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Don O. Hillis
July 25, 1954 - December 30, 2021
Don O. Hillis, age 67 of LeRoy, Michigan passed away Thursday, December 30, 2021 surrounded by his loving family. Don was born in Cheboygan, Michigan on July 25, 1954, the son of Orlo Hillis and Marion (Donnelly) Hillis, both preceded in death.
Don was a lifelong resident of Morley, Michigan and attended Morley Community Schools. As a junior in High School, Don enlisted during the draft, to the United States Army-Army National Guard during the Vietnam War era. He was honorably discharged in 1972, but only after being decorated, as an expert in pistol and as sharpshooter with an M-16.
Don had many jobs and passions; he joined the Morley Fire Department as a young man, and stayed with the department for 49.5 years. During his years at the Department, he served as a Firefighter, Captain and Assistant Chief. Don worked for Road Equipment as a welder, he served the Village of Morley as a Deputy for Mecosta County, and then went on to own and operate a dairy farm for 11 years. Don being the entrepreneur he was; while farming, started working as a truck driver for L&D Carey and eventually started his own trucking company, Don Hillis and Son. After a number of years in the gravel industry, Don decided to expand the trucking business and sell the family farm. In 1993, Don and his then wife, Debra (Arndt) Kelley started Hillis Bros. Trucking, Inc. The company changed names when it became incorporated, to honor his brother Dan, who preceded him in death. Hillis Bros. has been a long-standing business, in the Morley area for the past 29 years. Today, the business is run by his former wife, Debra (Arndt) Kelly and daughter, Amy Hillis-Ouellette.
Don donated his time and resources to teaching local youth gun safety and competition shooting. Don himself enjoyed competition shooting events, and was an avid hunter. He was long standing member of the Mecosta County Rod and Gun Club.
Don is survived by his three children, Don (Gina) Hillis of Tennessee, Amy (Ron Davidson) Hillis-Ouellette of Morley, and Ashley Race of Morley; ten grandchildren, Drew, River, Madilyn, Pierce, Alexis, Katie, Matthew, Abigail, Brice, and Kenton; his sister, Shirley (Charlie Large) Sanders of Coral; sister-in-law, Sheila (Hank) Lingle of Morley; many nieces and nephews; and his former wife, Debra (Arndt) Kelley of Morley.
Don was preceded in death by his parents, brother Dan Hillis, sister Mary Hillis, and brother-in-law Doug Sanders.
A memorial service to celebrate Don's life will be held 1: 00 p.m. Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids with Reverend Jeremy Wicks officiating. The family will greet friends from 6: 00 p.m. to 8: 00 p.m. Tuesday, January 11th at the Funeral Home. Don will be laid to rest at Aetna Township Cemetery in Morley.
*This service will be available to listen to in the parking lot of Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home, Big Rapids. The radio station channel will be available the day of the service, please call or come in the funeral home for the information.
Memorial contributions may be made in Don's name to Morley Area Fire and Rescue Department or Mecosta County Rod and Gun Club.
The family encourages you to share a memory, picture, and leave a condolence for the family by clicking the guestbook tab at www.daggettgilbertfuneralhome.com
Published by Big Rapids News on Jan. 3, 2022.
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