For more than three decades, Roger Wendell “Buck” Hill walked DC’s streets delivering mail by day but at night he was “The Wailin’ Mailman,” a saxophonist who accompanied greats such as Miles Davis, Max Roach and Dizzy Gillespie. Hill, a longtime member of NALC Branch 142, was honored at a noontime ceremony – kicked off, of course, with live jazz -- at the Reeves Municipal Center on Tuesday when a 70-foot-tall mural of him wearing his Letter Carrier uniform and playing his sax was unveiled on a building at 14th and U Streets NW. “He was a legend within our ranks and in music,” said Letter Carriers Executive Vice President Brian Renfroe. “And we know what his greatness was, as a man and as a Letter Carrier.” Hill was so popular for his personality, his work and his sax playing that when he tried to retire once, the Postal Service wouldn’t let him do so, one speaker said. Hill played his sax in Europe early in his career, but “wanted to stay in DC to care for his family and because he could always come home,” his daughter-in-law, Ruta Doster-Walker said in a brief interview after she and Hill’s family accepted a proclamation of August 27 as “Buck Hill Day” in DC.
- report/photo by Mark Gruenberg, PAI News