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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Local businesses pay tribute to Bill Hillman

by Sylene Argent

“You never really know the impact someone has on your life until they are gone,” Michelle Getty, Manager at the Essex St. Vincent de Paul Society Shoppe wrote on a display she and her coworkers put up at the entrance of the local resale store to pay tribute to a beloved friend and client, Bill Hillman.

  Hillman, of Essex, passed away at the age of 74 after a collision on Highway # 3 on January 23.

  Getty and her coworkers were moved to tears last week as they shared memories of Hillman, who they noted frequented the local establishment. Hillman, she said, did not often buy anything, unless it was Detroit Tigers or Red Wings memorabilia, but would often pop in just to see how everyone was doing.

  “He would be a constant ray of sunshine,” Society Shoppe employee Faith Steed said. “When he walked in, it would brighten our spirits. He genuinely wanted to know how we were doing. He was more of a family member, not just a customer.

  “He knew [the Society Shoppe] was a place of care and comfort. That’s why he kept coming back.”

  Getty said Hillman would always come in with a smile on his face and would talk about his grown children and his grandkids. He was always on his way to one of his grandkid’s soccer or hockey games.

  “We adopted him after his wife [ Mabel] passed away a few years ago, and he adopted us. We have a lot of wonderful customers, but Bill had a special place in our hearts,” Getty said. 

  “He never left without giving us a hug,” Getty added. “He would even wait for us to finish with a customer. We miss his hugs.”

  Getty added that many customers have come into the Society Shoppe and took pics of the memorial they created for Hillman.

  Displays were also placed inside Shoppers Drug Mart and the Tim Hortons at Maidstone Avenue and Talbot Street.  

  Hillman’s friend, John Markovich, added a hockey puck to the memorial that was created at the Tim Hortons. He said Hillman would sit with a few guys there every morning.  

Hillman’s family expressed their appreciation for the tributes put up in their father’s honour.


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