John E. Hilliard

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John E. Hilliard, age 66 of Bourbon, MO, passed away on December 12, 2019. 

John suspected that he was very sick, but chose to wait until he felt the time was right to seek medical help. John was diagnosed with advanced Stage 4 esophageal cancer on Thursday, December 5th. After a few days in the hospital, he chose to go to Life Care Center in Sullivan under hospice care. After being there less than 48 hours, John died just the way he wanted – pain free and sleeping comfortably. 

John was born in Ebensee, Austria on November 10, 1953, the oldest child of Staff Sergeant Elisha (Gus) Hilliard and Hilda Strauss Hilliard. In early 1955 the family relocated to Potosi, MO, and then later settled in the Sullivan area. John attended all twelve years of school in Sullivan and graduated from Sullivan High School in 1971. 

John enjoyed and excelled in fine woodworking. His favorite job was working at Crestwood Builders, where his specialty was building custom entry doors and windows for homes. When asked by one of his doctors about his work history, John proudly told the doctor that he built all shapes and sizes of windows, except square ones.

John enjoyed drawing and painting, reading, playing the guitar, hunting, camping, fishing and sometimes just being on the river. When John’s grandchildren were old enough, he taught them to fish in the catfish pond and would take them on rides in a wagon pulled behind the lawnmower. John liked to garden and especially enjoyed growing pumpkins and sunflowers for his grandkids. Going to spend time with Grandpa John usually meant time outdoors and maybe even an adventure or two. 

John is survived by his children Elizabeth Hilliard, Owen Hilliard and Lori Hilliard.; brothers Tonni Hilliard and wife Kelley, and Chris Crow and wife Tonya; sisters Virgie McGill and husband John; and Janet Palmer and husband Ken; grandchildren Kinsey Huff; Kyra, Vivian and Dylan Hilliard; and Henry and Jim Pyles; other extended family members and friends. 

John was preceded in death by his father Gus Hilliard, his stepfather Don Crow, his mother Hilda Hilliard Crow, his Austrian maternal grandparents Rudolph and Maria Strauss; his paternal grandfather Russell Hilliard and his paternal grandmother Nellie Hilliard Bergner.

The family is planning a memorial gathering in the near future. If you would like to be notified of the details for the memorial when the plans are finalized, you can email or call his sister Virgie at or 573-732-4164. The details will also be posted in advance on Facebook. 

Sullivan Independent News

Sullivan Independent News
411 Scottsdale
Sullivan, MO 63080

Phone: 573-468-6511
Fax: 573-468-4046