Obituaries: William (Bill) Aro Hill

  • Wednesday June 12, 2024
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William (Bill) Aro Hill
William (Bill) Aro Hill

September 11, 1943 — April 28, 2024

William "Bill" Aro Hill, of Fairfax, California, passed away on April 28, 2024, following a stroke he suffered on March 25. He was 80.

A gay man, Bill worked with early gay rights pioneers, including the late Harry Hay, according to an online obituary.

Born September 11, 1943 in Trumansberg, New York, Bill came from parents he said were "absolutely wonderful" and gave him the "freedom to be yourself," the obituary noted.

Bill earned his bachelor's degree at Cornell University. Bill then got a fellowship to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California. He attended there in the late 1960s and early 1970s, earning his master's in biology.

The obituary stated that during his time at Caltech, while residing in a communal household called Columbia House, Bill developed a lot of inspiration for community living through the group's various food coops, craft guilds, and other organizations they started.

When his Pasadena communal group wanted to expand outward and form in other places, Bill migrated north and planted himself in Fairfax, California. A house he bought there in 1972 developed into a very special legacy of his — a communal home known as the Butterfly House.

Another important legacy Bill leaves behind is his amassing of a great collection of literature, newspapers, weeklies, magazines and various publications put out by and for the gay community, which he gathered in his focus to document gay history, the obituary stated. Bill worked from the early days with activist groups and established a friendship with Hay, who stayed as Bill's guest at the Butterfly House when traveling through. Hay's Radical Faerie gatherings were a watershed event for Bill, and Bill collected its publications in his efforts to document gay history.

In 2004, Bill met his partner Ticor (Robert Fuller) at the home of a mutual friend, and the inseparable couple went on to share almost 18 happy years together, the obituary stated.

An in-person memorial service will be held at the Fairfax Community Church, 2398 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Saturday, June 15, from 4 to 7 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the California Lichen Society at

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