By: Dave Astor
Bob Hill — a longtime columnist for The Courier-Journal in Louisville — will retire from the Kentucky newspaper on Aug. 2.
Hill, 65, has written approximately 4,000 columns during his 40-year journalism career — which has included 33 years at The Courier-Journal and the old Louisville Times.
In a piece announcing his impending retirement, Hill wrote: “The real danger is in staying too long. If you’re lucky — and too many people are not these days — you get to pick your own time and place. And being allowed to write roughly 4,000 columns has made it a very rewarding and satisfying journalism career….”
The award-winning Hill has other interests in addition to journalism. Over the past eight years, he and his wife Janet have created the Hidden Hill Nursery & Sculpture Garden on eight acres surrounding their 160-year-old farmhouse in southern Indiana.
“Many of my best and happiest hours now are spent at home showing off our work and playing in the dirt,” he commented.
Hill added that Janet, to whom he has been married for 46 years, was recently diagnosed with cancer that was discovered early. “Her prognosis is very good, but the cancer also gave new and sudden meaning to enjoying the rest of our lives,” he said.
The thrice-weekly metro columnist, whose work was periodically picked up by Gannett News Service over the years, plans to travel and try fiction-writing. He previously authored a book about a Kentucky murder titled “Double Jeopardy” (William Morrow, 1995) as well as books about gardening and basketball. The 6’5″-inch Hill was a member of the Rice University basketball team from 1960 to 1964.
In a Feb. 3, 1996, profile, Hill told E&P that his columns “are a mix of satire, commentary, opinion, hell-raising, and sheer nonsense” — and that he does a lot of reporting for them because “you’ve got to get out of the building or you end up pontificating too much.”
The former National Society of Newspaper Columnists treasurer added: “I enjoy the freedom of column-writing. You have to fill the space, but if you do it right, they leave you alone.”