Thanks to his arm, Omahan Clarence “Ace” Hill traveled across the country and earned accolades at home.
Hill was a star pitcher on fast-pitch softball teams in the game's Omaha heyday. He threw for a state championship team at age 16, went on the road with the barnstorming Sioux City Ghosts in 1947 and was named the Omaha player of the year in 1957.
In 1982, he was inducted into the Omaha Softball Hall of Fame.
“I have the plaque,” said niece Vanessa Washington of Denton, Texas.
Hill, 85, died of congestive heart failure on Feb. 12 at the Nebraska Medical Center. He had suffered from diabetes and its complications for several years.
He was born in Omaha and graduated from South High School. He didn't attend college, instead opting to earn $65 a week with the Ghosts. He later got $85 a week for traveling the West Coast. He played until the early 1970s.
When he settled in to playing at home, he also worked in construction and started his own brick masonry company, Washington said. He married the former Beada Tucker in 1954; she died in 2009. They had no children.
Hill was an usher and trustee for Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church, where his funeral was held Wednesday. He also donated his services on brick work for a common space in the Conestoga Place neighborhood near 19th Street and Florence Boulevard, his niece said.
“He was a pretty quiet person, but he was always happy and was always encouraging people,” she said.
In addition to softball, Hill was an all-around outdoorsman. He enjoyed fishing in Minnesota and hunting pheasants in his home state.
Survivors include three other nieces and three nephews.