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Pat Hills retires after more than four decades on campus

In her 42 years at Stetson University, custodian Pat Hills has “impacted so many lives” at the university, fellow workers said at her retirement party Jan. 11.

“I have much respect for that,” said her boss, Jason Myree, manager of Stetson’s Environmental Services Department, about her many years of hard work and dedication to the university. “Being in one place that amount of time is a blessing.”

“At some point, she has impacted so many lives here,” he added.

Co-workers, friends and family attended the retirement party in Allen Hall, sharing kind words, gifts and Sonny’s BBQ with the woman who started at Stetson on Jan. 12, 1977.

Hills has cleaned residence halls and administration buildings, like DeLand Hall, for decades.

Her last day was Monday, Jan. 14. She said she intended “to do nothing” for the first week of retirement and then spend more time with her mother, Louise Franklin of DeLand, her daughter, Tiffani McGriff of Jacksonville, her grandchildren and her 7-month-old great-granddaughter.

“Stetson has been very good to me,” Hills said, adding her daughter attended Stetson for two years. “It’s a good place to work. My baby came to school here, and we have good benefits.”

She said co-workers often called her “the last of the old ones.”

Her best friend, Stetson custodian Gloria Heflin, retired last summer after 40 years, and custodian Martha Edwards retired last summer after 44 years.

A widow for 25 years, Hills applied to Stetson at the suggestion of her former husband, Louis Hills, also a custodian at the university.

Her stepfather, Lonnie Franklin, worked at the university, and so does her uncle, Jimmy Franklin, a member of the Stetson grounds crew for more than 55 years.

“There has been a lot of changes,” Hills said about the DeLand campus. “The transformation of all the different buildings, the new welcome center, updating the dorms and the beautification of the campus. It’s really changed through the years.”

— For more news and happenings at Stetson University, visit www.Stetson.edu/Today.

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