As Taps was played in the background, Forest Hills car service driver Kenneth Hillhouse was laid to rest at Calverton National Cemetery on July 2 in a simple ceremony attended by only one person plus a two-man Army color guard.
Almost anonymous in life, the 60-year-old Hillhouse had been involved in a two-car collision several weeks ago, which subsequently resulted in his death in Elmhurst General Hospital several days later.
He reportedly never regained consciousness during his hospital stay.
The accident occurred at 6 a.m. in the bright dawn of Fathers Day on June 16, the police report said. Driving for Four-Ones Car Service, Hillhouse was going south on 69th Road in Forest Hills when, according to the diagram in the police report from the 112th Precinct, his vehicle was struck on the drivers door.
Hillhouse had just completed his Saturday night shift and was heading back to his base when the accident occurred. The other vehicle was from the ACA Car & Limousine Service and was heading westbound on 108th Street, the police report said. The diagram indicated that most of the damage was in the front of the ACA car.
Patrolman Edward Song, who was on the scene, said this was a T-bone accident.
An eyewitness reported that Hillhouses driver-side door was almost completely pushed in. The driver of the other car was slightly injured and stunned by the impact, police said.
Song in his police report quoted the other driver as saying that Hillhouses car had run a red light and had hit the front of his vehicle.
Hillhouse had no relatives or friends to claim his body, but thanks to the efforts of the Four-Ones manager Kenny Davang, an uncle, Do Hillhouse, was discovered living in England. He was unable to travel to the United States at this time, however, because of another death in his family.
Davang made all the preparations for Hillhouses burial at the veterans cemetery in Calverton in Suffolk County, L.I., and was the only person who had known him to attend the funeral. He ordered the tombstone and had it inscribed, hired a hearse in which he rode and arranged for the two-man U.S. Army honor guard to perform at the graveside ceremony.
Davang had contacted the Papavero Funeral Home in Maspeth to complete all of the necessary burial details. Papavero is the same place where John Gottis extravagant wake had been held in June.
Hillhouse, who was born in Scotland, had just turned 60 on May 30, Memorial Day. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served three years from 1963 to l966, which entitled him to be buried at Calverton. The only alternative for him would have been internment in Potters Field on Wards Island in an unmarked grave if it had not been for the efforts of Kenny Davang.
This was the first fatality from an accident that weve had during the 18 years that Ive been at Four Ones, said Davang. I felt that the least I could do was to provide one of our drivers with a proper funeral, he added.
Hillhouses last known residence was in Bellmore, N.Y., where he lived by himself.
©2002 Community News Group
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