Colin Hill will be remembered as a hero – someone of strong character who always put his family and friends first, and who paid the ultimate price for doing just that.
The popular real-estate agent was killed July 12 during an attempted break-in at his Cloverdale home, when he was shot while confronting an intruder.
Hill’s wife, Becky Zhou, has said the fatal wound occurred when her husband led the would-be robber outside to give his family time to hide, and those who spoke at his funeral Wednesday at Victory Memorial Funeral Centre say that was just the kind of man he was.
“He would drop everything for his kids,” Barb Hiebert said of her cousin. “To put himself in harm’s way… for him, it was instinct.
“He left our world protecting his own family.”
Longtime friends remembered Hill, 42, as “like a brother.” He was also extremely competitive, a “tremendously gifted athlete and a true leader.”
“Even in death he has taught me about life,” Chris Robinson told a standing-room-only crowd in South Surrey. “His final lesson is to show the people you love that you would do anything for them. And that’s exactly what he did.”
Hill led a “much too short, very fulfilling life,” said Robinson, who knew Hill for 33 years; for the past nine, they lived across the street from each other.
Police have said that Hill’s death was not related to the spate of shootings that have occurred in Surrey since early March, which have been linked to a drug-turf war. The man charged in connection with his death, 22-year-old Khouri Lamar Green, is due back in court on Sept. 14.
Outside the funeral home Wednesday afternoon, Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner – who was invited by Hill’s family and who arrived with Surrey RCMP Chief Supt. Bill Fordy – described Hill’s death as “a real tragedy” that points to a need to “take a look at the whole system.”
But the problem is not just in Surrey, she said.
“We’ve seen senseless acts of violence all over the country.”
Hepner said she plans to advocate for the people of Surrey, but that “this is all about Colin today.”
Hiebert told attendees that a common theme regarding her cousin was evident at a private gathering last Sunday where “a few laughs and a few tears” were shared: he was a good son and brother, and family meant everything to him.
The sentiment was echoed by childhood friend Lowell Jordan, who shared a comment Hill made to him about three weeks ago.
“One of the last words he told me was to spend more time with family,” Jordan said.
Pastor Doug Fortune noted there are many things not known or understood regarding Hill’s death, but reminded Hill’s friends, family and colleagues that they have choices when it comes to how they think about it.
He encouraged them to be inspired by Hill’s life; to “get better, love more, build relationships.”