Our History



Bennie B. Hill (1910 – 1981) was a godly, loving patriot.  He loved God, his family, and his country. 


He served in WWII, U.S. Army, as a bazooka operator, fought in France and Germany, and was sent to England for new teeth (after his were blown out), among other injuries.  In two separate incidences, he  was awarded a Purple Heart.  He also earned marksmanship awards, being one of those “good ole boys from the woods of Tennessee,” who could “shoot the wings off a mosquito.” 


Papa Hill's faith in God was the most important thing in his life, and he didn't mind saying so.  It always amazed and touched him deeply that Jesus would die for him, and he always choked up when he talked about it, which he did frequently.  He found his faith in the Lord after he was grown, after the war, and it also touched him that God had saved his life and brought him through all that horror.  He knew it was mostly because of the faith and prayers of his wife, Mary.


As a family man, life was pretty simple.  If he was not at work, he was on his way home.  He was a meat-cutter by trade, and usually leased his own space in one of those  neighborhood grocery stores, which were plentiful in those days.  He loved family get-togethers, and always wanted homemade ice cream, insisting on cranking the freezer himself (he thought electric ones didn't get the job done).  Next to his faith in God and Jesus, family was the most important thing in the world to him. 


Papa Hill also loved popcorn, and popped it every night, in a pan on the stove.  His father had grown popcorn in Missouri, and it had been a family treat for as long as anyone could remember.  This company is named for him, a man who was  faithful, giving, and dependable, honoring  a generation of men who “more than self their country loved,” and “freedom more than life.”


 Lorraine Vandeberg
Juli McCarty

How We Started!

Papa Hill's Popcorn started just the way Papa Hill used to pop it – in a saucepan, on a stovetop. Lorraine (his daughter) and Juli (his granddaughter) had popped it for years as a treat (and sometimes dinner) for kids and grandkids. This particular summer (2007), was a particularly difficult one, due to loss of income, etc., and Juli and Lorraine were selling little paper sacks of popcorn to neighborhood children to put gas in the car. Someone said, “That's really good, you should bag it up and sell it.” Not long after that, besides selling to friends and family, a Dollar Tree store let them stand out front and sell, and they noticed how quickly they made enough money, not only for school supplies for the children, but also for haircuts and other things.

The next step was to approach a natural grocery store chain with samples and the proper paperwork and hope for the best. What do you know?! They said “yes,” and not long after that it was being sold in over 20 of their stores and other places, too. It is now being offered online, to fulfill the words in one of the “bullets” on the back of the package that says, “it goes around the world and blesses people.” We believe this blessing is tangible and real, and when we say “we love you and pray for you,” we mean it.