A beloved father, grandfather and coach in Atlanta’s North Fulton County is being mourned after dying from COVID-19 coronavirus. Ron Hill, 63, died Tuesday, March 24, at Wellstar North Fulton Hospital, reported the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC).
According to his eldest daughter Kyndria Hill, 41, Hill was diagnosed with the coronavirus Friday, March 20, after being sick for a few days. Her father had asthma and went to the hospital after having trouble breathing upon returning from a fraternity conference. His unexpected death was devastating to those who knew him.
Endearing to students and staff alike, Hill worked at The Mount Vernon School in Sandy Springs, Georgia where he was a mentor and coach in football, basketball and track.
University of Georgia freshman Jake Bloodworth was one of Hill’s football players. The 19-year-old said the compassionate coach was like family to he and his twin sisters, whom Hill also coached in basketball.
“He always made sure everybody was doing alright,” Bloodworth told the AJC. “Everybody at that school knew him as family.”
Co-workers, colleagues, family and friends echoed Bloodworth’s sentiment.
“He was the bright spot for everybody. You think of the school, you think of Coach Hill,” said Nikki Rucker, an English teacher who worked with “Coach” as he was affectionately called. She said Hill was a father figure to her own son, who would often stop in to check on her and treat her to lunch.
Mount Vernon’s Head of School, Dr. Brett Jacobsen released an official statement, according to CBS 46.
“Ron Hill was a long-time, beloved teacher and coach at The Mount Vernon School. His passing is an incredible loss for our community, impacting so many of us. Our thoughts and prayers go out to this grieving family as well as the entire Mount Vernon community mourning this loss. Out of respect for the privacy of Coach Hill and his family, we will not be getting into further detail,” Jacobsen said.
Known for his jovial sense of humor, but firm commitment to excellence, Hill touched everyone he encountered. He also had a way of reaching people in their darkest moments.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 70: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin goes solo to discuss the COVID-19 crisis. He talks about the failed leadership of Trump, Andrew Cuomo, CDC Director Robert Redfield, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, and New York Mayor de Blasio.
Kabir Tompkins – who founded the Sigma Alpha Gamma military fraternity of which Hill was a member and had just been elected president – recalled him talking one of their frat brothers out of suicide.
Tompkins said their brother shared Hill had told him to consider the impact his death would have on those he loved, advising “There’s so much more to life than you.” Hill’s fraternal nickname was “Miracle” Tompkins said, adding “He had that impact because of wisdom.”
In an online memorial guestbook, users remembered Hill with love and appreciation.
“Coach Hill l can’t thank you enough for being such an inspiration to my son Jordan and a role model. Anytime l had any issues with him you always had an ear to listen. You will truly be missed l still can’t believe you are gone Rest In Peace coach.,” wrote Normie Taylor.
“Coach Hill was a light on a hill, literally, so his name was befitting,” another user wrote in a different online memorial, according to CBS46.
For Kyndria, her six siblings, Hill’s 16 grandchildren, his sister Maria Hill-Harrison, and the rest of his family, not getting the opportunity to say a proper goodbye to their patriarch is heart-wrenching.
“Kind of just disbelief that it happened that quick and that fast,” Hill-Harrison told Fox5 Atlanta. “It’s bad enough you having the coronavirus and you’re dying alone because you’re isolated and then not being able to bury him and have a funeral.”
“He wasn’t even aware we were there,” Kyndria said of she and her family who said goodbye through the hospital window while her father was sedated.
She cautioned people to take the health officials advice seriously and stay at home.
“If you don’t need to be out, don’t go out. … There are people alone in the hospital and their family can’t get to them. People need to think about that,” Kyndria said.