William Lawrence Hiller
September 2, 1921 – January 22, 2019
William Lawrence Hiller was born in Highmore, SD, on 2 September 1921, to Lawrence and Ebelena Hiller, first generation Americans of German immigrants. He left this earth on January 22 following a stroke in July, 2019. For the first 12 years, he and his family lived and worked on a farm in central SD, in the fall of 1933, they left the prairie for the Black Hills, settling outside of Custer, SD. Hired by Lockheed Aircraft in 1941, he and Lucille married in April 1942 and shared many adventure s over the next 76 years. In 1944, he joined the Navy and was assigned to the Pacific Fleet. In March 1946, he returned to Custer and in 1947, enlisted in the Army Air Corps at RCAFB, SD. January 1954, he transferred to Suwon, Korea and 9 months later to Misawa, Japan, Lucille and family joined him in December 1954. In 1956, he returned to Ellsworth AFB, SD, at which time he worked on the B-36 currently on display at Castle Air Museum. In 1960, he transferred to Sheppard AFB, TX and in 1964 to Castle AFB, there on June 1, 1966, having completed 21 years of service, he retired as First Sergeant, 93rd Field Maintenance Squadron.
Following retirement from the USAF, he worked in Merced, CA, retiring from the Sheetmetal Union in 1983. Always an avid sportsman, he was a lifetime member of the NRA and numerous conservation groups. He and Lucille continued to travel; over the years they visited the Holy Land, Germany, England, Australia, New Zealand and all around the US. In 1976, they set aside a year and traveled across the south, up the east coast and then across the northern edge of the US, and three trips to Alaska.
In 1989, he began volunteering with the Castle Air Museum Restoration, ultimately serving as restoration superintendent, working on the airplanes, of which he possessed encyclopedic knowledge based on personal experience. He and Lucille were faithful attendees of St Paul’s Lutheran Church and worked on construction of the new church on McKee Rd in Merced. Blessed with good health most of his life, Dad was active until struck down by a stroke last July.
He is survived by Lucille, his wife of 76 years, Son William and wife Mary, Daughter Karen and husband Gary, Sister Elma DuChateau, 7 Grandchildren, 12 Great-Grandchildren and 2 Great-Great-Grandchildren, numerous nephews and nieces.
Viewing Feb 1, 4-8PM, Stratford Evans Funeral Home, Services Feb 2, St Paul’s Lutheran Church 11AM, with time to share memories and refreshments following. Internment at San Joaquin National Cemetery, Santa Nella, Feb 4, 11:30AM
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church or Castle Air Museum Restoration.
- Paul Burkhart, Pallbearer
- David Hiller, Pallbearer
- Troy Gunter, Pallbearer
- Stephen Hiller, Pallbearer
- Kelly Clark, Pallbearer
- Joe Purrozo, Pallbearer
- Kyle Bowman, Honorary Pallbearer
- Visitation Friday, February 1, 2019
- Funeral Service Saturday, February 2, 2019
- Interment Monday, February 4, 2019
William Lawrence Hiller
February 14, 2019
In remembrance of a Son of South Dakota who proudly served in World War II and the Forgotten War. He has answered his final roll call standing tall.
Rest in peace, Sailor and Airman.
Custer Post #46, American Legion
South Dakota Department
Ann Kock Bennett
January 26, 2019
I went to St Paul's Lutheran church years ago & I remember Mr Hiller at a lot of the functions, especially the potlucks! He had such an infectious smile. Hugs to Lucille. Prayers & peace to him & his family.