Cover photo for Dorothy Slamin Hill's Obituary
Dorothy Slamin Hill Profile Photo
1915 Dorothy 2004

Dorothy Slamin Hill

September 2, 1915 — September 16, 2004

Waltham – Mrs. Dorothy Slamin Hill of Waltham died Thursday, September 16, 2004 at Lexington Health Care Center. She was 89. Mrs. Hill was the wife of the late Joseph F. Hill. Born in Waltham, a daughter of the late James J. and Mary E. (McSorley) Slamin, she was a lifelong resident. Until her retirement, she owned and operated Reservoir Nursing Home in Waltham with her late husband and the late Agnes Cohn Quinn and Dr. Samuel Cohn. Before that she worked for 31 years in the treasury department at New England Telephone Company. A champion baton twirler, she is best known for having co-founded, with her husband, the American Legion Post No. 156 Band in 1946 and served as its director for fifty years. She taught baton twirling at the Watertown, Maynard and Waltham public schools. In junior high school she led the city’s Junior High School Band to victory in the State and New England Band and Drum Major Championships. Five years later she led the only Eastern United States entry against the best from the West, and won the top award during the 1933 World Championship event in Chicago. After that she served as director of the Alexander Graham Bell Post Legion Band for several years. During World War II she joined the U.S.Coast Guard, serving until 1946. While in the service she organized the Temporary Coast Guard Band. As director of the Legion Band in Waltham, Mrs. Hill and the band traveled to all 50 states, the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C. and to hundreds of local events throughout New England. She also organized foreign trips that included parades in England and Germany, the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin in 1984 and the Moscow May Day Parade in Russia in 1990. She also served as the Commander of Post No. 156, named for her late husband, for five terms and was the permanent Massachusetts representative to the American Legion National Convention. "Every time I conduct the band on the Fourth of July, I think of Dot -- she was a legend, a marvelous person, a fantastic lady," said Larry Gilbo, the current conductor of the Post 156 band that Slamin Hill founded in 1948. "'God Bless America' was her song, and I know when the band sings it, they think of her. God Bless Dot." Wherever Slamin Hill went, Waltham was always her true home. Former News Tribune reporter Kristin Peterson remains struck by Slamin Hill's love for her community 20 years after completing work on the book "Waltham Rediscovered," a celebration of the Watch City's ethnic heritage. "The team that created 'Waltham Rediscovered' -- Sonny Gordon, Dot, Lou Nocera, and (former Tribune editor) Frank Murphy -- were so passionate about telling the stories of neighborhoods, Irish, Italians, Swedes, and Dot's enthusiasm was unparalleled," Peterson said. "Dot is legendary in and outside of Waltham. If you say 'Dot,' people will know who you are talking about," Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy said. "She loved to honor the veterans, especially as the leader of Waltham's American Legion Band." Jake Comer of Quincy, former National Commander of the American Legion remembered her this way, ‘Dot Hill and her outstanding Waltham American Legion Band was respected and revered throughout the nation with fellow Legion members. Marching with her and the National American Legion Colors in the May Day Parade through Red Square in Moscow in 1990 was a thrill none of us will ever forget. She really loved her God, her country and her community.’ In addition to her many accomplishments with the American Legion, Dot compiled a very distinguished record of community service. She served on the Waltham School Committee and on the board of directors of the Waltham YMCA, Waltham High School Scholarship Committee, the Waltham Parks and Recreation Department, Waltham Community Access Television and Waltham Hospital. In 1987 she became the first female member of the Waltham Kiwanis Club. She leaves her brother, James J. Slamin, Jr. and his wife Claudine of Waltham, one niece, Patricia M. Slamin of North Reading, her step-children, Edward Hill and his wife Kay of Lady Lake, FL, Leo Hill and his wife Kay of Centerville and several step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was also the step-mother of the late Paul Hill and his wife Sally of The Villages, FL. Relatives and friends are invited to attend the Funeral at 10 a.m. Monday from The Joyce Funeral Home, 245 Main Street (Rte. 20), Waltham followed by a Funeral Mass in Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted Church, 880 Trapelo Road, Waltham at 11 a.m. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery, Waltham. Visiting hours are Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. Memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimers Association, 36 Cameron Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140.
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Sunday, September 19, 2004

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