Thomas Glenn "Gunny" Hill, age 71, was born on November 28, 1949, in Holdenville, Oklahoma, to Riley Ambrose Hill and Naomi Cecil Hill. He grew up there and later in Moore, Oklahoma, where he played football and played the trombone in the school band. He graduated from Wentworth Military Academy (where he learned how to spit shine shoes) and continued in Wentworth College in Lexington, Missouri.
In 1971, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and completed his basic training at Paris Island, South Carolina. There he met his Cheyenne and Arapaho future brother, Allen Redbird.
Gunny began serving in the infantry, but following an injury was moved to the avionics wing. During this time, he earned a BS degree in electronics management.
Among his most memorable times as an active duty Marine, he was an avionics technician and was NCOIC for the HMX-1, the presidential helicopter. During this time, he served under President Jimmy Carter and President Ronald Reagan and was able to visit Camp David, the presidential retreat.
After his retirement in 1993 in Millington, Tennessee, he joined his wife, Vivla Ray Hill, to Baumholder, Germany, Lajes Field, Terceira, in the Portuguese Azores, then finally Wiesbaden, Germany, until she retired, at which time they moved to Norman, Oklahoma.
Dating back to his time on an unaccompanied tour to Okinawa, Japan, he discovered his love for painting. He continued to pursue this passion, creating mostly landscape paintings. Bob Ross was undoubtedly his hero. In Norman, he was proud to win the blue ribbon one year in the Cleveland County Fair paintings competition.
Gunny's loves included his family, painting, fishing, all OU sports, and Norman North High School sports, where he was a regular spectator, especially for volleyball games.
He was also active in community theatre while in Germany, appearing in several productions and winning a best actor award.
Recently, he was very active in the Merchant Mariners organization Congressional Gold Medal activities, honoring his father, who served as a Merchant Mariner during WWII.
He is survived by his wife, Vivla Ray Hill; his son, Eric Lawton HIll and his wife Andrea of Edmond, OK; his step son, Steven Thomas; his stepchildren, Eyda Punto Stringer of Tampa, FL, Russell Román Punto of Norman, OK, and Katherine Rita Punto-Kolodzej of Colorado Springs, CO, and their nine children.
To plant a tree in memory of Thomas Glenn "Gunny" Hill, USMC GYSGT, Ret., please click here.