Elder George R. Hill III, 79, a former member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and an eminent chemist who was a world authority on coal, died Sunday, April 22, 2001, of cancer.

Elder Hill was a professor of chemical engineering and fuels engineering at the University of Utah before becoming dean of the College of Mines and Mineral Resources from 1966 to 1972. He was a director of the Government Office of Coal Research for the U.S. Department of the Interior for a time, then went to the Electric Power Research Institute in Palo Alto, Calif., to direct the fossil fuel department. In 1977, he returned to the U. to accept an endowed chair as Envirotech Professor of Chemical Engineering. He also was a member of the National Coal Council, which was created to coordinate government and industry coal production efforts.

He received a bachelor of arts degree in chemistry and physics from Brigham Young University in 1942 and a doctorate in chemistry from Cornell University in 1946.

He wrote extensively on energy issues and won a number of professional awards, including the Henry H. Storch Award of the American Chemical Society and an honorary science degree from BYU.

Elder Hill was born Nov. 24, 1921, in Ogden, a son of George Richard Hill Jr. and Elizabeth O. McKay, the sister of late LDS President David O. McKay. His father was dean of the College of Agriculture at what became Utah State University.

The younger Hill graduated from East High School. He married Melba Parker on Aug. 25, 1941, in the Salt Lake Temple. They had seven children.

He was sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy in April 1987 and to the Second Quorum two years later. He was released during the October 1992 general conference.

During his general authority service, he was first counselor in the Philippines/Micronesia Area presidency for just over three years, and he was second counselor in the Utah South area for just under two years.

Elder Hill was an assistant in the Young Men general superintendency from October 1967 through June 1972.

In other church service, he was the bishop of three wards — Holladay 2nd, Federal Heights and Yale 2nd — and served on the high councils of the Big Cottonwood and Mill Creek stakes. He was a regional representative and a guide on Temple Square and gave weekly lectures at the Mission Home on science and religion.

Elder Hill was a member of the executive board of the Great Salt Lake Council, Boy Scouts of America; Timpanogos Club; American Chemical Society; and the National Association of Corrosion Engineers. He received the Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope and Silver Buffalo awards in Scouting.

His funeral will be Friday, April 27, at noon in the Salt Lake Stake Center, 142 W. 200 North. Friends may call Thursday, 6 to 8 p.m., at the Larkin Mortuary, 260 E. South Temple, and Friday from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. in the stake center. Burial will be in Larkin Sunset Lawn Cemetery.