Community Newsman, Educator

Bob Hilliard is roundly known as the “nicest guy”- best family man, colleague, prof and boss – and Alzheimer patient of 20+years. His universal likeability reflects his positive nature – affirming and encouraging others, right up to the difficult end April 11, 2018.

Of note are his careers in community journalism and education.

He fledged Kuna (Idaho) High School in 1958 as a printer of hot-lead type for the Mountain Home newspaper. After earning degrees at Northwest Nazarene College and UC-Berkeley, he became a teacher in Tillamook, OR and went on to manage community newspapers in Coeur d’Alene, ID; Pullman WA; Oregon City; Kent-Renton-Auburn, WA; and Mountainview, CA. For a short time, he published his own weekly newspaper, The Tacoma Review.

Bob’s career shifted in 1983, when he joined the Washington State University faculty for two decades as communications professor and manager of student publications. During breaks, he consulted for Eastern Washington newspapers (Spokesman Review, Walla Walla UB, Tri-City Herald, and others) and sat on the editing desk at Seattle Times and photo desk at Seattle PI. He delighted in a 3-month immersion into the newspapers of Sweden for comparative management research.

He readied his j-students for print and online publications, supervised internships, lead j-camps and legislative tours, and mentored students into the field. He knew every aspect of newspapering from printing, photography, editing, ethics, graphics, advertising, management, to leadership in Washington Newspaper Publishers Association and Allied Daily Newspapers. Had his cognition not been erased by Alzheimer’s, Bob would be fighting to sustain journalism’s true calling — to seek the truth with unbiased and balanced reporting, and tenaciously be the Fourth Estate watchdog.

Bob also served as an Elder at Pullman Presbyterian Church. Other life signatures were his peripatetic walking (especially through many national parks), random acts of gardening, family fun (particularly with 13 grandies), passions for classic cars, and collecting letter-press memorabilia.

His family salutes his life of service and love: wife of 36 years Nancy Gould-Hilliard, former wife of 16 years Edith Ness Hilliard, sons Michael D. (Karin) and Curtis H. (Shelly), grandsons Jordan, Matthew, CJ and Gavin, brother Jim (Barb), nephew Jim Jr. (Christine), niece Crystal (Dion) Armstrong, and stepsons Herb and JJ Gould (Chris and Linda), step-daughter Amy Gould Burns (Steve) and step-grandchildren Casey, Kelly, Bo, Grace, Sam, Katelyn, Kelsey, Emily and Carly. His parents Ruth (Corley) and James Hilliard welcomed Bob to eternity days after his 78th birthday.

Bob will rest in the Memory Garden at Mercer Island Presbyterian Church. Services are planned for 2 p.m., Sat., May 12, at MIPC. Suggested memorials in Bob’s name are for student journalism scholarships at Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow School of Communications, c/o Carol Kowalski, its development officer, POB 641925, Pullman, WA 99164.

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