Doug Hill, a meteorologist in the DC area for more than 30 years, died Monday, the WJLA said.
Colleagues present and past remembered Doug Hill on Tuesday, who died Monday after serving as a meteorologist in the DC area for more than 30 years.
Hill spent over 17 years at WJLA and over 15 years at WTOP before retiring to North Carolina with his wife, Mary Ann, in 2017. He previously spent 16 years at WUSA.
His good friend, WJLA meteorologist Steve Rudin, told WTOP that Hill was a fiercely private person, was “living his best life” and died after a short illness.
Just before 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Rudin on the air called Hill “a former colleague, mentor and friend” and described him as “the best of the best – one of the most popular and familiar faces on television. local”.
Rudin added that “Doug lived modestly [and] generously donated, including to causes aimed at ending food insecurity. He adored his family. … May his memory be a blessing.”
Later that day, he told WTOP that “Doug was a big deal, but Doug didn’t act like he was a big deal,” Rudin told WTOP later that day. He said he saw Hill on TV in Detroit when he was 10 and was amazed when he came to DC and worked with him.
Storm Team 4 meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts also watched Hill as a child, and she said on Tuesday: “Doug Hill has been a part of my life from the very beginning, whether he knows it or not – even though I have him. remembered several times when I worked with him for six years.
Ricketts told a story of Hill’s leadership that had nothing to do with the weather: She was working at the WJLA during “my first deployment as a military girlfriend,” and told Hill that “my boyfriend at the he time, now my husband, had just returned from the first deployment we spent together.
“And I was saying to Doug, and Doug was like, ‘You should get off work right now and go to North Carolina and surprise him when he gets home.’ And I still had two days of work left, including that full day. And Doug was in the military – I mean, he did his training in the Air Force. So he knew, and I was so grateful for that. And it almost makes me cry when I think about it, because he didn’t have to do that. But he was just such a good leader and such a good mentor. And I loved him for it.”
“It was the guy”
Leon Harris, an NBC Washington anchor who spent 13 years at the WJLA with Hill, said Tuesday that hearing from Hill was “a punch in the stomach.”
He described the meteorologist as a family and faith man who acted as “a patriarch” to the rest of the WJLA weather team. “He treated everyone who worked with him like they were his child, like they were his family,” Harris said. “He was just that kind of guy.”
Harris added that Hill liked a “healthy debate” about politics, sports or whatever: “He would argue with me about anything.”
He remembered people following Hill from station to station. “It wasn’t the station; that was the guy,” Harris said.
Hill didn’t just give weather on WTOP for 15 years, Harris said — he was instrumental in developing a partnership between the two stations.
“The connection you have with listeners is a really, really intimate connection,” Harris said. “And he loved being part of it. … It was something that was really, really essential to him, he was trying to find a way to connect with people who listen. And he wanted to deliver for them every day.
Retired WJLA presenter Gordon Peterson said Hill was “serious about his job, but had a delightful sense of humour”.
“I used to tease him about the weather terms he used – I was like, ‘Oh no, not a winter mix!’ It was saying, “We have a backdoor coming.” I would say, ‘To what?’ And he did very well. »
“I have been very lucky”
Longtime NBC Washington meteorologist Bob Ryan was a competitor and colleague of Hill’s for 40 years, and on Tuesday he said, “Doug was passionate about preparing people for even average weather, but most of all when any weather was dangerous, he was on top. of his game.”
Ryan said Hill was a family man and a man of faith, and called him “someone we should all think about and pray to and try to emulate better”.
Hill was an Air Force veteran and police officer from Prince George’s County, Maryland, before becoming a broadcaster. He began his television career in Richmond in 1978, with a stint in Detroit in the 1980s before returning to DC in 1984, WJLA said on his retirement.
He retired in order to spend more time with his family and his church, WJLA said at the time.
Hill told the station upon his retirement: “I was very lucky to build a career from a childhood hobby. I love what I’ve been able to do here at ABC7 and I love the people I’ve worked with over the years.
He added, “I was given a great platform to use my talents in meteorology; now I will dedicate these gifts to the Christian ministry and focus on my family. I look forward to the next chapter of my life and I am privileged to have the full support of ABC7.
Hill is survived by his wife and four children.
Megan Cloherty of WTOP contributed to this report.