Hilary (Marilyn Kay Hilyar) Ward, wife of Thomas E. Ward, passed away October 25, 2019, after a courageous fight with Pancreatic Cancer.
Hilary was born on January 9, 1948, to the late Mike and Alice Hilyar, of Crosby, Minnesota. The family moved to Alice’s hometown of Tryon, North Carolina, when Hilary was four years old. For much of her childhood, Hilary lived with her parents in Oak Hall Hotel which was owned by her Aunt Clara Edwards. Here she learned all about Southern graces and family traditions.
Upon graduating from high school, she completed her undergraduate degree at Winthrop College and started her teaching career in December of 1969. After a few years of teaching, she continued her “real life” education by traveling cross-country for almost two years; in a VW van, of course! She then returned to Columbia, began teaching in Richland County School District Two, and completed her M.Ed. at The University of South Carolina. Hilary taught 6th grade social studies at Bethel-Hanberry Middle School and Summit Parkway Middle School until she retired in 2011.
The consummate teacher, Hilary loved her students and they loved her! One of her greatest honors was in 1988 when her peers named her “Teacher of the Year”. Hilary always welcomed her students with love, respect and compassion. Her ability to weave a story made history come alive…props, costumes and a terrific sense of humor helped as well!
Hilary is survived by her husband, Tom Ward, two daughters: Pamela Trussell and Michelle DuBose and grandchildren: Austin Trussell, Alyssa Trussell, Ren DuBose, Riley DuBose, and Ansley DuBose. Her family also includes a number of cousins and a host of loving friends including Jeanne and Rhett Eleazer and her dear former colleagues, “The YaYas.”
A service to celebrate the life of Hilary Ward will be held at 3:00 pm, Friday, November 1, at Bethel United Methodist Church, 4600 Daniel Drive, Columbia, SC.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Hilary can be made to The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, 1500 Rosecrans Ave, Suite 200, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266.