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Barry Hillmer


Barry Raymond Hillmer passed away at his home in Grand Rapids, Michigan on September 10th with his son by his side. Barry was born on May 3rd, 1946, in Flushing, NY, to Raymond and Dorothea Hillmer. Barry is survived by his son, Rory Hillmer. He is preceded in death by his parents; Dorothea & Raymond Hillmer.

Barry grew up in New Hyde Park, New York. In 1968, Barry graduated from Lafayette College where he studied history and enlisted in the ROTC the following year. Barry served in the U.S. Military as a second and first lieutenant for two years. In that time, he was awarded a Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Air Medal for his overseas military service in the Vietnam War.

After his military service, Barry lived in Indianapolis, Chicago, and Grand Rapids.  He worked at Stanley Black & Decker before starting his own business, Hillmer Marketing Inc. and later went on to join Impact Group.

Barry enjoyed golfing with his son and friends in leagues around Grand Rapids. He enjoyed traveling the world to Australia, Ireland, Thailand, Hawaii, the Caribbean and more. Barry also loved his students and teaching English as a Second Language. Most of all, Barry enjoyed hearing and sharing good stories, wine, and coffee with his family and friends.

An evening visitation will be held at O’Brien Gerst Funeral Home, 3980 Cascade Rd. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546, on Wednesday, September 15th from 6:00PM-8:00PM. Services will be held at St. Robert of Newminster Parish, 6477 Ada Dr SE, Ada, MI 49301, on Thursday morning, September 16th at 11:00AM with an onsite lunch to follow. Interment will take place Friday, September 17th with military honors at Fort Custer National Cemetery at 11:00AM.

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35 Responses

  1. TO my forever brother…the interaction of our lives has been since 1958…never ending…never lost…never forgotten…You will be in my heart, thoughts and life until my last breath is drawn..

    your forever brother Albert

  2. A good friend since the days at New Hyde Park Memorial High School ~ a better friend as the years have passed. Loved by many I’m certain that Heaven is an even more joyful place with you entering.
    Until we meet again Barry ~ we will continue celebrating you with Long Island crumb cake ❤

  3. A wonderful man… plain snd simple. Barry was kind, caring, sincere, genuine…and generous, and oh so loyal to his classmates of 1964.
    I will miss seeing Barry. I’ve know him since grammar school living down the block from him.
    Always a gentleman, upbeat and a man of faith.
    And how he loved Hummel Hummel crumb cake! Drove an hour each way to bring it to our gathering the day after our reunion!
    Beautiful memories of a truly special man. I’ll miss you, Barry. ❤️

  4. You will be sorely missed. I’ll always remember your smiling eyes and kind spirit. Rest in peace. Job well done. Thank you for your service.

  5. From our days together in Boy Scout Troop 298, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in New Hyde Park, LI, New York. So hard to believe you are gone Barry. Gone perhaps, but not forgotten. Keep smiling Bary. You will be missed. 🙁

  6. Lets all remember the enjoyment we had knowing a warm sincere person that never had something harsh to say about anyone and always careful not to annoy someone when there might be a disagreement on a subject matter. Truly a classy guy.
    From School band and the laughs we had in Memorial, to the American patriot serving during the Vietnam War. God bless you my friend, hope to see you again on the “other side”

  7. I cannot anything to what has already been said except, what a great guy, and a pleasure to have known.

  8. This is very sad for me. The last time I saw him at the UClub he told me of his health challenge.

    I always felt better after talking to him, such a kind and generous spirit. I will miss his joyful attitude and his bright sparkly eyes.

    A true gentleman.

  9. From our very first meeting in California for the Christmas holidays a few years back, to our White Christmas in Saugatuck just a few months ago, you have been a blessing in our lives. Your kind and thoughtful ways, generosity and loving spirit will be etched in our hearts forever. We are so PROUD to call your son Rory our own, as he is about to marry our daughter.. What an honor to have our families joined together. We will toast and laugh again when we meet in Heaven, until then dear friend God Bless you always and thank you for the wonderful memories.
    With much love
    Shawn and Ellena Cassidy

  10. I never met Barry, but after reading all the stories, it seems like he was a wonderful guy.
    My brother Shawn informed his whole family
    about Rory’s dad passing. Shawn’s daughter, Molly is engaged to Rory. My heart really goes out to Rory. He had a fantastic dad, who raised his son right. I’m glad that Rory was with his dad when he passed. I recently lost my dad and even though he was almost 90 years old it was still so painful and hard to say goodbye. All I can say is, it takes time to heal from this kind of loss, until you learn to carry him in your heart…and the pain will slowly go away. Rory, we are praying for you and everybody that new and loved him.♥️

  11. I will miss you Barry. You were always a fun person to be around. You had an infectious smile and joyful attitude about life. You always made people around you feel like they were special. You are and and always were a “Good Man” . Though your life here is done ,you will not be forgotten . God Bless you and your family. I hope we will meet again someday. May the Peace of the Lord be with you always.

  12. My message to Rory Hillmer, the Hillmer family, and all of the loved ones and dear friends of Barry Hillmer – is one of deep sympathy over the loss of a fine man, who had many friends and was a true patriot, who served his country well.
    Barry Hillmer will be dearly missed, as we all can clearly see, from the outpouring of tributes from so many of us who knew him.
    Rest in Peace, Barry. It’s sort of like you’re now at that ‘reunion in the sky’.
    Carolyn DeFoe Reiss

  13. Barry,
    You and I have been friends since 1982 and I was honored to be in your Wedding Party.
    Your kindness to the world will be missed…
    Until we meet again…their is a large hole in my heart…
    Much love,
    Dan and Jeanne

  14. I met Barry in 1958 in 7th grade. His mom gave us the key to the NHP Road School where she taught and we would go there at night and shoot baskets, School chums and later we worked together at Clinton G Martin Park in the summers….A wonderful kind human being who never had a bad word to say about anyone. I hope his family and all his classmates from the Class of 64′ especially his closest friend Albert…and all of us will be sustained by all our wonderful memories of this special man.

  15. A truely unselfish person. I am so glad I can think back to sharing time with him at the previous reunion. So long Barry.

  16. It has been our privilege to have shared an enduring friendship with Barry over thirteen years since we first bought a home in Rockford MI, where we spent time twice a year on our visits to family. The cross-Atlantic ties never weakened and Barry spent much time here with us in N. Ireland – trips on his own, with his dear friend, Joe, and his beloved son, Rory. …for whom we will continue to pray during all the difficult days of ahead. The link is severed but not in our hearts, and the memories held dear.

  17. Dear Rory: Your Dad, Barry, was an outstanding person. I had the honor of recruiting him to teach at the Holy Name of Jesus English as a Second Language program many years ago. He touched so many of his students’ lives and mentored so many! One always knew where Barry’s class was… it was the room full of students laughing together and sharing their daily struggles. He had some of the best attendance records, students didn’t want to miss a class with him. He was so dedicated, even coming to teach straight off a plane from a business trip.
    He was so proud of you Rory and spoke of you often. He lit up talking about your travel and adventures together.
    He will be missed but never forgotten.

  18. Barry will be surely missed by many! He always welcomed you with a big smile and a gentlemanly handshake. He brought light into the room no matter the circumstances. May his soul rest in comfort
    with those that have gone before him.

  19. Barry,

    Even though we knew that your passing was inevitable, we were devastated when we got the news. I still find it hard to believe that we will never see you again, but I suppose the reality will hit when you do not make your annual weekly trip to Newport during the Memorial Day week.
    Our friendship goes back to 1969 when we first met at Office Basic Training at Ft. Benning and it only got stronger throughout the years. I always felt that I was the closest of all the army buddies to you. You and I both got prostate cancer, but I was lucky to have mine discovered before it spread. You and I went to Australia on leave together while in Vietnam, lived and worked together on our last assignment at Ft. Bragg, and we were both stationed in the Delta in Vietnam. I’ll bet the other guys felt the same way as that was the way you were- you made everyone feel like you were their best friend!!
    Your wit, charm, generosity, love for adventure and life, and loyalty were unparalleled!!
    We think about you every day and will miss you tremendously!!!
    Love to you Barry,
    Tim & Christine

  20. I got to know Barry over the years seeing him at Meijer working. We always shared a strong hand shake and a good conversation. He was always so positive and happy. I will really miss seeing him. Rest in peace Barry.

  21. Saw Barry at the 50th my last reunion i attended. To leave such a lasting impression with so many . . . He was a true friend to all. My fellow Classmate, Viet-Vet . . . May God keep you well.

  22. I was fortunate to teach with Barry as a volunteer ESL teacher for over 5 years. He was warm and welcoming and I always enjoyed working with him. I pray that his memory will be a blessing.

  23. Barry the last time we saw each other was at the cancer center about a month ago. We had a meaningful conversation about your treatment. I could tell you were very uncomfortable and you were hopeful that another type of treatment would help take the pain away. Our Lord wanted to take you home. Now you are pain free!
    We were on the West Michigan Marketing Association board together for many many years where we got to know each other.working on all the projects and events. You were always a kind friend. I’ll miss you buddy!!

  24. I was fortunate to have known and worked with Barry for over 25 years. Barry was a humble man and always made me laugh and smile, and really good golfer too.
    You and Rory were always in our thoughts and prayers and truly a special man and dear friend. You will be missed by everyone at Deroma and by all the people you have touched over the years in your business life.. God bless you, riposare in pace amico mio

  25. We were and remain the best of friends. Barry was an extremely intelligent and an artful conversationalist. He struck up conversations with everyone within his perview and made friends effortlessly. He never lost an opportunity to have breakfast, lunch or dinner with friends and did so many times per week. He took very good care of his friends by finding what was important to them. He lent a kind or caring word always at an appropriate moment. He made people feel important and that they mattered. The many charities that he championed were a great love of his and he was very active with each of them. He was the best what humankind can be and we will greatly miss him.

  26. I never met Rory; however, my niece, Molly who is engaged to Rory’s son ,Rory.These two means so much to us. I thank you all for sharing these stories about Rory ,what a wonderful man, Dad and father.He was loved and appreciated by everyone. May God bless his family and friends and help their hearts to heal. May God bring you all peace and comfort during this difficult time . May the wonderful memories he created with each of you continued to be shared and remembered.

  27. Dear Rory, There are no words. Losing a parent hurts. Besides the comfort that our heavenly Father provides, I pray you’ll find comfort in knowing all the lives your dad touched and his impact. Your dad was as close to a brother as I will ever know. He was my angel when I needed one the most. From the moment he walked into our little coffee shop on Plainfield, he and I become instant FRENZ. That friendship covered so many great times that I will cherish forever. His generosity and “old school” gentleman personality will always be how I remember him. I will be in touch soon. Our prayers to you and those who feel the void his departure has left. We celebrate His union in heaven.

  28. You will be missed, thank you for putting up with little sisters that just adored you. My sister and I still sing our we love you Barry song.

  29. Dear Rory and Family (this includes Barry’s Army Buddies, too)

    We are so sorry for your lose … this has been devastating for us and for all our high school classmates from New Hyde Park Memorial Class of 1964.

    Rich ate lunch with Barry for many years in the cafeteria. Peg and Barry were in driver’s ed together. I remember watching Barry and Whit Van Cott playing tennis together and now they are both in Heaven, having the time of their lives, I’m sure.

    We are so sorry we did not know how sick Dad was but so glad Rory cared for him until the end.

    Barry were always a PRINCE to us and we looked forward to seeing him at reunions … he will be sorely missed.

    God bless you, dear friend … until we meet again.

  30. We had lots of fun together. Whether touring London on the Tube, rafting the Colorado river through Utah or the Grand Canyon. Always enjoyed sharing a glass of wine and a good meal. Yo will be missed!

  31. so sorry or your loss Rory. I was a classmate of Barry’s and remember talking with him at our last reunion. He as very excited about travelling with you. A very fine man.

  32. I knew Barry Hillmer. I worked with Barry Hillmer. Barry Hillmer was a friend of mine.

    I’m that respect, I am very fortunate.

  33. It is now May, 2023. I wish I had known of Barry’s passing at the time. Barry and I lived on the same street and was my closest friend at New Hyde Park H.S. We kept in touch sporadically over the years. A good friend indeed…Donald Day

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