After complications related to his autoimmune disease, Mike passed on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, surrounded by family.
Mike was born September 22, 1943, in Montebello, California, to Billy Bert Hilliard and Dorris Louise Gillett. He spent many of his formative years living with his paternal aunt Claudia in Chino, California.
Immediately after high school, Mike joined the Air Force. After basic training he was sent to Morse Code radio intercept operators school where he graduated top of his class, which allowed him to choose his first overseas assignment: San Vito De Normanni Air Station in Italy. After Italy he was stationed in Crete, Greece and then Yakota, Japan, before serving in the Vietnam war. After Vietnam he was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, and then discharged from the Air Force, for the first time, in February 1970. He also played the trumpet in the Air Force Drum and Bugle Corp.
Following his discharge he visited his sister Kathy, who was attending Brigham Young University, and immediately fell in love with her roommate, Geraldine Higgins. Mike and Geri were married on September 4, 1970, in the Mesa Arizona LDS Temple. He then attended Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho earning an associate’s degree in accounting. While at Ricks, he and Geri welcomed daughter Beverly. Then on to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah where he earned a bachelor's degree, also in accounting. While at BYU, he and Geri welcomed daughter Debi. Later, Mike earned a Masters of Business Administration degree from Golden Gate University.
He participated in ROTC at both Ricks and BYU and was chosen to serve in the Army Finance Corp. He entered active duty with the Army in May 1975. His Army career first took him and his family to Indianapolis, Indiana, where son William was born; to Darmstadt, Germany, where daughter Susan was born; back to Indiana; then San Antonio, Texas where their son Robert was born. After a long and complicated process, Mike applied for an interdepartmental transfer and became the first Army finance officer to transfer from the Army to the Air Force finance field, becoming a US Air Force Finance Officer in May 1980.
His first assignment after transferring back to the Air Force was Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix, Arizona; followed by George AFB in Victorville, California; then McCord AFB in Tacoma, Washington; Hickam AFB in Honolulu, Hawaii; Misawa AFB in Misawa, Japan; Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, Alabama; and finally, Lowry AFB in Denver, Colorado. In 1993, the closure of Lowry AFB was announced, and with the threat of being reassigned to the Pentagon, Geri lovingly declared that after several decades of globetrotting she loved Denver, and it was time for Mike to retire. After 27 years of decorated military service, Mike retired from the Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel in the summer of 1994 and immediately went to work for the City of Aurora as the Director of Community Development. He worked there until Geri’s untimely passing from cancer in November 2000, after 30 years of marriage.
One year following Geri’s death, Mike unfortunately found himself grieving the untimely passing of his youngest son - Robert. He would openly share that while it was really hard dealing with Geri’s death, nothing can ever prepare a parent to lose a child. To cope, he bought an RV and spent a year as a nomad, visiting his children and then parking it for the winter in Breckenridge, Colorado.
After the loss of Geri and Robert, Mike spent time in southern California near his extended family. In 2005, Chad and Kim Marquis (who were members of his LDS ward in Orange County at that time), introduced Mike to Chad’s mother, Cheryl. Mike and Cheryl were married shortly thereafter in September 2005. They worked hard through their 18 years of marriage to be loving parents and doting grandparents to their large, blended family, including Cheryl’s children Matt, Chad, Michelle, Adam, and Chris. The last 18 years have been full of joy and fun as Mike and Cheryl roamed the country visiting their children and grandchildren, completed many home projects, discovered their talent in fine art painting, served in the church, and traveled the world; they were the busiest retired people, ever.
Mike’s faith has always been front and center in his life. He faithfully and boldly served in many different callings within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, including serving a mission with Cheryl at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland from 2013-2015. Most recently, Mike and Cheryl served as temple workers, for more than 10 years, cumulatively.
Mike is beloved by his 33 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren for his terrible dad jokes, quick wit, love for going to the movies, unsolicited advice, and affection for junk food.
Mike is survived by his wife Cheryl, his children Beverly (Donald) Parker, Debi (Ken) Taylor, Bill (Stephanie) Hilliard, Susan (Clint) Goldenstein, and his stepchildren Matt (Ann) Marquis, Chad (Kim) Marquis, Michelle (Robert) Gardner, Adam (Melissa) Marquis, and Chris (Courtney) Marquis. He was preceded in death by his first wife Geri and his youngest son Robert.
Michael Glen Hilliard, age 79 of Mapleton, Utah, passed away June 14, 2023. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, June 20, 2023, at 11:00 am at the LDS Chapel located at 825 East Hawks Rest Drive, Mapleton, with a viewing held that morning at the church from 9:30-10:30 am prior to the services. Interment will be Monday, July 3 at 2:00 pm, in the Fort Logan National Cemetery, 4400 W. Kenyon Avenue, Denver, CO 80236.
Condolences for the family may be expressed on this page.
In lieu of flowers please donate to the LDS church humanitarian fund. https://donate.churchofjesuschrist.org/donations/church/
For those unable to attend in person, you may view the Services HERE