Recently the world lost a very good carpenter and we lost a great friend. I met Dave Hill as he was framing the first complete house package that our company ever supplied back in 1978. Dave was a year younger than I, but was a lot more experienced in construction, having started framing at the tender age of 13. Dave’s son, Dave Jr., is a chip off the old block but got a later start at the ripe old age of 15.
I picked Dave’s brain for a lot of details back then and he was most generous with his knowledge. Right away I liked his patience. He thought things out and was always deliberate,. In over 40 years of knowing Dave, I never heard him yell at anyone or say a bad word about another person.
Dave grew up on the South Shore, was born in Weymouth, and then moved to Easton. His first job was working for Jim Antosca, whom he looked up to forever after. Besides building, Jim owned the flea market where Dave met his wife, Donna. Donna told me that three weeks after they met in 1975 they knew they would marry each other. And they did the following year.
Son, Dave Jr., came along in 1977 and then daughter, Danielle, came in 1980. After commuting from Easton and Brockton for several years, in 1978 Dave brought the family to Sagamore, then Centerville, and by 1985, they built their house in East Sandwich.
Dave partnered with Phil Cunningham building houses and then Mike Race. I could guess that Dave would be a great partner. No one seemed more level headed or fair. I watched the way he always took things in stride. Dave seemed to always have faith in the outcome. Faith can smooth a lot of life out when things get challenging. His faith was tangible and powerful.
Dave also did a lot of work for Bayside Building Company over the last 20 years and was a valued member of their team. In his spare time he loved working on classic cars most of all, but found time for hockey, baseball, softball, and even some gardening. He was a worker. When health issues came up recently and limited his ability to be on the jobsite, I think he still really enjoyed helping his son work through technical and job issues. Dave was a giver and even when challenged himself, didn’t stop reaching out to others.
It was always clear that Dave and Donna had a very special love between them and even when faced with the challenge of the end of his life, Dave was sustained by his faith and by love. Donna said he was never in pain and that he slipped away quietly and mercifully. I am sure he’ll be waiting in heaven…As sad as we are to lose him, we know that he went in peace.
We have been flying our flag at the Shepley Hyannis branch at half mast since Dave passed away on March 9th and will continue to fly it there through the end of this month. Godspeed, my friend! Godspeed, my friend!