I felt compelled to post this to the board. The last Reds game I attended, I had the opportunity to chat quite a bit with a couple of the ushers and one of the vendors. All three were nice guys and great fans who loved their jobs and the team. I don't know what the pay is like, but I'm sure it can't be much for the amount of work that they do...even though they get to work in the greatest office in the world. I really appreciate them taking the time out to clean off my seat, show me where the restrooms are located, ask me questions about who are my favorite players, what I think of the pitcher, etc. I'm sure Mr. Hiance would have been a great guy to see a ballgame with and talk about all he saw in his 40 years working as an usher.
If you are a fan of local professional sports teams, chances are at one time or another you came across Robert Joseph Hiance Sr.
Fore more than 40 years, Hiance worked a second job as part-time usher at Reds and Bengals games, helping fans find their seats and loving every minute of it.
"He was amazed that somebody would actually pay him to go watch a game," said a son, Robert J. Hiance, of Fort Thomas. "He started working for the Reds in 1959 or 1960 at Crosley Field and their entire history at Riverfront Stadium. He even worked two games at the new stadium before he quit, just to say he did it."
Mr. Hiance also worked games for the Bengals from their inception in 1967, when they played at Nippert Stadium on the University of Cincinnati campus, until they moved into Paul Brown stadium in 2000.
He also worked at Cincinnati Royals basketball games before the NBA team left town, Xavier University athletic events and concert performances, including the Beatles and Rolling Stones.
"He probably saw every big event that came to town," his son said, "especially the sports stuff."
Mr. Hiance, 82, of Fort Thomas, died at 12:45 a.m. Saturday at St. Luke Hospital East in Fort Thomas.
He was a retired radiographer with Sawbrook Steel Castings Co., Cincinnati, and an employee of Eckerlin Meats in Findlay Market, Cincinnati. He was a member of John R. Little VFW Post No. 3186, Southgate, Siena Seniors and St. Stephen Court Catholic Order of Foresters. A daughter, Mary Kay Broomall, died in 2001.
While Mr. Hiance admitted to enjoying the events he ushered, his son said his personality fit perfectly with the job.
"He was a fun guy to be around and he could be a real character," his son said. "He was always humorous, and I think his personality always played well with people attending the games."
Mr. Hiance was off to work at Sawbrook by 5 a.m. each day. He finished work around 3 p.m., came home for a shower and was off to the games, often times with son Robert in tow.
"One of the best things about him doing that was a lot of times I got to go," Robert Hiance said. "I would just hang around until all the people who bought tickets found their seats, and I would just go sit down in one of the empty ones."
Despite his humorous nature and love of sports, his son said Mr. Hiance was a dedicated man who put responsibilities to his family before anything else. Mr. Hiance and his wife, Anna Burr Hiance, were married for 58 years, his son said.
"He was part of that 'greatest generation.' He didn't think anybody owed him anything. He just worked hard and raised his family," Robert Hiance said. "He never took his responsibilities for granted. He even made two house payments every month because he hated being in debt."
Other survivors include his wife, Anna Burr Hiance; a son, Scott Hiance of Fort Thomas; a sister, Mary Ann Schneider of Newport; and nine grandchildren.
Mass of Christian burial will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at St. Catherine of Siena Church, Fort Thomas. A reception in the church hall will follow Mass. Burial will be in St. Stephen Cemetery, Fort Thomas.
Memorials are suggested to Wood Hudson Cancer Research, 931 Isabella St., Newport, Ky. 41071.
Muehlenkamp-Erschell Funeral Home, Fort Thomas, is handling arrangements.