Tribute: Fred Hill (1)

From 1980 when he assumed responsibility for editing news in the Words in Season magazine, our dear brother Fredrick E. Hill placed his distinctive stamp on the history of assembly testimony in our generation. With attention to detail, a concern for the work of God, a broad acquaintance maintained by telephone, and a loveable persistence, he recorded his chronicle of God’s workings.

Fred Hill well bears the unique appellation given to Daniel, “a man greatly beloved.” Born in Iowa on March 28, 1921, he had an interesting connection with the notable work the Lord has done in that area. The home in which he was born was the same home in which John Blair first preached the gospel at the beginning of assembly work in Iowa. Fred was saved at 18 after a testimony meeting in the Waterloo assembly. The words, “Don’t go to sleep tonight unless you sleep in Christ Jesus” so impressed him that he became deeply disturbed that night. As he thought of the well-known lines, “Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me…”, he realized “I’ll have to come just as I am, for God knows all about me.” He was baptized and received in the Waterloo assembly in 1940.

After his marriage to Theresa Procopio in 1946, he became increasingly involved in the East Boston assembly. Together, he and his wife devoted themselves to caring for others, showing hospitality, and confirming believers in paths of scriptural obedience. One of the defining moments of his life came in 1963 when his employer closed its Boston office and offered him a transfer. He decided to stay near to his family and the assembly, despite the material sacrifice involved. God had called him to shepherd the flock there and he felt that superseded any other calling.

To the many believers he met and to preachers whom he saw, he made a point of keeping East Boston foremost in their mind. In 1988, the assembly moved to its present location in Saugus. Advancing years and the cares of his work as a shepherd brought declining health. Always upbeat and remarkably resilient, he could no longer retain his spirit. He fell asleep on March 30.

The lovely Walnut Street Gospel Hall, meeting place for the assembly to which his enthusiasm, exercise, and encouragement had contributed so greatly, was a fitting place for his large funeral service. Friends who had traveled many miles and from many directions paid tribute to a beloved brother who had elevated his life by naturally caring for the state of others and focusing on “the things which are Jesus Christ’s” (Phil 2:20-21).

Till He come! O let the words
Linger on the trembling chords;
Let the little while between
In their golden light be seen;
Let us think how heaven and home
Lie beyond that “Till He come!”

When the weary ones we love
Enter on their rest above,
When their words of love and cheer
Fall no longer on the ear,
Hush! be every murmur dumb,
It is only “Till He come!”