John Hill, 92, Watertown

WATERTOWN, NY —  John Hill, Watertown, NY, passed away Oct. 30, 2022, at Jefferson County Hospice Residence, peacefully surrounded by his loved ones, at the age of 92.

He was born Nov. 17, 1929, in Bradford, Yorkshire, England, the son of Thomas Hill and Laura Goldsmith Hill.

John came of age, in very modest means during World War II, he loved soccer and idolized his father Thomas (Tommy) Hill, who was a full back for Bradford City Soccer Club, and during his time with the team played in Premiership League. After graduating school, John served in the Royal Air Force and then apprenticed as a stained-glass artisan.

He married Violet Nellie (Jean) Cameron on March 23, 1957, shortly thereafter emigrated to Toronto, Canada, until he was sponsored by Kex Studios to emigrate to the United States and moved with his wife to Syracuse, NY, where they had four children.

In the early 1960s he went to work for Syracuse Glass Co, John moving with his family to Watertown NY in 1972, as General Manager of Northern Glass Company which he later purchased from his employer. He never worked for anyone other than himself for the rest of his life.  In testimony to his effort and tireless sacrifice, the business operates to this day owned by his daughter Linda and his son Ian. If there ever was an embodiment of the American Dream, he was it. John represented the very best of what courage, hard work, sacrifice, great enthusiasm and devotion can create in America. John and his wife Jean proudly became United States Citizens in 2002.

To know John, was to know his family. John proudly introduced his children, grandchildren and great children to anyone around him. Being surrounded by his family was his greatest joy. Entering his home, John would systematically mute his TV (unless the Giants were playing) to hear about your day, telling what seemed to be a mundane day, hearing about it was the highlight of his. He was always cheering on his grandkids from the sidelines, in the audience at a school play or graduation, giving advice and being the listener we all needed.

Telling stories was one of John’s many attributes. Stories about growing up in England, of the war, the birth of his children, immigrating to the US and so much more. The look in his eye, half laugh he would give and smile that was held on his face, captivated any audience that was lucky enough to be hearing it. If you were one of his grandchildren you’ve had the joy of hearing John’s stories countless times, and never lost interest at Thursday night dinners, which you didn’t miss for anything.

John was a doer of deeds, emigrating to two foreign countries with nothing except himself, wife, children and very little else and left behind so very much. When it came to betting on himself or something else, he always, fearlessly bet on himself. While he might not have won them all, in the end he won more than his share. His family will be forever grateful and indebted to him for having done so. 

He was a father, grandfather, a brother, a son, a friend, an immigrant, veteran, avid golfer, lover of jokes and a deeply, deeply devoted husband. He was loved immensely by his family and will be greatly missed. John came, he saw, and if he didn’t entirely conquer, he came closer than anyone we expect to meet in our lifetime. The world will be a lesser place without him as a part of it.

John was a communicant of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church, a past president of The Northern New York Builders Exchange as well as past president of the Sacred Heart Foundation.

Beside his parents, John was predeceased by his wife of 60 years Violet “Jean” Hill, his beloved sister, Alyce, a brother-in-law, Lawrence Caine and a brother, Stephen Hill.

Among his survivors are two daughters Linda Petrie, Laura (Robert) Hughes and two sons Ian (Deborah) Hill and Sean Hill. Seven grandchildren Peter Hatch, Erin Hatch, Christine (Jonathan) Augliano, Patricia Hughes, John Hughes, Christopher (Sarah) Hill, and Stephanie (Benjamin) Farmer and great grandchildren Caleb Price, Jack and Violet Augliano, Callum and Grace Hill, Mason and Harper Farmer. Nephew Michael (Gillian) Caine, nieces Katie (Phil) Pemberton and Caroline Hill.

Calling hours will be 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, at Cummings Funeral Service, Inc., Watertown. A funeral Mass will be said 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 4, at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. Burial will be immediately following at Calvary Cemetery.

Donations may be made to the Northern New York Builders Exchange Scholarship Fund, 22074 Fabco Road, The Sacred Heart Foundation, 320 W Lynde Street, or Hospice of Jefferson County, 1398 Gotham St. all in Watertown NY 13601.

Online condolences to his family may be posted at

The family would like to express their extreme gratitude and thank the staff of Ives Hill Retirement Community, his many caregivers and Hospice of Jefferson County for the compassionate care he received the last years of his life.