Phyllis Joan Hiller
1929 - 2020
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Hiller, Phyllis Joan 4/22/1929 - 10/17/1920 Saline, Michigan Aged 91, died peacefully with her family at her side on Saturday, October 17, 2020. Phyllis was born April 22, 1929 in Detroit, the only child of first-generation Polish-American parents Joseph Roman Golus and Cecelia Marie Przybylski. A proud Detroiter, Phyllis referred to herself as 'a city girl' and lived in the same Bedford Rd house until the day she married. She always fondly recalled the dynamic city of her youth including a high school summer job at the 33-level J.L. Hudson Company headquarters where one of her duties was typing up the order of the floats in the Thanksgiving Day Parade, dancing at the large outdoor dance clubs where all the Big Band leaders played, and going everywhere by streetcar and bus. Phyllis graduated from Dominican High School and Marygrove College and in 1951 was hired by the St Claire Shores Schools as a kindergarten teacher in the days when that meant a class of 50 children in the morning and another 50 in the afternoon. She was introduced to her future husband, John James (Jim) Hiller, at a University of Detroit Law School mixer and remembers the moment as "we just clicked." Phyllis and Jim were married August 20, 1955 at St Matthew Catholic Church in Detroit by the same priest who had married Jim's parents 30 years earlier. Their union lasted 61 years until Jim's death in 2016. After the births of her children Phyllis became a stay-at-home mother until they entered grade school and she returned to teaching in the Ann Arbor Public Schools for 22 years, first at Lakewood Elementary, and later Lawton Elementary until she retired. Phyllis loved teaching, the children, and the dedication and camaraderie of the faculty and staff at both Lakewood and Lawton. In her retirement years, Phyllis earned her Master Gardener certificate and spent many happy years volunteering in the greenhouses at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. She and Jim also traveled throughout the U.S. and explored much of the U.K. and Ireland. But it was time spent babysitting and watching her granddaughters grow into remarkable adults that truly was the highlight of her later years. She is survived by her daughter, Anne; son, Steve (Wendy); granddaughters, Lydia of Chicago, Illinois and Madeleine of Anaheim, California; sister-in-law, Ann DeFoe; nieces, Betsy Smith and Martha Baron; and cousin, Ralph Golus. A private family burial has taken place and a celebration of Phyllis' life will be held in 2021 when social contact is once again safe. For those wishing to honor Phyllis' memory, the family requests you reach out to a teacher who influenced your life or make a donation to the Matthaei Botanical Gardens' Gaffield Children's Garden Endowment Fund (798730). The family would like to thank the staff at Balfour Senior Living for the welcoming and gracious community environment and the Palliative Care team at University Hospital and Arbor Hospice for the compassionate care she received during her brief final illness.


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Published in Ann Arbor News from Oct. 22 to Oct. 25, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
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3 entries
October 27, 2020
Mrs. Hiller was my 4th grade teacher at Lakewood. She was incredibly kind and made me like going to school. I’ll never forget visiting her at her house and sitting in her living room. She listened attentively and made you feel like you were very important..her laugh was wonderful too!!
Erin Lindstrom (Hoey)
Student
October 23, 2020
Steve & Anne, Sue & I are saddened at your mothers passing.
Your parents were both outstanding neighbors and friends.
May your fond memories of your mother help you through this time of sorrow.
Max & Sue Supica
Max Supica
October 23, 2020
My condolences to the family into son Steve whom I’ve known for many years. Phyllis was indeed a remarkable, and beautiful woman, a life well lived!
Nick Roumel
Coworker
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