Christopher L. Hilliard
July 22, 1946 – March 16, 2020
Chris was born at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Houston on July 22, 1946. He was a fifth generation Houstonian. His great great grandparents are buried at the Washington Cemetery, now part of the Glenwood Cemetery, just seven miles from his current home. Some might say that Chris had indeed not gone very far in his life.
Chris was born to very loving parents, Winne Beaman Hilliard and Fay Joseph Hilliard. They loved him very much and instilled a Depression Era work ethic and sense of values for which he was always grateful. Chris grew up in the Houston area and had a happy childhood with the usual activities such as scouting, sports, riding his bicycle to be an altar boy at early mass. He also began working at part time jobs which he loved as a means to earn his pocket change. Chris used to keep a sock under his bed with his earnings from mowing lawns, paper routes, working summers at the club swimming pool, pumping gas at a filling station (where there were still pump jockeys), and other endeavors which would set his work mentality for life. A special gift imparted by his parents was the love of travel. He traveled often with his family throughout the US and Canada.
Chris attended the University of Texas where he studied Engineering and Business. He was a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity and played intramural sports on their teams. Chris worked as a dishwasher, summer construction jobs, and for the IRS in Austin. He made many friends for life with whom he has enjoyed wonderful times.
Chris graduated during the Vietnam conflict and enlisted in the US military where he served honorably for six years. He began law school at the University of Houston in 1970 and graduated in 1973. Chris always had a love of real estate and became a Texas RE Broker in 1970 as part of working his way through law school. He worked for Gerald Hines Interests in Houston where he became involved in the construction business, first in commercial areas and then having his own home building company, Christopher Builders. Chris always kept his law practice while pursuing other interests such as an aircraft leasing company, importing Germany luxury cars, and managing various real estate interests in oil and gas, logging, ranching and rental properties.
In 1973 Chris met and married his better half, Marilyn (Mimi) Lowe. They were married in Dallas where Mimi, from Norman, Oklahoma, was living. Living in Houston, they shared their blessings of their lifetime, Christopher and Jennifer. C & J were always the center of the Hilliard Family life from their births and this never changed. Chris, and Mimi as well, always volunteered to head various activities for C & J. Chris was involved with Christopher in YMCA Indian Guides and Jennifer in YMCA Indian Princesses where all met lifelong friends. Chris coached at the Y and at St. Francis Episcopal school for his children’s teams in soccer, football, baseball and basketball. The children and parents would call him “Coach Chris”. Chris, Mimi, Christopher and Jennifer, “the Fam” enjoyed many activities from a lake house on Lake Conroe, boating, condo in Galveston, flying their own plane to Disney World, Denver, Santa Fe and other places. They had a ranch in Kerrville and now the family homestead in Giddings, Texas on which Chris’ great great grandparents are buried.
The Fam carried on the tradition of travel instilled by Chris’ parents. They loved their outings in the Caribbean, on cruise ships, riding the Sunset Limited from Houston to LA, Mexico, Canada, all over the US, and to Europe. In 1991 the Fam rented a station wagon and spent five weeks driving around France and Italy, a trip the Griswolds would have envied-Christopher and Jennifer still talk about that adventure with mixed feelings-but they both have that love of travel.
Chris loved many sporting activities such as jogging, tennis, snow skiing, atv riding, power boats, motorcycles, sail boats, scuba diving, and flying airplanes and gliders. He met many friends in these pursuits and has friends in Mexico, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. The Fam has had wonderful times since 2001 in Antibes France on their home away from home, Les Affaires Risquees, “Risky Business”, a Beneteau sailing vessel. They have taken LAR to Corsica, Sardinia, Italy, and along the French coast while enjoying time in this beautiful part of the world. Yet Houston has always been home.
Chris was a past member of the Houston Engineering Society, Houston Racquet Club, and a current life member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity, Beneteau Yacht Club, University of Texas Club…. Chris was also blessed in life with wonderful caring siblings. His sister Holly, married to Dr. J.B. Brame, lives in El Dorado, Texas, some miles away physically but the two remained close. His brother Bud Hilliard, married to Bonnie Boatwright, sadly passed away in 1983. He was not only Chris’ brother but a best friend as well. His sister Deborah who lives in Austin, has always been supportive and her husband, Rober BenNun, introduced Chris to his Family, mostly in living in Paris, with whom Chris became lifelong friends.
Chris was fortunate to receive a lifesaving heart transplant in 2014. We honor his donor everyday as it was because of him that Chris was able to meet the loves of his life, his grandchildren Carter and Ava Wilshusen. He would insist that we babysit almost every weekend both of them as he would say to give Jennifer and Wade a break. I can only tell you that it was total but loving chaos. Because of his donor we had 6 extra years with our beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle and friend. We pray that he is now at peace.
Chris has many friend from his time and wants to thank all of them for enriching his life, being his friend, and their love of Chris.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.memorialoaksfunerals.com for the Hilliard family.
No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Christopher L. Hilliard
March 30, 2020
We are so deeply saddened by the passing of our dear Chris. Our most sincere sympathies to the family during these painful times. We Sincerely share your sorrow .
We are honored and blessed to have known him. He was truly a wonderful Human being and an exceptional soul. I will always remember him as a « Bon Vivant », who loved his family and friends, a man of honor and integrity, caring, hearted and so incredibly kind.
May God Bless and comfort your family during this time of grief. You are in our prayers.
May his memory be a blessing. May he now Rest In Peace in Heaven
Nanou and family
Frances and John Sage
March 28, 2020
When we think of Chris, the first word that comes to our mind is “fun“. He was a joy to be with and we are lucky to have known him. Chris was a great father and friend. You can tell how much he loved his family by the way he talked about them with a sparkle in his eyes. He endured so much with all the serious heart problems that he and Christopher experienced. However, he always managed to have a smile and a warm greeting when he saw his friends. And everybody loved his quick wit and one-liners . We will always have fond memories of our time with Chris and his family.
March 24, 2020
While I couldn't be there, just know I am there in spirit. I really liked Chris and his love of talking! He was so knowledgable about so many things. I was lucky enough to spend some social time with him and the rest of his family. He has such a beautiful family! I know everyone's heart is breaking...but just always remember how he was so devoted to you!