James M. Hillyer, 97

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Thief River Falls – James Hillyer of Thief River Falls, passed away on Monday, April 24, 2017 at the Thief River Care Center in Thief River Falls, surrounded by his loving family.
    A funeral service was held on Friday, April 28, 2017 at Zion Lutheran Church in Thief River Falls. Interment followed at Greenwood Cemetery in Thief River Falls.
    James Monroe Hillyer was born November 8, 1919, in North Township, Minnesota, the 3rd child of Augustus and Margaret (Myers) Hillyer. When he was a year old, the family moved to the LaBree homestead on the bend of the Thief River in Marshall County. It was here that Jim spent the rest of his life farming, as well as raising hogs, and, later, cattle.
    He attended the Loftness School through the 8th grade and then stayed home to help on the family farm which eventually became Hillyer Farms Inc. He was inducted into the army on November 11, 1942, and served on active duty in the Normandy, Northern France, and Rhineland Campaigns, as well as fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. He was honorably discharged on February 4, 1946. Jim returned to the farm where he lived and worked until the age of 97 years. He was a voracious reader and avid gardener. He planted his last garden and mowed his last lawn in the summer of his 96th year.
    After Jim’s brother Robert, his wife Mavis, and daughter Connie, who had also lived with him on Hillyer Farms, moved to Arizona in 1972, Jim found his way to Florence’s CafĂ©. There, he also found Florence, the only love of his life, whom he married on October 4, 1978. The couple enjoyed life on the farm together as well as a few travels, including a trip to the Holy Land in 1982. It was there, on March 16, that James was baptized in the River Jordan, Tiberius, Israel.
    Jim is survived by his wife Florence, who currently resides at the Thief River Care Center. Her daughter, Connie (Al) Scheuneman lives in North Carolina, and her son, Douglas Aaseby, lives in California. He is also survived by his niece Connie (Bill) Stock of Thief River Falls, the children of his brother Edson: Carol Jackson, Kingman, AZ; Margaret (late husband, Robert) Hickson, Lake Havasu City, AZ; Susan (Jack) Ester, Pleasant Praire, WI; Hoyt Hillyer, Paris CA; Shirley (David) Trickle, Glyndon; Kathryn (Keith) Tysdal, Fergus Falls; Martha (Stuart) Dahl, Fargo, ND; Delores (Steve) Michaelson, Sturgis, SD; James Edson Hillyer, Fergus Falls; William Hillyer (late wife,Wanda), Thief River Falls, and Claudia Hillyer (wife of his nephew, Kenneth) Winthrop Harbor, Il; the children of his sister Anne Kraemer: JoAnn (Marc) Pream, Rochester; Mary (Wayne) Ness, Ramsey; Jean (Steve) Moulds, East Grand Forks; Claudia (Wayne) Bendickson, Baudette; Michelle (Jerry) Paulsen, Detroit Lakes, and Peggy Kraemer (wife of his nephew, Michael) Thief River Falls; the daughter of his sister Eunice, Mary McComas, and many great (and great-great) nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Eunice (and husband Jim) McComas, sister Anne (and husband Robert) Kraemer, his brothers Edson (and wife Nona), Robert ( and wife Mavis), and brothers Irvin, Jacob, and Lowell. He was also preceded in death by two nephews, Kenneth Hillyer (Winthrop Harbor, IL) and Michael Kraemer (Thief River Falls).
He will be missed by those who were blessed with his presence in their lives for so many years.
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