I did remove the current fuel filter. It's a Wix 33299 model. I got the Carquest branded version. Since they only stock one at a time, I'll need to order it to have a spare handy.
I also replaced four 4" sections of 5/32 vacuum hose and the PCV valve. The PCV valve was easy. The old one did not rattle like the new one! I did notice that one of the hoses was disconnected. I still have some deteriorated hoses but they are connected to fittings. There are two that have two hoses coming out of them. I am assuming the piece comes with the two hoses pre-attached. I'll need a manual on the 454 engine to identify them for the parts place.
The combination of the above repairs did solve my hill climbing problem. I took 'Jellybean III' out for some good old fashioned hard driving just to test her. She did good. The shifting seemed a little different but that might be me. I never lost power even after intentionally slowing down at the bottom of some hills!
Now it's back to being nice to make Peter happy (and to make it last longer!).