Patricia Jean Hill, a 50-plus year resident of Davis died on May 5, 2020 after living a life infused with love, anchored by family, and contributing much joy to homes throughout the country with her art.
Pat was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania on March 3, 1935 to Karl and Sue Yeager, and was the oldest of three children, joined later by Carol and Michael. Living outside of Pittsburg in rural Butler County, Pat attended schools in Saxonburg Borough, graduating from high school in 1953. Pat was interested and participated in school musicals and art. After graduation, Pat decided to attend nursing school, and she completed her nursing program and became an R.N. through the Allegheny County Hospital program.
Pat’s spirit brought her West, where she started work at Washington Township Hospital in Fremont as a delivery room nurse. A co-worker, Cora Hill, was certain that Pat needed to meet her son, Eugene Hill, a law student and Korean War veteran. That matchmaking resulted in a 1959 wedding and marriage lasting over 60 years and producing five children: Susan (1960-2010); Scott; Ken, Kevin, and Derek. Pat and Gene and growing family moved to Sacramento, where Gene began a long career with the Attorney General’s Office, and Pat became a full-time mom. The family moved to Davis in 1968.
As her kids grew, Pat’s long-standing interest in the arts was rekindled, and, as she often reminded her kids, art was an essential escape from the frenetic daily energy required to support a large family. She became active in the Davis Comic Opera Company and appeared in many productions. She also began taking art classes, first at the Davis Art Center, where she discovered her love of working with clay. She continued learning about clay with Bill and Erika Jackson. Pat’s work was functional and creative. She used stoneware with incision, inlay, and glaze to create what were often abstracted landscapes captured in plates and platters, mugs, and bowls. Home studio time was filled with public radio and music and the family awaited each kiln firing, eager to see the results of Pat’s magic. Her creations are daily and eternal reminders of their maker.
Many residents of Davis will recall the Davis Arts Center holiday shows in which Pat participated before joining with colleagues Bernice Weiss and Anne Testa to open the Davis Clayworks on L street in 1988. The Clayworks carried their work along with that of many colleagues they met as members of the Association of California Clay and Glass Artists. After retiring the Clayworks, Pat joined the Artery and remained a member there for nearly 20 years, while enjoying regional travel and her five grandchildren.
Pat’s family and friends were so fortunate to learn from and bear witness to a life lived with gentle force, determination, and good will.
Family will gather for interment at Davis Cemetery where Pat will be buried alongside her daughter Susan.