Wednesday, March 25, 2015

James Wood Hillyard 1935-2015

Here is a copy of the obituary inserted in the Star Valley Independent newspaper.

James Wood Hillyard, beloved husband, father, and grandfather, died at home on March 17, 2015, of heart failure. He was 79 years old. Leslie and Ada Hillyard greeted their last born, a son, on Nov 23, 1935 in Auburn WY, before the rural electric company had wired their home for electricity.  Jim, as the youngest by over six years was cared, cuddled and implored by his older sisters, LaRue Leavitt and Gayle Thurman.  His horse took him to school and his dog Tippy awaited his return home every week day.

He thrived in Star Valley and was an awesome “Brave,” involved in high school student body government, and with the football and basketball teams.  His best friend was Paul Rich who participated in these activities with him.  He was an excellent marksman which later allowed him to join the US Army rifle team. When asked why he was so good at shooting he would say, “I grew up in Star Valley.”

 He was a sportsman his entire life and taught his kids downhill skiing, water skiing, tennis, fishing, hunting, golf and shooting. He was also spiritual and had a testimony of Jesus Christ which he expressed with tears at times to his family and friends. He gained this testimony through his service as a missionary and his many church callings on high councils, bishoprics, scouting troops and young men’s groups. His sisters encouraged him to serve a mission and it was pivotal in his life.

Jim served this LDS mission in Sydney, Australia, 1957-59, boat travel time making it nearly 3 years long. He especially loved the Ward family whom he baptized.  They kept in touch with him for 60 years. He served in the Outback and on the coast of Australia, dipping sheep, catching kangaroos and killing poisonous snakes while proselyting.  At the conclusion of his mission he forewent a world tour with a group of missionary companions and headed back to Auburn. Had he not gone directly home he would have missed seeing his father alive, for Leslie died under a month after Jim’s return.

Jim also served in the Army as an officer from 1960 until 1962, too late for the Korean War and barely missing the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Jim met Carol in Houston, introduced to her by his brother, Vern.  Carol Ann and Jim married on December 19, 1962, in the LDS Mesa
Temple. LaRue and Gayle packed their children in the car and headed from southern CA to the temple wedding in Arizona.

Jim joined IBM as a typewriter salesman and made his first Hundred Percent club within 18 months. Because of his success he was transferred from the Dallas, TX area to Midland, TX, and then to Helena, MT, and lastly, Cottonwood Heights, UT--each time getting closer to his birthplace in WY.  When IBM wanted to move him back to headquarters in White Plains, NY, he left the company and started his own.  He didn’t only have one company, but multiple companies—he owned, consulted or partnered in Information Now, ROM, Basic Four, Ascom…and several others. During this time he flew his small plane back and forth to Star Valley where he and his family fished, hunted, golfed, camped, biked, played and reunioned. His son, Paul, and his granddaughter, Ayn, were baptized in Stump Creek, WY; and, “yes,” it was hypothermic cold even in August.

He is survived by his wife, Carol, his three children and grandchildren, Karen (Bob) Smith—Ayn, Bradley, Mark, Shannon, Whitney and Daniel;   Paul (Janelle) Hillyard—Brandon, Darin, Ryan, Kevan, Austin, Ethan; and, Renae Hillyard.  Funeral services were Saturday, March 21, 11:00 a.m. at the LDS Chapel on 8100 S. Top of the World Drive (3661 E.) Viewing, Friday, March 20, from 6-8pm at Cannon Mortuary, 2460 E. Bengal Blvd. (7600
S.) and Saturday, March 21, 9:45-10:45am at the LDS chapel prior to service. Interment Mountain View Memorial Estates. Online condolences www.cannonmortuary.com


Written and Submitted to the Star Valley Independent by Karen L Smith, daughter of Jim.

March 25, 2015

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Eulogy of James Wood Hillyard by Karen L Smith

Funeral Services Saturday, March 21, 2015 11 A.M.



He climbed the leg of his horse as fast as a five year old could and headed to the little Auburn primary school. Uphill both ways (of course), but that doesn't really matter on your own horse.  In the middle of a Star Valley winter that matters, but he lived. (1940)

"Bang" The discharging shotgun took a splintery chunk out of the family piano in the Auburn WY front room where young Jim was cleaning it. Hum, guess it was loaded. He lived. (1942)

He gagged, turned green and started walking home after sucking in the smoke of his first and only cigarette. "Maybe I shouldn't trust my cousin quite some much. Usually Grant was a barrel of fun."  Jim was sick, but he lived.






That Fijian was only bluffing with the arrow and hatchet. Jim was returning to Star Valley via Fiji. He forewent the world tour with some of his mission companions and headed home. If he had not, he would have missed seeing his father alive. Leslie, his dad, died four weeks after Jim returned home to Auburn WY. Ada, his mom, moved to SLC with Jim while he attended U of U. He took care of her
and she him. They lived.

"How did you learn to shoot so well?" the officer in charge of the Army rifle team asked. "I don't know. Maybe growing up in Star Valley" Jim said. "I used to take dudes elk hunting."  He was good, real good.  He was as good at shooting as he was at pitching a baseball. That's not a bad way to serve in the US Army--on the baseball team. That ended and he was sent to Ft. Hood where as an officer he was in charge of a platoon of tanks. Training exercises were sometimes deadly.


Jim was too late for the Korean war and too early for the Cuban missile crisis, just barely. He married his sweetheart whom he met in Houston through his brother, Vern, and he lived.































Flying a small plane is just as "sporting" as target shooting, putting, fishing Grey's River, or aceing your tennis serve, and Jim is a sportsman. He, Carol and baby Karen (ME) were joy riding over the plains near Dallas TX. These were the days of cloth diapers and plastic pants.  An infant doesn't realize that the cockpit of a small Cessna can become a nasal prison, an olfactory hell, if she relieves herself mid-air.  Pop that dirty diaper out the small, hinged opening in the pilot's window. Diaper bomb Dallas, and live. (Fall 1965)




Texas is flat and the cumulonimbus tower towards heaven. A private pilot of a small plane need not worry about obstacles unless he's low flying among wires or windmills and cattle tanks--and that's flying really low altitude. Flying VFR (visual flight rules) is no problem, usually. In Montana it is a whole 'nother ballgame. Weather patterns interacting with mountain peaks can create an IFR  situation (instrument flight rules)in moments. Jim was a new IBM branch manager in Helena MT flying between offices in Missoula, Butte, Billings, and Great Falls. He hadn't quite had time to attend the "Mountain Flying" courses offered by the FAA.  While flying in a valley he was familiar with opaque clouds obscured his view of the mountain ridges to the west--and, to the east,  and everywhere. The mountain peaks broke his radio signal. The valley ends in more mountain peaks--this is west MT. It's beautiful, unless you're in a white out. "How do I get out of this one?" Jim thought, adrenaline cooling his veins. Abruptly the needle on the navigational radio pegged. He had a signal. He knew that the mountain range to the west opened up to let him pass.  He lived. (1970)

Six beautiful pine trees headed to SLC for Christmas celebrations of our close family members jolted forward and stopped on the fractured glass of the Chevy windshield. The freezer-wrapped half of beef from Uncle DeMar became a sledge hammer in my mother's back. A twenty five year old Lincoln Continental rested in the engine compartment of our van after catching air, hurtling over the center barrow pit on I-80 and pentrating our vehicle at 70 miles per hour. His sternum was broken. His orbital bone beneath his eye was cracked. His forehead lacerated. The plastic surgeon could do nothing for his nose. A Hillyard nose can not be fixed:) The emergency room physician declared he had never seen a patient with this type of sternum alive. He lived.   (November 1985)

Fifty year old Jim had a deep persistent pain in his back all night. Tylenol didn't help. One quintuple bypass later, he lived..... for 30 more years.


















Racquetball, tennis, downhill skiing, water skiing, bb gun shooting with grandkids, real gun shooting, clipping my fingernails, Saturday at Sears with popcorn and Carol, fishing, floating Salt Creek, camping Lake Powell, boating, IBM, selling typewriters, Manager of the SLC office, selling computers, Basic Four, Ascom, working with Blau, selling wireless, integrity, business guru, gregariousness, wavey dark hair, High Councilman talks, executive secretary, crying because of the Spirit, reliable, fix it genius, hates sheep, hates gardening, loves snitching raspberries, Mormon gravy and hamburgers, broken bread in a glass with jam and milk, quarters and golf, Swift Creek and the cold water geyser, Star Valley High and the Braves, Paul Rich, the hog hole by DeMar's, caring for his mom, cared for by his sisters Gayle, LaRue, and his wife, Carol.









He has cruised, rode, flew, golfed, walked (especially with the Pooh dogs), played, cried, hugged, loved, blessed, worked, smiled and lived, until Uncle DeMar and Grandma Hillyard came to get him. They had already picked up Aunt LaRue three weeks earlier.  (November 23, 1935--March 17, 2015)

He lives.