Hill Pat

Pat Hill

Interview with Pat Hill

By Mary Williams

Mary: For those who don’t know you well, tell us about your family of origin, where you grew up and how you got started in music. What were your musicalinterests as a child and in college?

Pat: I grew up in North Dakota, the youngest of six children, and started taking piano lessons when I was six years old. In high school, I did a lot of accompanying for church and school functions, as well as playing the tuba in the high school band.

Mary: Where did you go to school and what was the best part of it?

Pat: In 1947 I moved to Fort Worth to attend TCU and major in music. In l948 I affiliated with Epsilon Epsilon Chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon. The best part of attending TCU was meeting my husband! He, too, was a musician, playing saxophone and clarinet in dance bands.  

Mary: Tell us about your early career and your late husband and children. Where are the children now? 

Pat: I taught piano off and on throughout the ensuing years. This year is a special 60th anniversary for me: in 195l I graduated from TCU with a degree in Piano Pedagogy (magna cum laude), I married James R. Hill, who was attending UT Southwestern Medical School, and I moved to Dallas, becoming the Administrative Assistant for the Department of Internal Medicine at SWMS. I worked there seven years and had two children during that time. In 1957 I retired from that job and started teaching piano again. My husband died in 1985 at age 57. In 1977 I opened a health food-vitamin store which I owned for 20 years. In 1988 I opened a Bed & Breakfast in my home and entertained many interesting guests until 2006. 

I have two children, Richard in Seattle, and Debbie here in Dallas where she has been a pre-school music teacher for many years. I also have five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Mary: Do you have a “philosophy of life” that you feel describes you? 

Pat: My philosophy of life has always been based on the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Secondly, I have found that “moderation in all things” has allowed me to do a lot of things in my life, but, consequently, I excelled at none!

Mary: You are active in the musical community as well as other parts of the community. What other interests do you have including and besides music? How do you spend your time? 

Pat: My interest in music has never ceased. I am a Life Member of the National Federation of Music Clubs, Past President of both the Fifth District TFMC, and the Melodie Club. In my time away from the musical community, I enjoy doing many things: attending concerts and plays, playing golf, croquet, ping pong, and bridge. I have been an Elder in Northridge Presbyterian Church for many years and serve in various capacities there. Other volunteer activities include the Dallas Arboretum, Meals on Wheels, and serving meals to the homeless at The Bridge. 

Mary: We are appreciative of you taking on the job of President of our Mu Phi Dallas Alumni chapter. What have you contributed to and taken away from the
President’s job? What would you like to see for our chapter?

Pat: I hope I have contributed something to our Mu Phi Chapter in some small way. The fact that we have received numerous awards during my tenure is encouraging. My hope is that the Chapter will continue to grow and to thrive under new leadership.

Mary: What other things would you like to do in life? 

Pat: My life is full and I feel very blessed for all my friends and family. Who could ask for anything more?

Note: In our September 2005 Newsletter, an article on Pat’s volunteerism appeared, when we quoted a story in the Lake Highlands Advocate, which is reprinted here:


Pat Hill has been volunteering at the Arboretum since the beginning. For the past 23 years, she has served as a DeGolyer House docent. “I get a pleasure out of doing this because I get a chance to show other people what we have in Dallas,” she says, likening the DeGolyer House to a jewel box – a 21,000 square foot jewel box, for that matter. 

In addition to giving guided tours to visitors, Hill helps out with any repairs the home may need, such as with furniture or lamps or even touch up painting. “We try to make it look as nice as we can trying to keep it in the style of what it looked like when [the DeGolyers] lived here,” she says. 

Hill is quick to launch into the history of the home, which was originally built on a 44 acre dairy farm. The DeGolyer family (instrumental in establishing the Arboretum) hired an architect from California, and it took one year to build the house between 1939 and 1940. 

Hill also volunteers as a reading tutor at Robert E. Lee Elementary, delivers Meals on Wheels, and is an elder at Northridge Presbyterian Church. But, she says, the Arboretum is a unique find. “It’s one of the nicest places in Dallas to visit and particularly to bring your out-of-town company. The Tulip Festival is bar none. It’s a beautiful place, and I’m very pleased with the progress they’ve made over the years.” (Story by Lauren Lewis)

Mary: Thank you Pat! May you continue to have an interesting life.