RAYMOND, Alta.- James “Jim” Nation Hillyer was remembered as a passionate, loving and devoted man. There were tears, laughter and fond memories of the former Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner Member of Parliament at his funeral service Friday.
Hillyer’s older brother Fred gave his eulogy, saying Hillyer knew from a young age that he wanted to serve his country.
“Growing up, he spoke all the time of his aspirations of someday to be the Prime Minister of Canada. We didn’t even know what that meant, we thought he was making up words. He fought for it all his life, it’s what he went to school for,” Fred said.
“All the choices he made were to further that and the day he won the nomination in Lethbridge was not just proud for him, but for all of us.”
Hillyer was remembered as a passionate family man, who loved his wife and children. That dedication spilled over to his church and his community.
Hillyer was found dead in his office near Parliament Hill on Wednesday, March 23. An autopsy confirmed he died of a heart attack.
Among family and friends at there ceremony were fellow dignitaries from coast to coast. Former prime minister Stephen Harper and Conservative Party interim Leader Rona Ambrose were on hand to show support and remember Hillyer.
For those who worked alongside him, his love for his job will be forever remembered.
“We are different political stripes you know, but we are working for Canadians, Albertans in our own ways, and he was a part of our family,” said Darshan Kang, MP for Calgary- Skyline.
Rick Casson, former MP for Lethbridge, worked alongside Hillyer and said he will be greatly missed.
“You feel for a young family, a 41-year-old man, a wife and a young family, one away on a mission. It’s pretty tough and the life that he chose to lead is a pretty lonely life at times, so we are here to pay our respects and offer our condolences to the family.”
A touching musical tribute was preformed by his eight brothers, something they say he would have loved. He was a musical man and had said the next time all the brothers were together, they would sing.
The song they sang, Happy Together, was performed at his wedding and became his family theme song.
It was a final farewell to a man who served his faith, his family and his country.