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Sheldon Hill

June 2012

Sheldon was the founder and principal architect of Sheldon Hill Associates.  His firm served the residential, commercial and non-profit sectors.  His pro-bono work included Camp Wonderland Chapel in MO, and sustainable housing in the Marshall Islands and Australia. 


His love for travel began with the Plym Fellowship Award after college graduation in 1952 on a 6-month architectural tour of Europe.  Subsequently his travels took him everywhere from Indonesia  to Venezuela, Kenya to Scotland, China to Jamaica, and much in between.   He lived by and expressed the philosophy, “world-wide and history-long.”  He was a lifetime booster for urban renewal, and worked hard to see the development of his childhood home, Waukegan, IL.   


He was a passionate volunteer, serving as a board member for the Institute of Cultural Affairs and as the founding member of the Architectural Review Board of Lake Forest.  After moving to Mattapoisett, MA, his volunteer activities included mentoring at Hayden McFadden School in New Bedford, participating in the Democratic Town and Sustainability Committees and the Council on Aging of Mattapoisett.  As an active member of the Mattapoisett Congregational Church he served on the Board of Deacons, the Stewardsh9p Committee and the Handicapped Accessibility Task Force.  


His intellectual curiosity was fostered by a need to learn and grow individually and spiritually.  He was in the Navy when he matriculated pre-med at MIT; studied at Northwestern University and graduated with a degree in Architecture  from the Universit8y Of Illinois.   He was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.  He was also an avid fan of Chicago sports, particularly the Cubs. 



I wanted to lift up Sheldon’s inexhsuatible energy when it came to solving design problems.  I got to know him best around the “post ’84 Council” when it was decided to rent out the Kemper Building to other not-for-profits.  He would always find time after his paying work to put his thinking towards making the re-hab a better quality building than before.  Often I did not know the work load he had when I would add a question for him that I hoped he would anwser, and he would meet a dealine again.

          ~~  Ken Otto


Betty Hill asked me to inform everyone about Shel being in failing health and that his condition is declining rapidly. Her report about Shel being “okay with where he is,” serves as a reminder to us all that acknowledging and affirming our real situation is at the heart of faith and well being. It is obvious Shel remains a spirit man and thereby lends courage to us all. Grace and peace,

          ~~  Terry Bergdall


The “remnant” (as he refers to himself) of the North Shore cadre men – and so much more than that.


Shel loved teaching LENS.  Not only did he do the architectural work on the ICA building, he “recruited” contractors and his engineer to donate their services as well.  He also did the architectural work on the Community Center in 5th City. He served many years on the EI/ICA Boards with David, George and others.    Shel also worked with ICA designing sustainable housing in Majuro in the Marshall Islands as well as Oombulgurri, Australia.    He and I were part of the first Global Odyssey – which Mary Warren and I worked with Joe Mathews to design. He was a very active volunteer here in Mattapoisett, too.


By the way, Shel was in London when Queen Elizabeth inherited the throne!  He did see one of the parades and loved to talk about it.

          ~~  Betty Hill


Sheldon and Betty Hill’s daughter sent a message to Ben (our son) that Sheldon died at midnight last night. His extended family was gathered round. He is at peace. He is the last of the North Shore Cadre men to go to another place. Grace and peace,
~~  Priscilla Wilson


In remembrance of Shel as the last of the wonderful group of North Shore Cadre men, I have deepest respect for all who shared in those long Friday nights as we worked on the upcoming course called Living Effectively in the New Society (LENS).  Sheldon Hill, David Wood, Rodney Wilson, George McBurney, Len Dresslar, Don Moffett joined by order colleagues including JWM and Permeators including Gary Tomlinson, myself, and occasionally Ken Hamje and Christina Welty and some others who also came.


Those nights when we worked together either as a whole group or in teams, we told stories from our respective jobs which were both fully serious and fully humorous. Sharing our lives and experiences in an atmosphere of missionality devoted to helping others perhaps struggling as we did was part of the great memories of those nights. Then when we called it a night, there was that celebrative time where we sat and imbibed and joked and simply enjoyed the camaraderie of those who engaged in the world of business.


I will be forever grateful for being allowed to share those, all too brief moments, where so much of the future, in which we envisioned playing a significant role, still lay before us. Thank you guys of the North Shore Cadre for your contribution to the great spirit movement and our understanding of the world around us.
~~  Jim Baumbach