Longtime Pierce County resident and businessman, Jack Leonard Hill passed away in Puyallup on March 9. He was 92.
  Jack was born on Halloween 1924 in Newell, South Dakota. His parents had a farm just outside Newell, and Jack grew up doing the things farm boys did in those days – doing his chores, learning how to farm, learning how to operate and fix the equipment, fishing, shooting jackrabbits and the occasional antelope. But times were tough on the northern plains in the ‘30s, and it became increasingly difficult for small farmers in that dry climate to keep their heads above water, so when he was still in high school, Jack and his family moved West, settling in Eatonville, Washington, at the foot of Mt. Rainier.
 Jack attended Eatonville High School, where he met and fell in love with his future wife, Elizabeth (Dode) Puariea. He graduated in 1942 and went right into the Navy.
  Jack ended up being the radio opetor, navigator, and ventral gunner on a Grumman TBF Avenger. He flew off the USS Wasp and participated in the Battle of Okinawa and in the sinking of the Japanese super battleship, Yamamoto. The Wasp saw pretty hot action in WW-II, and later in life Jack began to share his experiences with his family, who were stunned to learn of what a 20 year old had seen and experienced.
  After the war Jack married his sweheart, Dode, on September 14, 1946, a marriage that would last until Dode’s death last September – 70 years. Like a lot of smart GIs, he took advantage of the GI Bill and became the first of his family to attend college. And in 1952, Jack graduated (with more than a little help from his talented wife) from the University of Washington with a degree in forest engineering.
 After graduation, Jack worked for Washington State’s Department of Natural Resources before going into business for himself. He logged, fought forest fires, surveyed and built roads. He owned Select Contractors, Inc. and Frost and Hill Contractors, Inc. – both heavy construction businesses specializing in road construction, and he was a licensed surveyor. His company built the road up to Paradise in Mt. Rainier National Park and other major projects all across Washington.
   In addition to his construction businesses, he and Dode owned and operated Puyallup Marine and Lake Tapps Marina. During this time he became interested in jet boats. He imported pumps and nozzles from HamiltonJet in New Zealand, and built some of the first jet boats in Washington State. He personally tested each one driving them through the most extreme maneuvers he could devise. Cowboying, he called it. He was not going to sell a boat that could be flipped.
 Jack was an avid fisherman and hunter. He hunted dove, ducks, geese, pheasants, deer, elk, moose, caribou, sheep and mountain goats. And he had the trophies to prove it. He knew the best salmon and steelhead spots across Washington and British Columbia. He and Dode did lots of salmon fishing off the Washington coast, often with Dode’s sister and brother in law Gayle and Don Kitchel.  Dode never liked crossing the bar out of Westport, but Jack looked on it as another adventure each time. Jack and Dode especially loved the Cowlitz, and they spent many happy days there camping and fishing for steelhead.
     Jack loved his large extended family, and he was always ready to help when needed. He employed many of them. He helped cover medical expenses. He helped them find housing, and much, much more. But he especially loved his three daughters: Saundra Hill (Bill Pennell) of Pasco, Suzanne Swarthout (David Christy) of Bonney Lake, and Sheryl Hill (Greg Galeotti) of Snohomish. In addition to his children, he leaves his sister Carol Hill Jacobson of Spokane, nine grandchildren, and ten (and counting) great grandchildren. He would often say, “I’m so proud of my family.”
   Jack and Dode built beautiful homes on Lake Tapps, which became the center for family gatherings. Nothing made him happier than having a houseful of nieces and nephews, sisters-and brothers-in-law and friends. Fourth of July celebrations were especially memorable. He always wanted to throw parties with a big bang - literally.
    As his family grew, Jack wanted to make sure that the next generation had experiences that would enrich their lives, such as fishing, hunting, snow mobiling, motor cycling, boating, water and snow skiing, camping and exciting boat testing rides. Many cousins report that he gave them their first-time experiences in these activities.
   In his later years, Jack began to lose his eyesight to macular degeneration and suffer from dementia. It was tough on a man who was used to taking care of himself and everyone else. But he never complained. “I’ve had a wonderful life,” Jack often said. “I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to do. I have no regrets.”
  Jack was preceded in death by his beloved wife Dode, his mother and father, Martina Vivian and George W. Hill, his sisters Faye Hill and Rae Lois Hill Davis, and his nephews Steven Deck and Gary Deck.
  Jack requested a party in place of a service. A tribute to Jack’s life – Jack’s Pasture Party Barbeque – will be held on August 19 starting 4:00 PM at 16411 106th St. Ct. E Sumner, WA - near one of his favorite fishing holes on the Puyallup River. Bring your Jack stories.
   In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Ducks Unlimited. See the Facebook page, “Remembering Dode and Jack” for tributes and updates.