UC Berkeley News


Loring 'Lamont' Hill

24 August 2006

Loring Lamon Hill, who had worked on campus for Physical Plant-Campus Services (PPCS) since 1994, was shot and killed on July 12 in the Richmond neighborhood where he grew up. He was 39.

Lamont Hill

Hill, who was known as Lamont, was born in Richmond in 1967, the youngest of eight sons and one daughter. He graduated from Richmond's John F. Kennedy High School in 1985. Hill was a "quiet boy who was always listening," recalls his cousin, Jerry Robinson, who also works for PPCS.

Although he grew up to be a soft-spoken man, Hill was "very social and loved people," says Robinson. "He exuded warmth." Hill formed connections with many of the people he met through his work in PPCS. "He was a good man, a concerned person," says Ray Stewart, his supervisor for six years. "It's rare to know a person you can't really find fault in - Lamont's light shone everywhere he went."

For 12 years, Hill worked the swing shift in the Life Sciences Addition. He arrived to clean the building's third-floor offices and laboratories around 6 p.m., as researchers there were finishing for the day. For nearly a decade, Zach Cande, a professor of cell and developmental biology, saw Hill several times a week, and the two men developed a warm relationship. "We came from very different worlds," says Cande, "but found things in common to chat about." Their conversations often centered on a shared love of sports. One year, Cande and his colleagues bought a pair of Oakland Raiders tickets for Hill, a loyal fan of the football team. Many of the researchers who also had relationships with Hill were so disturbed when they learned of his death that they took up a collection for his teenage son. To date, that fund has swelled to more than $7,000.

According to his cousin, Hill loved to gather a crowd for a barbecue. He attracted people to him, says Robinson, who credits his cousin with welcoming him into his social sphere after he did a stint with the Navy and fell out of touch with his friends back home.

Hill cared deeply about community, regularly interacting with elderly neighbors for whom he would run occasional errands. Among his friends he played the part of caretaker/counselor, defusing tensions when they arose.

A man with a wellspring of energy, Hill also ran a car-detailing business in front of his house and did landscaping on the side.

Hill was murdered at approximately 1:30 a.m. while taking his recycling to the curb at his home on South 17th St. in Richmond. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene. Police are continuing to investigate Hill's murder, the 19th homicide in Richmond this year.

Hill is survived by his son, Lamont Leon "Pooh" Hill; his fiancÚ, Valerie Jones; his mother, Carrie Mae Hill; five brothers: Joe Louis Hill of Holt, Mich., Levi Hill Jr. and Leonard Hill of Richmond, Larry D. Hill and Lawrence Hill of Oakland, and his aunt, Aniece Jackson of Hercules. Hill also leaves behind numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, extended-family members, and friends. He was preceded in death by his father, Levi Hill Sr.; his sister, Barbara Ann; and his brothers, Louis and Lloyd "Dollar Bill" Hill.

A memorial service was held on July 19 at Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church in Richmond. Donations to the fund established for his son (personal or cashier's checks only) may be paid to the order of Larry D. Hill ACF Lamont Hill U/CA/UTMA and sent to Smith Barney, 555 California St., 35th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94104.

- Wendy Edelstein