; life has been an adventure ever since! He’s been an editor of the bi-weekly Sycamore Sun Tribune and the True Republican newspapers; then worked for the Rockford Morning Star and the Register Republic. In 1975 he moved to Louisville, KY to work at the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Louisville Times newspapers. Since moving to Kentucky, Bob has written more than 4,000 columns and hundreds of feature stories for the Louisville newspapers over a 33 year career.
Bob has received numerous awards throughout the years including the Best Writer and Best Columnist in Louisville award multiple times, Best Kentucky Writer Award and received awards from the Kentucky Society of Professional Journalists. He’s been the winner of Best
Columnist from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and was awarded an Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and received a plaque from the Kentucky Press Association.
Branching out even further, Bob authored ten books on various subjects such as: gardening, the history of the Louisville Slugger Bat, a history of basketball and a true crime book – “Double
Jeopardy” – that sold very well nationwide and resulted in stories on National Public Radio, MSNBC, Dateline NBC and an appearance on the Geraldo Show! He’s also written two books on his column collections, “Old Friends,” and “Stone Walls and River Music.”
Bob and Janet are also owners of the eight-acre Hidden Hill Nursery & Sculpture Garden in southern Indiana. Bob has won gardening awards from the Garden Club of America for horticultural achievement and volunteer work in gardening. Evidently writing is not his only talent!
Even in retirement, Bob is not one to stay still for long. He’s now on the board of Botanica, a non-profit organization creating a 23-acre arboretum in downtown Louisville and has been named historian for an organization called The Parklands of Floyds Fork which is building a 20-mile-long, $125 million park along Floyds Fork on the east side of Louisville from scratch!
This blue collar, small town boy has come a long way since his days in Sycamore. He has made, and continues to make, a huge difference to his communities and to their quality of life. Congratulations Bob on your induction into the Sycamore High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame!
Mr. Bob Hill – 2015 Inductee SHS Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame