Wallace James Hilliard Obituary

Wallace James Hilliard Obituary: Many People Came to Pay Tributes to Him?

Wallace James Hilliard, a Green Bay resident, passed away on March 6, 2023, at home with his family after a long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease. On May 23, 1932, he was born on his family’s 80-acre subsistence farm amidst the Great Depression and Drought. William and Gladys (Kees) Hilliard had three sons, and Wally was the youngest.

Without power, matches were necessary on the farm, and Wally enjoyed playing with them. His penchant for lighting matches at the tender age of four led to the destruction of the barn, its machinery, and the winter’s supply of hay. Wally’s older brothers rightly dubbed him the “emancipating pyromaniac” after the family was relocated to the outskirts of the closest town (Durand).

During childhood, Wally learned to be an entrepreneur by selling eggs, garden products, newspapers, and shining shoes. After finishing high school, Wally studied veterinary medicine at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

wallace james hilliard obituary
wallace james hilliard obituary

He learned the art of persuasion by practicing it, door to door, selling cutlery. On one of his business trips, he met his future wife, Belvina Tyczkowski. Wally never felt drawn to veterinary medicine; instead, he concentrated on his sales career and relationship with Belvina. After reaching draught age, Wally served in the military for two years while maintaining an active courtship. In 1957, they tied the knot.

Wally’s chemistry degree from UW Madison was thanks to Belvina’s encouragement. He honed his sales skills at Monsanto and Roberts by peddling chemical products. Dan came first to the family, arriving in Philadelphia; then Julie in St. Louis; and last, Janice in Cincinnati.

Belvina decided that raising her three young children in a place that felt like a foreign country was not working. The family relocated back to Wisconsin, where they had support from extended family and friends. They moved from Oshkosh to Shawano, where they welcomed their fourth child, Andy, in 1963.

After searching for a home for a year, they found a place to call home in Green Bay’s Schmidt Park, where they remained for the following thirteen years. Wally, ever the salesman, resumed his career selling kitchenware where he left off many years prior. Meeting Jim Matthews by incident led to a lasting business relationship and friendship.

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Finally, Jim convinced Wally that selling life insurance would yield better results. For a living, Wally started “porch climbing, doorbell ringing, an insurance salesman.”   When Wally eventually met Jim Weyers, Jim introduced him to his brother Ron. Nobody could have predicted their friendship and the professional relationship would last a lifetime.

Wisconsin Employers Group was founded in 1970 in Ron’s basement and grew into the Fortune 500 firm Employers Health. In 1982, they decided to sell the business to American Express. There was more where it came from for Wally’s business spirit. Wally launched American Medical Security, his second insurance firm, in 1988.

Almost immediately, he realized he couldn’t function without Ron, his reluctant partner from retirement. The strong relationships that have developed among AMS’s staff, agents, and policyholders have been instrumental to the company’s explosive expansion. There was a sale of AMS in 1996. The dynamic combo of Ron and Wally will always be remembered with affection.

Wally then started and financially backed several new firms in states like Wisconsin and Florida. The days were never dull when Wally was around. Wally worked tirelessly in the insurance industry but found time for family outings and holidays.

Traveling the Great Lakes by boat, exploring the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers in a houseboat, skiing in the Upper Peninsula and the Rocky Mountains, and going on hunting and fishing expeditions are just a few examples of the numerous enjoyable activities that a group may enjoy. Of course, we can’t forget the thrill of his frequent trips and adventures because of his passion for the air.

The family will always be grateful to their father for his adventurous nature and the possibilities he provided for them to go on many more adventures. Whether playing golf, ping-pong, running one of his many marathons, or playing checkers with his dear friend Jim Halron, Wally was always a ferocious competitor with an unrivaled drive.

His infectious enthusiasm for living and relentless pursuit of greatness left an indelible mark on everyone he met and lived with. Wally had two previous marriages, the most recent being to Patricia. Katherine, Kennedy, Alexandria, Gabriella, and Annabella were the five children he took in. Paul (Madlyn) Hilliard, Wally’s eldest brother, will go on after him.

Dan (Amy) Hilliard, Julie (Neal) Maccoux, Janice (Mark) Hilliard, Andy (Renee) Hilliard, Jonathan (Laurie) Fischer, and Andy (Renee) Hilliard will remember him fondly. Aubrey (Josh), Lauren (Dan), Taylor (Connor), Kaitlyn (Nate), Nat (Andrea), David (Andrea), Hunter (Jacob), and five great-grandchildren will all miss him.

Wally has called Alpha Senior Concepts home for the past four years. We will be eternally grateful to everyone at Alpha for their professionalism, compassion, and insight into Wally’s situation. To the nurses at Moments Hospice, we are forever thankful for all the time and effort you put into caring for Wally over the past year.

Wally’s need for a female partner never wavered, even as his health deteriorated. Wally’s earnest “you are beautiful” and “are you married?” compliments to the nurses and carers brightened their days. He didn’t give up easily. The funeral will be held in private with close relatives. On May 5th, from 3:00 to about 5:00 pm, the Green Bay Community Church will host a Celebration of Life.

Townline Bar & Restaurant is where the party will continue afterward. Per Wally’s wishes, he will be laid to rest privately in his hometown of Durand, Wisconsin, near his parents and other family members. Donations to the Hilliard Family Foundation, a fund of the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation, can be contributed instead of flowers. Donations will be made to the Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay and the Alzheimer’s Association, two of Wally’s favorite causes.

More information can be found on the County Current site.