Bartow, Florida


Hill, Alvin Gene

Last Updated: 2003

From Doug Spence September 21, 2003

Gene grew-up in Bartow and lived there until his high school graduation. My first recollections of him are in Junior High where he began to emerge as the most athletic and physically strongest member of our class. In the 7th & 8th grade years, he fancied himself as a bit of a “tough guy”; but he met an interesting girl, who seemed to help him get his goals set for achievement. In the 9th grade, we can all remember that Gene & Ginger were the most notable couple.

Gene’s mark at BHS was made primarily as the spirit for the Bartow Yellow Jackets’ football team. He was. I believe, the only member of our class on the undefeated Varsity Team of the 1960 season; and of course led the team with his spirit in our undefeated senior season of 1962, for which he received All-Conference & All-State recognition, as well as a football scholarship to Tampa University for the 1963 season. An injury in his freshman season ended his plans to stay at Tampa; and he ultimately joined the U.S. Army, as an Airborne Ranger – what else should be expected of Mr. Gung-ho?

Prior to shipping-out to Viet Nam, Gene married Linda Phillips (BHS Class of 1964) – a dear friend of mine and a friend of most of us in the Class of 1963. Within days of Gene’s untimely death in a firefight in Viet Nam, Linda gave birth to their child, Tammy Jo. Tammy grew-up in Bartow with her mom; graduated from BHS; then graduated from Erskine College.

For my part, I am proud to have been one of Gene’s teammates and a good friend. As well, my personal respect for Linda and Tammy for the manner in which they have led – and continue to lead – their lives without Gene is immense.