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Industry mourns New England manufacturer’s rep

Longtime manufacturer’s rep William J. “Bill” Hill, 94, formerly of Wolfeboro, N.H., and Naples, Fla., died April 23.

Longtime manufacturer’s rep William J. “Bill” Hill, 94, formerly of Wolfeboro, N.H., and Naples, Fla., died April 23.

Hill grew up in Wakefield, Mass., working at his family's business, Hills Boat House on Lake Quannapowitt. There he became familiar with the boat business, selling, renting and maintaining boats and constructing his own sailboat as a teenager.

After Navy service during World War II, he returned to working at the boathouse and gave sailing lessons, and an obituary said that is how he met his future wife, Betty. They married in 1951 and, with his wife’s help, he became a successful New England manufacturer's rep for marine products.

Hill represented Taylor, Beckson, Bernard, Rubbermaid, Tempo, Teleflex, Foster Grant and many other lines. Taylor and Beckson were some of his first lines; he represented those companies from the time they were founded and continued to represent them for more than 25 years until he retired in 1981.

Hill was a founder and president of New England Marine Trades, one of the founding members of the New England Marine Trades Association. He was president of the National Marine Representatives Association and secretary of the board of the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association, and he was on the Governor's Commission of Boating Advisors for Massachusetts.

After retiring, Hill split his time between being on the water at Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, N.H., and in Naples, Fla.

He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Jean and Richard Beede; a son, William "Jay" Hill, who is still active in the marine industry; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren; sisters Vira Desrosier and Joan DePalma; and many nieces and nephews.

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