(Cambridge Community Television press release):
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of storyteller Dr. Hugh Hill, known as Brother Blue. Brother Blue, perhaps the original performance artist, has entertained generations of children and adults with his tales, often accompanied by tambourine and foot stomping. He is survived by his wife, Ruth Hill; together they produced hundreds of hours of storytelling in CCTV’s studio, on Cambridge Community Radio, and BeLive.
CCTV will show a retrospective of Brother Blue’s programs in December.
Following is his full obituary:
Brother Blue, aka Hugh Morgan Hill, died peacefully at home on November 3, 2009 at the age of 88. An internationally renowned storyteller, mentor to hundreds, inspiration to thousands and beloved husband of Ruth Edmonds Hill, Brother Blue’s life exemplified his passionate belief that telling and listening to stories changes the world. His stories have changed the worlds of everyone who heard him.
Brother Blue was born in Cleveland, Ohio on July 12, 1921. An exceptional student, he served in the US Military from 1943-1946 in both theaters during World War Two; he was honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant. He obtained an AB from Harvard College, an MFA from Yale School of Drama and his PhD from Union Graduate School.
By the late-1960s Brother Blue, always accompanied by his wife Ruth, was telling stories on the streets, in prisons, in classrooms and more. His stories always allowed the listener to imagine bigger worlds, see themselves in the heart of the tale and believe that they, too, were storytellers. Brother Blue said that he told stories, “from the middle of the middle of me to the middle of the middle of you,” and that if you heard another person’s story you could never harm them, so stories could save the world. He never stopped telling stories. Brother Blue ran a storytelling series in Cambridge for over 20 years, where many storytellers found their own voices. Brother Blue and his wife Ruth always listened with uncritical and loving ears, encouraging everyone. He received multiple international awards for his art and was the official storyteller of both Cambridge and Boston.
Brother Blue is survived by his wife Ruth Edmonds Hill, his sister Beatrice Hill, his niece Lynda Hill, his nephew Thomas Hill and hundreds of storytellers. Visiting hours are on Sunday, November 8, 2009 from 2-4pm and 6-8pm at Keefe Funeral Home, 2175 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge MA. The internment will be on Monday, November 9, 2009 at 1pm at the Pittsfield Cemetery, Pittsfield MA.
In lieu of flowers please send donations to the League for the Advancement of New England Storytelling (www.lanes.org) and the National Association of Black Storytellers (www.nabsinc.org). For obituary, directions or to send a condolence visit www.keefefuneralhome.com