Local stalwart Eleanor Hill, the Executive Director of the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce, passed away on Dec. 29, 2021, at Robert Packer Hospital surrounded by her family.
Hill was a lifelong resident of the Valley.
She was born in Sayre on Feb. 17, 1956 and graduated from Sayre High School in 1974.
Hill had spent the past 25 years with the GVCC and helped shape the organization into what it is today.
“She took her job seriously, and any activity or event was well organized and prepared ahead of time,”GVCC President Sue Williams said in a statement. “ That is why they were so successful.”
Those close to her say bettering the community was always on Hill’s mind.
“We kind of bonded with Shop Local and making the community the best that you can,” said Horn’s True Value owner Karen Duggan, who graduated high school with Hill. “We were both kind of raised on that. We’ve lived here our entire lives. We have that love for the Valley and the community, and we like people to stay as local as possible.”
One of the ways Hill worked toward that goal of keeping people local was through the GVCC’s work with the Waverly Central School District.
“She worked with our school, our students and our business community and was always a steady hand with the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce,” Waverly Superintendent Dr. Eric Knolles said.
Hill worked with Waverly High School on its work-based learning program, which helped students find work in the community.
“Our big emphasis on the work-based learning projects is to get kids into internships and into local businesses,” Knolles said. “She opened up the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce for us to talk about our plans and connect with area businesses in order to get those kids spots to give them the opportunities for work-based learning, and potentially keep those kids at home as they look for careers.”
Hill also worked to make sure the GVCC member businesses were not only well-represented locally, but in Harrisburg, as well.
“She was always giving me information about her Chamber area, the businesses in it, and the things she thought were important that I should know about,” State Representative Tina Pickett said. “She did an outstanding beyond words job.”
Pickett noted that Hill gave input on everything from grant applications to how state regulations affected local businesses.
“I always completely appreciated Eleanor for her dedication to the area she worked for and covered,” Pickett said. “She was incredibly organized and incredibly enthusiastic that every business in her area was going to be doing well, be promoted well and be as successful as they possibly could be.”
Hill certainly left big shoes to fill.
“As we move forward I hope that we can honor Eleanor’s memory by continuing to live up to her standards and expectations,” Williams said.
Her legacy in the Valley will not only be as a businessperson, but as a compassionate and caring friend.
“She was always kind and passionate. We spent a lot of time sitting and talking about our children and our grandchildren, and the love of the community,” Duggan said. “She was an awesome person and a great friend. She was an awesome mother, grandmother, wife, sister, friend, Christian. You name it, Eleanor did it. She was just a very good person. She would give you the shirt off her back.”