James H. Hillis of Charlotte, NC, died peacefully Thursday evening, June 27, 2014 at 11:45 p.m. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather.
Born January 22, 1925 in Columbia, SC, Mr. Hillis was the son of the late Edmund Harvey Hillis and Crayton Hammond Hillis Palmgren. He attended the Charlotte City school system and was a member of the Central High School’s Class of 1943. He furthered his education at Carnegie Tech as well as NC State University and later graduated from the Citadel following his return from WWII.
During WWII, Mr. Hillis flew with the 20th Bombardier group of the Air Force in the Pacific. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, five Air medals, the Purple Heart and a Naval letter of Commendation.
After graduating from the Citadel, Mr. Hillis had a long and very successful career with General Motors in several major U.S. cities. He returned to Charlotte in 1977 and eventually retired here. He was married to the love of his life, Nancy Stitt Hillis, for 67 years. Nancy passed away in December of 2012.
Mr. Hillis is survived by his two sons, Edmund Harvey Hillis II and his wife Connie of Greensboro, NC and Charles Palmer Hillis of Charlotte. His daughter, Nancy Allyson Hillis, passed away in 2009 after her battle with pancreatic cancer.
He has five grandchildren: James Christopher Hillis and his wife Paige of Greenville, SC, Brandon Palmer Hillis of Winston-Salem, NC, Palmer Hillis of Nashville, TN and Tyler Thompson Hillis of Detroit, MI; as well as his first great grandchild, Caden Keenum Hillis, son of Chris and Paige Hillis.
Mr. Hillis is also survived by his sister, Sally Brennison of Tryon, NC. His other sister, Frances Allitto of Santa Anna, CA passed away ninety days ago.
Funeral services will be held at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church where he was a member.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Ally’s House (www.AlleysHouse.net) in Burnsville, NC, a child advocacy center named for his daughter, Allyson Hillis, who was instrumental in pioneering its founding, or to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 115 W. 7th St., Charlotte, NC 28202.
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