BOUNTIFUL — One week after Elder Harold G. Hillam died at the age of 77, his family and friends gathered Monday to celebrate his fruitful life during a midday memorial service at an LDS stake center in Bountiful, Utah.
Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve delivered the closing remarks at the service for Elder Hillam, an emeritus general authority and former member of the Presidency of the Seventy. In addition to Elder Perry, other general authorities in attendance Monday included Elders Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oaks and M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve and Elders Ronald A. Rasband and Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy.
Speaking to Elder Hillam's grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Elder Perry said, "You have such a great and noble example to follow, one so dedicated to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Elder Hillam) was willing to drop anything at anytime and go wherever he was called to fulfill his assignment."
Fond flashlight memories
Elder Hillam is survived by his wife, Carol, and their seven children: Linda (Maddox), Rodney, Bonnie (Cordon), Glenn, Mark, Ryan and Jared.
All seven children spoke briefly at Monday's memorial service, and a recurring thread of their recollections about their father is a fondness for his work ethic and patience, as manifest in the instruction he delivered to his children about the proper handling and operation of flashlights.
"I'm a graduate of the Harold Hillam School of Flashlight Holding — and all of my siblings hold the same degree," Mark Hillam said. "When we were young up in Idaho, Dad would be working on something late at night and he would have us shine a flashlight on what he was trying to work on — and I say 'trying' because most of the time he worked in darkness while we focused on something more interesting.
"What was fantastic — and it's a great lesson he taught us throughout his life — is he would reach over and he would say, 'Son, I'm working over here.' And then he would grab the flashlight and position it just the way he needed it. He'd grab our hands, and then have us hold the light right there. This was just one of the first lessons that he taught — to help us shine the light on the problem, and then focus and work together on resolving those problems at hand."
A brother's eulogy
Elder Hillam's younger brother, Arnold, offered a eulogy full of interesting vignettes. A few examples:
"Harold was an orthodontist by profession and had an outstanding practice at the time he was extended the call (in 1981) to serve as mission president in Lisbon, Portugal. He served in many civic capacities, including member of the Kiwanis Club in Idaho Falls (and) president of the Teton Peaks Council of the Boy Scouts of America, from which his Eagle Scout and Silver Beaver were awarded to him. Harold was also coordinator of the enormous, massive clean-up process after the Teton Dam disaster in southeast Idaho (in 1976)."
"He had an extraordinary ability to instill in others a vision of what could be accomplished and a genuine desire to do it. Even as a young boy, he was successful in convincing me to give up my Halloween candy so that we could give it away to trick-or-treaters who came by our front door."
"He loved the beautiful country of Yellowstone Park and spent many summers there as a boy with his family. Later, while attending the former Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) he worked as a fishing guide in Yellowstone Park. He knew all the best places to fish Yellowstone Lake; however, his best catch while working at Yellowstone was that of the beautiful, sweet Carol Rasmussen. They met one summer at Lake Lodge in sacrament meeting."
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company