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Obituary of Jim Hillegass II
“Citius. Altius. Fortius.” James “Jim” Edgar Hillegass, II aka “Chief”, lived a life of strength, endurance, and courage before passing away on February 27, 2023 at the age of 81.
Jim was born on May 18, 1941 to Mary (nee Grimes) and James Hillegass in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. He had a full, loving upbringing as the oldest brother of nine children, and he worked hard to help support the family through his paper route and daily shifts at the local A & P Grocery Store.
After graduating from Bishop Kenny High School, he attended Catholic University in Washington DC where he met the love of his life, Louise Howard. Her southern drawl, beauty, and charm captivated him at their first meeting, and their 50 year marriage endured until her death in 2013.
As an ROTC program college participant, he bravely served as an officer in the United States Air Force in the Vietnam War, earning many medals and commendations. Upon his return to civilian life, he flourished. He was President of the Sertoma Club, a fourth degree member of the Knights of Columbus, a Life Master in bridge, an active member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jacksonville, a college instructor of advanced level physics and mathematics, and an accomplished electrical engineer who worked on many prestigious projects including the NASA space shuttles.
“Chief” was a man of fun, family, and faith who was not afraid to try anything once including owning a pizza restaurant, investing in a tree farm, and slalom skiing at the lake house. He even dabbled in chemistry and do-it-yourself home projects at a high altitude. Finally, he would want us to remind everyone to say the rosary and read the Bible, especially the book of Malachi.
He is predeceased by his wife, parents, and brother, George. He is survived by his son, James Hillegass III (Sheree nee Pike) of Vinemont, Alabama; his daughter, Vera Muzzillo (Greg) of Tampa, Florida; his daughter, Lee Parr (Bill) of West Point, Georgia; his daughter Katherine Maxwell (Stan) of Tampa, Florida; and his son, Steven Hillegass (Julie nee Check) of Tampa, Florida; his eighteen grandchildren and their spouses; his eleven great grandchildren; and his seven brothers, sisters, and their families.
A Service will be held at Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia on Thursday, March 2, 2023. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in his name to the Alzheimer’s Association.To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Jim Hillegass II , please visit our Tree Store