Several members of Joe Hill’s family that were able to attend his birthday are from left to right: Brian, Janice, Rhys, Trevor, Dave, Kade, Lindsay, Brynn and Neil. (SONJA DRINKWATER/ Special to the AV News)

Port Alberni’s Joe Hill celebrates 90th birthday with waves through a window

Retired accountant receives best wishes via Zoom, meets newborn great-grandchild

BY SONJA DRINKWATER

Special to the News

Joseph (Joe) Hill didn’t quite have the celebration he should have had for turning 90, due to COVID-19 visiting restrictions at Tsawaayuus Rainbow Gardens, the seniors’ facility where he lives. Instead, most of the Port Alberni man’s family came to his window with balloons and good wishes and sang Happy Birthday.

Those not able to attend in person outside Joe’s window celebrated with him later via Zoom video chat. The staff at Rainbow Gardens went out of their way to make Joe’s day special during these difficult times. A huge treat for him was when he saw a picture of his first great-grandchild Cohen, born two days before his birthday to his granddaughter Courtney and Kai Ohs.

Joseph Hill was born in Alberni to Roy and Ida (nee Howitt) Hill on May 19, 1930. His family home was located on Heaslip Road. He was one of three children, including older sister Ruth and younger brother Don.

Joe graduated from the Alberni high school located in the Army Camp in 1949, the first class to graduate from there.

He married Clara (nee Levander) on Sept. 12, 1953 and they lived in Vancouver while he was attending the University of B.C.. Joe graduated in 1956 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree.

Their eldest of four children, Douglas, was born in Vancouver. The young family moved back to Alberni and Joe and Clara had three more children, David, Brian and Lindsay. They loved living and raising their family in Port Alberni. After 63 awesome years together Clara passed away in 2016.

When the family moved to Alberni, Joe went to work for Church, Pickard, Lane & Newman Chartered Accountants, in an office that was located above The Smoke Stack and Ralph’s Men’s Wear. Later on, they took over the old Credit Union building across from Wynans Furniture and Upholstery. The firm name changed over the years and at the age of 78, Joe retired from Hill Lacoursiere Charted Accountants; continuing to work during the income tax seasons, until 2011.

Joe remembers his many clients and enjoyed his years working in the Alberni Valley.

Joe enjoyed long walks, working in his yard, fishing and golfing with his children, grandkids and his brother Don.

He really loved golfing at Hollies and he would always get there early in order to pick up the tab for his family. He really misses those days as he has been using a wheelchair for a few years now. Through it all, he still maintains his impish grin.

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Joe Hill in happier times with his late wife Clara. (PHOTO COURTESY HILL FAMILY)

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