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