Influential counsel to President Gerald R. Ford and was later appointed chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mr. Hills was half of one of America’s most visible political power couples in the 1970s. His better-known wife, Carla A. Hills, was secretary of housing and urban development at the same time he headed the S.E.C.
Roderick Maltman Hills was born in Seattle on March 9, 1931, and grew up in Whittier, Calif., where he played high school football under the same coach as former President Richard M. Nixon. A janitor’s son, he was the first in his family to go to college.
As a history major at Stanford, he financed his education by working as a construction laborer, bartender, steelworker and teamster. He stayed on at Stanford to earn a law degree, then clerked for Justice Stanley Forman Reed of the Supreme Court of the United States.
He worked for a private law firm before leaving to help start the firm of Munger, Tolles, Hills & Rickershauser in 1962. Carla Hills, a Yale-trained lawyer whom Mr. Hills had married in 1958, joined the Los Angeles firm shortly after its founding.
Both Mr. Hills and Ms. Hills joined the Ford administration in 1975, partly as a result of their volunteering in California Republican politics.
After leaving government, Mr. Hills had a rich career as chairman of the Peabody Coal Company, a promoter of business with Southeast Asian countries and the initiator of the Hills Program on Governance, which works for governmental and corporate improvements efforts around the world.
In addition to his son, Mr. Hills is survived by his wife, the former Carla Helen Anderson; his daughters Laura, Megan and Allison, all of whom have the last name Hills; and five grandchildren.