Janet Hill, a dedicated teacher in Cape Elizabeth for 25 years, died Wednesday after a brief illness. She was 90.
Mrs. Hill taught at Cottage Farm School and then Pond Cove Elementary School before retiring in 1984.
She primarily taught fifth grade and had a special interest in social studies and language arts.
Her two sons noted that a highlight of her career was teaching Joan Benoit Samuelson, an Olympic champion and Cape Elizabeth native. Mrs. Hill is mentioned in Samuelson’s biography.
Her son Mike Hill, who attended Pond Cove, said incoming sixth-graders spoke fondly of his mother.
He said she promoted physical activity and encouraged students to follow their dreams.
“She was an inspiration to all who knew her,” said her son said in an email. “She had a lasting impact on many of her students. At my 40th high school reunion last year, a group of her former Cottage Farm students posed for a photo to be given to her. I never had my mom as a teacher, but she was the best teacher I ever had.”
Mrs. Hill was married to Edward “Doc” Hill, a well-known dentist in Cape Elizabeth, who died in 1981.
She was remembered Wednesday as loving, supportive, encouraging and funny.
Her son Steven Hill of Cape Elizabeth reminisced about the years he and his brother played sports and were active in Cub Scouts. He said she was active in their lives and attended their games.
“She was a very supportive mom,” Steven said. “Any endeavor we had she would be there, encouraging us.”
Mrs. Hill had an infectious passion for life and for helping others.
She was active in numerous community groups, such as the Girl Scouts, the Cape Elizabeth Historical Preservation Society and the Cape Elizabeth Garden Club.
She was also a longtime member of the Cape Elizabeth United Methodist Church, where she taught Sunday school.
“All of her activities seemed to center around her love for children,” Steven said.
He also noted her interests in reading, gardening and sewing. She often made quilts as gifts for family and friends.
“She was a lifelong sports fan by default,” Steven said. “She remained loyal to the Red Sox. She watched them pretty religiously.”
Mrs. Hill had a long, healthy life.
About two weeks ago, she underwent surgery to repair a valve in her heart. She never fully recovered from the surgery.
On Wednesday, her sons went through paperwork that detailed Mrs. Hill’s final wishes.
Included was a request to not publish her picture with an obituary.
“We are still kind of in a state of shock right now,” Steven Hill said.
Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: