Obit: Hillert, Richard (1923 - 2010)


Contact: Dolores Mohr Kenyon


Surnames: Hillert, Trimberger, Bonnin, Brewer 

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI.) March 3, 2010 

Hillert, Richard (14 March 1923 - 18 February 2010) 

Richard Hillert, 86, noted composer of church music and former resident of Granton, died at his home in Melrose Park, IL, Feb. 18, 2010.  

Funeral services were held Monday, March 1, 2010 at 7 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest, IL.   

Hillert was born in Granton, March 14, 1923.  He attended parochial and public schools and worked on the family farm near Granton until age 27.  His parents were Richard and Amelia (Trimberger) Hillert. 

In 1947, Hillert enrolled at Concordia Teachers College in River Forest (now Concordia University Chicago), where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Education.  He served as a teacher and music director for parishes in St. Louis, MO, Wausau, WI, Chicago, IL, and Westchester, IL. 

Hillert received a Master of Music (1955) and a Doctor of Music (1968) in composition from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.  He also studied composition with Italian composer, Goffredo Petrassi, at Aaron Copland’s Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood, MA. 

Hillert’s career as a teacher at Concordia spanned four decades from 1959 to 1993.  During this time, he taught classes in music theory and composition, music literature, 20th century music, orchestration, keyboard instruction, comparative arts and liturgical worship. 

Richard met Gloria Bonnin in 1959, when both became professors at Concordia. They were married Aug. 20, 1960.  They lived in Melrose Park, IL, and have three children: Kathryn (Brewer) of Oak Park, IL, Virginia Hillert of River Grove, IL, and Jonathan Hillert of Houston, TX.  They have five grandchildren. 

Richard and Gloria traveled widely, including cruises and vacations to all seven continents. As Richard traveled the world, so has his music.  People throughout the world have been blessed by his quiet witness and his music, which reaches many more people than he ever expected.  His influence continues through the multitudes of students, musicians and worshiping Christians with whom he shared his gifts. 

An entire generation of worshiping Christians has expressed its faith and sung its praise through the music of Hillert.  His gift of singable music enables worshippers to find their voice so they, singing with all the people of God, may ‘join in the hymn of all creation.’ 

Memorials may be given to the Richard Hillert Award in Composition Fund, Concordia University Chicago, 7400 Augusta Street, River Forest, IL 60305 or the Richard Hillert Memorial for the Grace Lutheran Church & School Music Endowment Fund. Grace Lutheran Church & School, 7300 Division Street, River Forest, IL 60305 



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