Calvin Hill, 66: State representative was principled politician and gentleman

Rep. Calvin Hill, R-Canton, was considered a gentleman, respected for his unshakeable principles and sound politics, friends and colleagues said.

“There are a lot people in politics that kind of blow with the wind; he wasn’t one of those guys,” said state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon. “He was rock solid in his convictions.”

Hill, who served the House from 2002 until his death, was committed to such conservative values as limited government and individual freedom, and was well-liked for his good humor and quick wit, said Peake.

A diplomatic politician, Hill kept a level head and worked to find common ground. “He could appreciate differences and articulate his point in such a way that it was hard not to agree with him,” said Rep. Ben Harbin, R-Evans, who worked with Hill on the Appropriations Committee.

Calvin Hill died Wednesday after a fight with leukemia. He was 66. A service will be held early next week at Hill’s church, First United Methodist Church in Canton, though a date has not been set. Darby Funeral Home in Canton is handling the burial arrangements.

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Born Apr. 8, 1947, in California and raised in Arizona, Hill studied business at Arizona State University and and the University of Arizona. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps, training in engineering and demolition. He and wife Cheryl moved to Georgia in 1986.

Before he was elected to the General Assembly, Hill served two terms as mayor of Ball Ground in the 90s. He was also involved with civic organizations, including the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, the Canton Rotary Club, and several other nonprofits in Cherokee County.

“He was a great leader,” said former state representative and family friend Charlice Byrd, of Woodstock. “He was always out there taking care of constituents. He was a part of the community wholeheartedly.”

Hill’s good business sense served him well in the House. He undertook several business ventures in the U.S. and abroad, including a resort hotel in Belize. Don Stevens, of Canton, described Hill as a pragmatic and strategic thinker.

“He had an ability to hone in on the real nut of the problem, and explain it in a simple and direct way” said Stevens, a close friend who worked with Hill as founding directors of Cherokee Bank.

He was committed to scaling back unnecessary government spending, refocusing the state’s spending priorities to keep Georgia strong, Rep. Harbin said. “He was compassionate,” Harbin said, and a hard worker. “He was always coming into the office wanting more to do.”

Hill and his wife Cheryl enjoyed cooking and traveling together. They ran a gourmet kitchen out of their home, friends said, specializing in Italian cuisine and homemade pasta. Hill and Cheryl were seldom apart, working as a team even under the Gold Dome.

He and Cheryl were joined at the hip, (they were) so close and so in love and worked so well together,” said Stevens. Hill and his wife were so in sync he trusted her to attend committee meetings if he was double-booked, he said.

Many of Hill’s colleagues described him as a role model, the best example of a Georgia state legislator. “Hopefully what he has done is left Georgia in a better place,” said Harbin. “We can move forward by following his example.”

Hill is survived by his wife, Cheryl Hill of Canton; his mother, Carol Hill of Canton; five sons, Bob, Adam and Austin Hill of California, Jason Hill and Matt Jobe of Woodstock; a daughter, Amanda Locke of Woodstock; a a sister, Janice Rodriguez of California; and 3 grandchildren.

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