Date of BirthMarch 02, 1927

Emily Hill Obituary

Date of BirthMarch 02, 1927

612 Views

Date of PassingJanuary 31, 2017

Emily Hill Obituary

from Hartford, Wisconsin, United States

Date of BirthMarch 02, 1927

Emily Hill Obituary

Date of BirthMarch 02, 1927

612 Views

Date of PassingJanuary 31, 2017

Emily Hill Obituary

from Hartford, Wisconsin, United States


Hill, Emily Emily Hill died March 31, 2017, at the age of 90, after a massive stroke, with her family at her side. She was born on March 2, 1927, in Chicago, Illinois to Hungarian immigrant parents, Drs. Emil Jonas and Renee Lovas. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree (1949) and Master of Arts degree (1952) in theater and communications from Northwestern University. In a production of Kaufman and Hart's play, You Can Take It With You, she met her future husband, Roger Hill. They eloped, bought a sailboat, and honeymooned by sailing around the world. It was their first of many bold global adventures together. Emily and her late husband created Gettys Manufacturing (Racine, WI). Emily worked tirelessly beside her husband in this new venture, at a time when women were not running companies. At tradeshows, she distinguished the company from its competition by painting their revolutionary servomotor in bold colors, displayed on white pedestals as if they were objects of art. The risky strategy worked. In less than 10 years, Gettys had manufacturing plants in the United States, Europe, and a licensing partner in Japan. While Roger used his engineering skills to develop new products, Emily and her marketers created equally new ways to market and sell their products at trade shows around the world. Along the way, she developed business and jobs for the company by shifting the paradigm of machine controls. Later, after the sale of Gettys Manufacturing, Roger and Emily purchased controlling interest in Hydro Electronic Devices (HED), Hartford, Wis., a designer and manufacturer of electronic controls for mobile equipment. Emily ran the company as President/CEO for five years. Emily and Roger Hill's success was recognized by the Arthur Young/Venture Magazine "Entrepreneur of the Year Award (1987). They were twice honored with the Ernest Young Wisconsin Entrepreneur of the Year, first for their work at Gettys Manufacturing and then a decade later as Master Entrepreneurs for their continued work with other companies. In time, she focused on women in business. In 1980 she founded and served as the first President of Wisconsin Women Entrepreneurs. She was a frequent lecturer at the Milwaukee School of Engineering and at Cornell University. She represented Wisconsin at the first White House Conference on Small Business (1980). She served on the Wisconsin Governor's Advisory Committee on International Trade (1981-86). At the same time, she served on numerous local, regional, and national boards for the arts, including the Racine Symphony Orchestra, the Florentine Opera (Milwaukee), the Wisconsin Theatre Association, the Metropolitan Opera National Council, and others. She taught classes in Creative Dramatics and directed plays such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer as well as directed and performed in Spoon River Anthology at the First United Methodist Church in Racine, Wisconsin. Emily was preceded in death by her husband, Roger Gettys Hill I, and her brother Rene "Robert" Jonas. She is survived by her daughter Wendy Hill (Robin Guarino), and son, Roger Gettys Hill II (Eva Wassermann)and three grandchildren, Roger Gettys Hill III, Robert Hill-Guarino, and Madelyn Hill. Other survivors include nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews. The Hill family wishes to extend its thanks to Northwestern Memorial Hospital and especially Caregivers Cathy Cvercko, LaToya Maclin, Mona Verona, JoAnn Williams, and Eldercare Planner, Joan Ente. The family extends heartfelt gratitude to all family and friends, particularly Andrew Fay and Barbara Miller, for their love and support during this time of loss. An announcement of a memorial service will be made at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift in Emily Hill's name to the Racine Theatre Guild, Children's Theatre Program, 2519 Northwestern Avenue, Racine, WI 53404, or at www.racinetheatre.org. In his memoir, Emily's Hungarian father told a story of a boatman who lived on one side of the Danube River that flows through the city of Budapest. When the boatman rowed someone across the river, both the boatman and his passenger got to the other side. It is a story that Emily often retold. In her life, she worked very hard to "get across the river," and she was always helping others to get across at the same time.

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