Raymond E. Hills Sr., 96

Oct 01, 2012

Winterport — Raymond E. Hills Sr., 96, of Winterport, passed away Sept. 28, 2012, in Bangor. He was born in Belfast Oct. 22, 1915, son of Herbert and Mildred (Lamson) Hills.

Raymond graduated from Crosby High School in 1933, where he was active in sports and excelled in history classes. Summers after graduating, he went to work with the CCC training program, which employed young adults to assist towns with various projects. After this, he became a tree surgeon and worked in New Hampshire and Virginia with the Bartlett Tree Surgeon Co.

Raymond was drafted into the service Oct. 10, 1941, and was stationed in California, where he was a link training instructor. After this, he went to Europe near the end of World War II as a member of the 303rd Bomb Group’s 359th Squadron – the original “Hell’s Angels” – flying missions against German targets from a base in England. He flew as a tail gunner on B-17 Flying Fortresses. During his last mission April 25, 1945, after the plane crew had completed the bombing run, they took a direct hit and after losing their engines, they were able to land at an emergency strip in England. He later wrote about “The Last Mission” in his memoirs for his family. After the war, he returned to Maine and joined the Maine Air National Guard at Dow Air Force Base. He served 32 years in the Army Air Force and Air National Guard. During his time in Bangor, he was again a link training instructor and trained many pilots during this service.

Raymond enjoyed his retirement years being with family and his many friends, visiting, playing cards, dancing, dining out and writing his life story, “A Farm Boy.” He enjoyed gardening every year in his early retirement. He was always trying to be the first person in town to have the first crop of peas -- even if it meant using the roto-tiller to remove the snow for early planting! He participated in his community by being a member of the school board, attending and supporting Little League games, his church, his town and local politics.

Raymond is survived by his children, Jean Moulton of New Hampshire, Raymond Jr. and wife Deborah of Orono, Richard Hills of Houlton, Elizabeth Suitter and husband Jerry of North Carolina; his brothers, Glenn of Belfast, Basil of Belmont, Carl and wife Barbara of Searsmont; his sisters, Evelyn Hills of Cape Cod, Marie Clark and Ann Bucklin of Belmont; 10 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren; 26 great-great-grandchildren; two great-great-great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; and a special friend, Sandy.

Besides his parents, he was predeceased by a daughter, Patricia; granddaughters Michelle and Karan Ann; a brother, Herbert Richard Hills; two sisters, Helen Clements and Frances Rumney; and two sisters-in-law, Jennie and Esther Hills.

Calling hours were held Monday, Oct. 1,at Riposta Funeral Home, Belfast, where funeral services were held at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Interment with military honors followed at Grove Cemetery, Belfast.

Online condolences may be offered at www.ripostafh.com.

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