Man faces cancer with ‘amazing’ attitudeHospitalization will keep Scott Hille away from Heart and Sole Friday night.
By: Marcus Traxler, The Daily Republic
Scott Hille has proved he can battle the toughest of illnesses. Unfortunately, his fights continue.
Hille has been hospitalized in Sioux Falls since May 31 with an illness, and it has been confirmed that his cancer has returned. He is one of three honorary co-chairs for the Heart and Sole Cancer Walk on Friday at the Mitchell Middle School, but he will not be able to attend the evening’s ceremonies.
He’s been through a lot in recent years, battling all sorts of sicknesses. Hille found out he had lymphoma in both his left and right groin in August 2011. After a trip to Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, he felt better and well enough to come home and continue treatments in Mitchell. After another scare brought him back to the emergency room in September, Hille went through cancer treatment through Feb. 22, when a scan showed no signs of cancer.
Two days later, Hille had an angiogram in Sioux Falls, which showed a small hole in one of his heart valves caused by chemotherapy treatments. He had open heart surgery on March 8 to repair the hole.
He has since returned to the hospital in Sioux Falls and has recently learned the cancer has come back.
The Daily Republic was not able to reach Hille for this story. Tim Smith, the general manager and sports director at KMIT Radio, is one of Hille’s closest friends.
Smith and Hille have worked together for decades, with Hille providing statistics for the radio broadcaster for on-air use during Mitchell Kernel football and basketball games and Dakota Wesleyan University athletic events.
“He has helped me out with keeping stats during games. That’s probably where people know him the best,” said Smith, who estimated Hille has been helping since he graduated from Mitchell High School in 1983.
Hille is an avid sports follower and supporter of Mitchell area athletics.
He has long been involved with the South Dakota Amateur Softball Association as an umpire and umpired a men’s national-recognized tournament in Rochester, Minn., in 2010. He also earned one of the state softball association’s highest honors for an umpire in 2010 when he was given the Indicator Award.
Smith said Hille has always been passionate about athletics.
“He was never blessed with athletic skills, but he’s probably one of the most sports-minded people you will know. Sports has been very important to him during his whole life, and he’s a walking encyclopedia of sports knowledge,” Smith said. “Especially the local sports.”
He’s served as the umpire-in-charge of the slow pitch softball leagues in Mitchell and has umpired state tournaments.
Carla Snedeker worked with him for years on the diamond. She graduated with him in 1983 and said they’ve worked together for about 15 seasons.
“I really admire him for going through all of this, because I’ve never heard him complain once,” she said about Hille and his bout with cancer. “He’s always in good spirit and has a smile on his face.”
Snedeker said Hille remained involved with both men’s and women’s softball leagues this season until he fell ill recently. They helped teams find the correct diamond and aided umpires in disputed rulings.
“I really enjoyed when I could umpire with Scott. I knew that he would be in position, he would make the correct call and he would have my back out there,” Snedeker said. The two traveled when they were umpiring state or regional tournaments together.
Hille has also worked for Palace Cleaners in Mitchell for almost 25 years. Deb Jones, co-owner of the business, said he’s always been a hard-worker.
“Scott’s always showed up to work with a smile and he’s always been a good person to work with,” she said.
Smith said the customers on Hille’s delivery route miss seeing him.
“He’s one of the most soft-spoken, nicest people you’re going to meet,” Smith said.
Cancer is in the family for Hille. His mother, Carol, lost a nearly two-year battle with breast cancer in 1999. Despite his own battle, his spirits have never wavered.
“You see him in the hospital and he always has a joke or something clever to say. He has maintained a very positive attitude during tough times,” Smith said.
First Lutheran Church Pastor David Astrup said Hille is an active member of the church and has attend weekly with his father, Emmanuel, who is better known as “Junior.”
“I’ve found him to be a very upbeat person to talk to and I’ve found that to be the case even during this difficult ordeal of the last year,” Astrup said. “He’s been upbeat in ways that I think are amazing.”