Longtime Barboursville businessman remembered
BARBOURSVILLE - David Hill was a rare kind of dealer in coins and stamps. He was never out to make a quick profit and genuinely wanted to share his passion of collecting with everyone, particularly the younger generation.
In the 44 years he operated David Hill Ltd., a coin and stamp shop on Main Street in Barboursville, he gained a reputation as a fair and honest dealer who wanted to better the community.
“He was not trying to make just one sale. If all he thought about was the one-time person coming in, that would be the only time they would,” said Jean Chappell, Hill’s youngest daughter. “Instead, he was looking for the repeat customers - people he wanted to come in and then come back many times after that.”
Hill died peacefully in his sleep at St. Mary’s Medical Center on Wednesday after complications stemming from a hip fracture. He was 90 years old.
Hill’s philosophy on being honest with his customers earned him respect of collectors from across the country. They often called him for advice or drove for miles to view his stamp collection, which he had been cultivating since he was 8 years old.
He is remembered for his Barboursville shop, which he ran with his wife, Gloria, until her death in 2005, becoming a must-visit location for stamp and coin collectors.
“He always loved talking to people, and he was a wonderful father to three girls,” said Deb Stivers-Dzierzak, a longtime family friend. “He was a wonderful business person and gave a lot to the community.”
Hill began his shop in 1975 after taking an early retirement from working as a chemical engineer at the Novamont Corp. in Kenova. Even though his background was in science, collecting coins and stamps was his true passion, said Michelle Hill, his middle daughter.
Michelle Hill operates West Virginia Quilt next door to her father’s shop. She credits him for teaching her everything she knows about running a successful business.
“My dad was the one that believed in me and fronted me the money to go forward with my business,” she said. “He believed in all his girls and pushed us forward. He built a huge legacy for all us to enjoy.”
David Hill became adept at changing up his business to keep it afloat, especially during times of economic uncertainty, said Gloria Connick, his oldest daughter. He had dealt in silver and gold pieces until the price dropped out in the early 1990s. He then switched to collecting and selling baseball cards, which began to surge in popularity at the time.
“He was pretty much a huge part of the community since he opened his shop, and he had several different things in there,” Connick said. “He had a ball card shop at one point, and the kids growing up in the area remember him for his baseball cards.”
He enjoyed children and always got a kick out of the members of the younger generation who collected coins or stamps. He kept a large bucket of coins behind his counter to give to children, always hoping to get them started in collecting.
Michelle Hall said she intends to keep her father’s business open using the same business philosophy he expounded: being honest and fair.
“At first his passing frightened me because I thought, ‘Could I actually do this without him?’” Michelle Hall said. “Now I feel very sure and confident in what he taught me that I can keep going.”
Henson and Kitchen Mortuary in Huntington is handling the arrangements. People are asked to check the website for the funeral’s time and date, at HensonAndKitchen.com.
Travis Crum is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.