Paul Hill, 74, pool aficionado, longtime city trash collector

July 13, 1996|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

At the end of each day, Paul Hill would come home, slip out of his day clothes and into some of the finest garments sold in Baltimore -- complete with two-tone shoes and cowhide carrying case.

An evening at the pool hall awaited him. The carrying case was for his pool cue.

"This is what he did every day. Every day. My father was a pool shark," said his daughter, Marilyn Jean Carroll. "He shot pool real well and hustled with his pool stick."

Mr. Hill, who died Tuesday at 74 of cancer at the Perry Point Veterans Affairs Hospice in Perryville, was a trash collector for the city sanitation department for 30 years.

But his other job -- one in which he sometimes made almost as much money -- was at an East Baltimore pool hall near his home.

"He did it to help support his family. He always dressed real well -- tailor-made suits of silk and gabardine," Mrs. Carroll said. "He said he'd be out there, just rack 'em up."

The pool hall was demolished years ago, forcing Mr. Hill to take his billiards game to various halls in the city. He stopped playing when his opponents took the games too seriously.

"Them young boys started to get too bad out there, and he didn't have the fun he used to have. The young guys got a little too rough," said Marvin Carroll, his son-in-law. "But he was good. He taught me, and I used to hustle, too."

A native of Great Mills in St. Mary's County on the Eastern Shore, Mr. Hill came to Baltimore with his mother as a teen-ager and worked at an East Baltimore cleaner. In his 20s, he worked for the railroad laying tracks.

He served in the Army from 1941 to 1943 during World War II, and in the mid-1950s he began work for the city sanitation department, emptying cans from the back of a truck. He retired in 1985.

"He used to always say you had to be a certain kind of person to throw trash cans," Mrs. Carroll said. "It wasn't for everybody. You had to be a good man, a strong man."

And Mr. Hill was strong -- a strapping man capable of easily lifting two trash cans at once. But he also had a keen eye for items that might be recyclable. For instance, he frequently found discarded watches and lamps, which he gave to other people.

"Another person's trash is somebody else's treasure," his daughter said. "Whenever he saw something and thought it was good, he thought of other people."

Said his son-in-law: "Dad took care of his kids. He'd bring home that stuff for other people."

Mr. Hill was also a historian, a walking "Jeopardy" answer man, said Vashella McKenzie, a granddaughter.

"I don't care what subject you wanted to speak about, he knew something -- and he usually wasn't wrong," Ms. McKenzie said.

To ensure that he was right about dates and places in history, he carried a small almanac in his pocket.

"He wanted to make sure that he was right," she said. "He'd say, 'Think I'm lying? Here,' and he'd pull out the almanac."

Funeral services will be held at noon Monday at the William C. March Funeral Home, 1101 E. North Ave.

Also surviving are two sons, James Parren Hill and David Mark Hill; two sisters, Aganette Brown and Margaret Hill; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. All are all of Baltimore. Mr. Hill was divorced.

Pub Date: 7/13/96

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