I am writing this to tell you about the passing of a great human being.
I learned on Thursday that Patrick J Hill has passed.
I want to share with you that someone you probably did not know has recently been lost to this world. I am telling you this because he deserves to be honoured by voices from every hill top and every hollow. The summer sun today may seem brighter than it should be because a light the rivaled the sun itself, that burned bright and brilliant, has gone out.
In the dedication of my Master’s thesis, I wrote these words:
“If, as suggested by Mary Parker Follett, the true test of a teacher-student relationship is whether the student can build on the work of the teacher, I hope that this work is in some way a monument of success for Dr. Patrick J. Hill of The Evergreen State College. Without hesitation, I dedicate the success of this paper as celebration of Patrick as a teacher in the best meaning of Follett’s notion and more.”
But how can such reserved words convey the depth of my love for this man that is no more?
What do I say about a man I barely knew but meant the world to me? I knew him for too brief a time. I met Patrick at The Evergreen State College, in his program, “The Power and Limitations of Dialogue.” Every moment of my life since has been deeply influenced by Patrick J Hill.
The light of him that was reflected in my eyes has grown dim, but I must keep it alive somehow. Every life I touch is touched by him.
I’ve been trying to write my thoughts down, but am having a hard time capturing even a fraction of the full impact Patrick had on my life. I was blessed to drink from the sacred water of Patrick’s well of knowledge and care for the world and to share the experience of his mentorship, and I have been forever changed by that miraculous reciprocity.
Taking a cue from another former student of Patrick’s, I offer this excerpt from a poem Patrick read to his students as an anthem, a cry, a gentle demand to be the best of yourself in this world:
“Il est l’heure de s’enivrer!
Pour n’être pas les esclaves martyrisés du Temps,
enivrez-vous sans cesse!
De vin, de poésie ou de vertu, à votre guise.”
“It is the hour to be drunken!
If you would not be martyred slaves of Time,
be drunken continually!
With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you will.”
– Charles Baudelaire
I ask you to please help all who knew him personally, in whatever way you can, send Patrick every blessing possible for his journey.