Caravan of construction vehicles pay tribute to Art Hill
MEDINA – Family, friends and the community paid tribute on Saturday to a lifelong resident whose legacy will continue for ages.
Art Hill, 78, died Jan. 26 in Florida, after suffering a fall on Jan. 25.
Hundreds paid their respects and shared memories at the Ridgeway Fire Hall on Saturday, after which 12 trucks from the fleet of Art Hill Excavating formed a parade down Main Street in Medina, enroute to burial in Millville Cemetery.
In the parade were dump trucks, a slinger truck, mini excavator and several tractor trailers, with longtime employee Donny Grabowski driving the fleet’s No. 36, said Art’s daughter Jennifer Hill-Young.
“He was an amazing man,” Jennifer said. “My brother and I were so lucky to have him. He was a firm boss, and a true leader. He wanted to teach us and instilled his knowledge in everyone.”
Art loved sports and he loved to build. He died doing what he loved. He was building a dock for their jet skis at their winter home in Florida and had gone to lumberyard for materials. With his arms full, he tripped and fell, hitting his head on the pavement. He died the next day.
A son of the late Hugh and Frances Hill, Art was born and grew up in Knowlesville. He graduated from Medina High School in 1962 and went to work for Phinney Tool and Die. He became a partner in Ridge Sand and Gravel, then in 1977, decided to go on his own and founded Art Hill Excavating.
Art was known in the area for his love of cars, and raced at Lancaster Speedway. He owned various stock cars locally and throughout the Northeast. His community and his involvement in racing were some of his greatest joys.
As a businessman, he was loved and respected throughout Western New York. He loved to create and help others during his 60-year career, and earned a reputation as one of the best heavy equipment operators in the business. Art was known for being fair, honest and doing the best job possible for every customer.
Shortly after starting his own business, Art asked Allan Kropf to fly him to New Jersey to pick up a dump truck he had bought. That started a lifelong acquaintance.
“There wasn’t a finer man than Art Hill,” Allan said. “To this day, whenever we met, we laughed about that trip. I always knew when I did business with Art, I was getting a fair deal.”
Art was a father figure to many of his employees, and Jennifer added they have brothers and a father/son working for the company, with all of whom Art shared his knowledge of construction.
Jennifer had worked for her dad for three years when he decided to “retire” and turn the business over to her, knowing she would run it with the same dedication and professionalism he did. She has now been president of the company for 12 years, but Art often called or stopped in, and was there when she needed help.
Art’s son Jerry , of whom he was also very proud, lives in Virginia and sells technologies to the federal government.
Later in life, Art married Marcia Hamilton and together they enjoyed cruising abroad, racing, cars, activities on the lake, traveling the country, movies and spending countless hours together.
His passing has left a huge void, but Art’s legacy will continue through Art Hill Excavating and its service to Western New York, Jennifer said.
In addition to his children Jennifer and Jerry, Art is survived by his wife Marcia, four grandchildren, two stepsons and several step-grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements were completed by Bogan and Tuttle Funeral Home.