More detail on this person: HILL, STEWART GREGORY Stewart passed away unexpectedly at home on January 16, 2004. He was born October 8, 1946 in Santa Monica, Calif. and resided in Fallbrook for the past 28 years. A unique man of many talents, he was the proud and loving father of Megan T. Hill, devoted son of Virginia Hill, and loving companion to Deborah Hill. He was the supportive caregiver to his brother Steven Hill, who passed away in 1999. Stewart was a decorated helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War, after which he continued his flying career in Peru, Alaska and Oregon. To him, "flying was heavenly, but hovering was divine." Later, he was a building and engineering contractor in Fallbrook and also built and captained a boating venture in Mexico. He had a wonderful group of construction friends, as well as close veteran friends. Those who knew him, remember Stewart best for his excellent sense of humor and vivid storytelling spoken in his distinctive booming voice. Stewart will be greatly missed by all of his friends and family. The family expresses gratitude for their support and friendship. Donations can be made to the Disabled American Veterans. Inurnment will be at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery Monday, January 26, 9 a.m. A celebration of Stewart's life will take place Saturday, January 31, 2-4 p.m. the Fallbrook Woman's Club, 238 W. Mission Rd. WO Stewart Gregory "Stew" Hill WO2 Hill was "Stew" to me. We were both from the Los Angeles area, Stew being born there and I by way of the Midwest migration of the early 60's, but we didn't meet until I was 20 and Stew was 22, and the war in Vietnam was at its worst. We were products of L.A. in the 60's. I met Stew at Fort Irwin, after he had come out of a '67-'68 combat tour in Vietnam. I had just lost a Marine at Phu Dong, leaving me stranded in what was supposed to have been a temporary problem. I worked on Fort Irwin, where I lived with my baby daughter. Stew was very different from the rest of the men just back from Vietnam. He wanted to know about me. This had never happened before, and it never happened again. He asked how one lone Marine's woman had become stranded out on an isolated Army base in the middle of absolutely nowhere. "So, what's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?" he asked, with the most beautiful smile. It was a joke about the post being out by Death Valley, and totally unfit for human habitation. There were hundreds of jokes about being stuck out there. Unlike anyone else, Stew actually wanted to know. He cared that I had lost my Marine and become trapped where he found me. And while my baby slept on his chest, he held me close beside him, and he listened, and he cared. And he unloaded all of his - his brother in the Navy, his sister and her kids, his dad seen so often on TV, his mom and the Big Divorce going on, his glamorous TV star ex and her Major League Career, the breakup, Vietnam. To understand Stew, you really did have to be from around there. Stew Hill had a lot to live down. There was nothing but 50 miles of desert, dry lake bed, jackrabbits and coyotes from the gate of Fort Irwin to the outskirts of the nearest town, but Stew took me to the best places he could find. Nice places around Barstow were scarce back then, but for me he found them. We ran all over the place in his little yellow MG Midget. He always took me to the best places there were, and he left me with the most beautiful memories to hold in my heart. He always gave the best he could, the best he had, and the best he was. Stew was hungry for some decent food, and it was so fun when we went somewhere he liked to go. I can still see his face when he got ahold of a prime rib that covered his whole plate, rare, and the happiness as he devoured it. Stew was so hungry when he first came home from Vietnam. He ate and drove his car and did all his favorite things as though it was for the last time. And he was the most beautiful thing I ever saw in all my life, before or since, ever. The most beautiful, magnificent thing I ever saw, in all my life. He should have told me not to bring the baby to his BOQ when I couldn't get a sitter. I was unaware that being in his BOQ could cause a major problem. He never once told me. If I had known, I wouldn't have been there, much less brought the baby. But Stew was not a cautious man, and he lived as though he thought each day was his last. The baby made little noises one night, and some weasel in the next room complained to Colonel Peach that he had heard a baby in the night. The next morning Colonel Peach came down on a decorated combat pilot and a base employee like the end of the world. I hope the low-life who occupied that second floor BOQ to the right of CWO2 Hill at Fort Irwin in the winter of 1968 is proud of himself. Stew did get messages to me and we did meet off base in the months that followed, but the situation was made more and more impossible. If anyone knew how to break people up, it was Colonel Peach. Colonel Peach once told me Stew Hill had a promising future as a career Army officer, and that I would just ruin it for him. As if Stew was hot to re-up and go right back and I was going to stop him. Right. Stew had already had all the Army he could stand, and he sure didn't want to do another tour in Vietnam. All he wanted to do was put it behind him. Stew loved to fly - and he was born to fly a chopper. Stew was reckless and took a lot of chances. It was one of the things I loved best about him. The way he drove, the way he flew, took my breath away. There were a lot of opportunities for a chopper pilot to make a good living that didn't involve the war, or old guys getting in the way of his personal life. On turning 24, Stew Hill was a complicated and troubled man, an instructor for helicopter pilots going into combat, and a really great chopper pilot who didn't fit into the Army, particularly if it meant some old guy could run his life 24/7. He was intelligent and sweet, and open to discuss anything and everything. He really communicated. We could start talking over dinner and wouldn't quit once until they came around to close the place. I have the most beautiful memories of Stew. We were so close, for the time we had. All the time we were together, he spent trying to impress me and make me happy - and he was an overwhelming success. All the time we were together, I was very, very impressed and very, very happy.
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