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Former journalist and ‘father of e-reading’ dies at 63

A former regional daily reporter who went on to become the “father of e-reading” has died at the age of 63.

Bill Hill, left, was a journalist for nearly 18 years, working at the Paisley Daily Express and later The Scotsman, where he became its deputy news editor.

He left in 1986 to join software company the Aldus Corporation, where he co-invented ClearType which revolutionised the readability of text on screen, and later moved to the US to work for Microsoft.

Bill died suddenly earlier this month from a heart attack at his home in Redmond, Washington State.

An obituary  written by former colleague Peter May, who was best man at Bill’s wedding, has since been published in The Scotsman

In it, Peter described Bill’s story as “one of extraordinary achievement against the odds.”

“Born and brought up in a working-class housing scheme in the East End of Glasgow, his father died when he was just 14, and he took on the mantle of man of the house and breadwinner,” he wrote.

“Bill was smart. Really smart. He won a scholarship to Glasgow’s Alan Glen’s school, where he excelled academically. But he was also a rebel, and rejected the conventional academic route through his university years at Heriot-Watt’s, to carve out a niche for himself as a journalist.

“With his long hair and thick, bushy beard, and his restless talent, he pushed at the boundaries of accepted convention.

“Spotted once by a rival newspaper busking in Buchanan Street in Glasgow, he was hauled over the coals by his editor at The Scotsman after a story appeared in the gossip column of the Sunday Mail, suggesting that Scotsman reporters were paid so poorly they had to go busking to make ends meet.”

Bill joined Microsoft in the 1990s to head up its typography group in Seattle, where he addressed audiences of 3,000 people in his kilt and shared a stage with one of the world’s richest men, Bill Gates.

He moved to a new lifestyle in the woods outside Seattle, absorbing the wisdom of the Native Americans and recording an album of songs about it.

Bill and his wife Tanya went on to buy a beach house on the Hawaiian island of Kauai and he started surfing the waves in his late fifties.

He is survived by Tanya and their two children, Yssa and Eldon.

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