Beth Maija Hilliker

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Beth Maija Hilliker passed away at the House of the Dove, a Ministry Health Care hospice facility in Marshfield, May 15, 2012. Diagnosed with cancer in December 1998, Beth waged a long and uncommonly courageous battle with her illness for almost 14 years, never failing to live each moment of her life to the fullest.

Beth spent her childhood in Wisconsin Rapids, the daughter of Frank D. and Yvonne L. Tomsyck. She graduated from Lincoln High School and went on to earn a political science degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Following college, Beth worked in Washington, D.C., for U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, various industry trade associations, and the National Community Development Association. Beth lived in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Boulder, Colo., and Walnut Creek, Calif., before moving back to Wisconsin and marrying Richard L. Hilliker on Aug. 16, 1995. Beth quickly immersed herself in the Black River Falls community, where she served in leadership positions with the local Arts Alliance, the library board, and the Karner Blue Garden Club. She also served as a substitute teacher. Beth loved to travel and had a special knack for arranging attractive travel plans for family and friends, which she greatly enjoyed.

Beth is survived by her husband, Richard; her children, Ian R. Golladay of Portland, Ore., and Maija G. (Pat) Costello of Minneapolis; stepchildren, Mark (Angie Heuck) Hilliker (grandchildren, Grant and Anna) of Stevens Point, Kristin Hilliker (grandchildren, Nathan and Elizabeth Hartung) of Tomah, and Daniel (Terri Allred) Hilliker (grandchildren, Dylan and Jack) of Rochester, Minn.; her mother, Yvonne L. Tomsyck of Wisconsin Rapids; stepmother, Edie Tomsyck of Brookfield; and siblings, Guy Tomsyck (nephews Teymour and Matteo) of Houston, Texas, Keene (Sandee) Tomsyck (nieces, Addie and Mallory) of Boulder, Colo., and Troy (Andrew) Ringel (niece, Haden) of Denver, Colo. Beth was preceded in death by her father, Frank D. Tomsyck of Brookfield.

Beth was well-known for her high energy level and the organization and dispatch with which she took on any task. She had a smile that could light up a room, and she kept it to the very end. Beth immersed herself in her adopted community and soon knew more people and detail about the Black River Falls area than most who were born and raised there. She played an important role in the family Christmas tree farms, and particularly enjoyed pontoon boating on the Black River with family and friends. In the last few months of her life, despite considerable discomfort, she managed to travel and visit with friends in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (twice); Hilton Head, S.C.; and Sarasota, Fla.; as well as playing an important role in her daughter, Maija's, wedding to Patrick Costello in St. Paul on March 10, 2012. Both family and friends have drawn strength and inspiration from Beth's fine example of living with unusual courage, determination and grace. She was truly one-of-a-kind.

A visitation will be held for Beth from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursday, May 24, at the United Methodist Church in Black River Falls; with a memorial service to follow.

Memorials should be designated to the Karner Blue Garden Club of Black River Falls, in care of Christine Hagen, N5335 Hill Road, Black River Falls, Wis. 54615.

Beth would want to acknowledge the excellent care that she received for over 13 years under the direction of Dr. Stuart Tipping of the Marshfield Clinic, as well as Dr. Gayle and the entire staff of the Oncology Dept. Beth's family also would like to thank her excellent palliative care physician, Dr. Tomacz Okon, also of the Marshfield Clinic, and the entire staff of the Ministry Hospice staff at the House of the Dove for the continual care that she received during her short stay there.

Finally, Beth would want to be remembered to her favorite aunt, LuVerne Conway, of Sarasota, Fla., who played a very important role in her life.

Published in Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune from May 18 to May 19, 2012
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