BENJAMIN ROWNEN HILLYER passed away suddenly on Thursday, July 9, 2020 at the age of 28 years.
Ben is survived by his parents Jim and Marianne Hillyer, his twin brother Dave (Sherieen), younger sister Kathlynn, older brothers Fred (Peggy), Bob (Janelle), Tom (Villa), Dan (Nicole), Johannes (Megan), Russell (Bethany), sister -in-law, Livi, sisters, Patti (Matt Smith), Becca (Daniel Lee), Marianne Porter, and Heidi (Anson Carter,)
Nephews and nieces: Megan, Hannah, Kirsten, Liza, Haley, Hunter Hillyer; London (Musfirah), Taylor, Nation, Asia Hillyer; Sara (Jacob McBride), James (Erika), Mabel, Marina, Lucy, Tommy Hillyer; Allan, Dara, Teresa Hillyer; Jane (Stoney Carson), Ben, Evan, James, Charles, Wesley, Anna, Bekah, Henry, Calvin Smith; Josh, Amber, Meadow, Adam, Owen Lee; Madison, Georgia, Beth, Emma Hillyer; Hadley, Brian, Elijah, Sam, Nellie, Johnny, Anne Hillyer; Eden, Grace Porter; Cache, Calli, Carbon, Cumorah Carter; Bobby, Lucia, Laurel, Hope, Jo Hillyer. His birth father Wes Hillyer, as well as many Aunts, Uncles and Cousins.
Ben is the 13th child in the Hillyer home and called himself "Lucky 13". He was born 3 minutes after his twin brother Dave. He was a fighter from the minute he was born he had to struggle for his first breath. He and his brother brought so much joy and happiness to our family from the moment we set eyes on them. They were born with disabilities that effected some of their ability to learn at the same pace as others their age, but Ben was an over achiever when it came to capacity to love. He made a very big difference to his siblings with his unconditional love for everyone. He hugged and kissed freely and would grab our faces, look us in our eyes and say "I love you". As his parent, he taught me to be more affectionate -- not only to him, but also the rest of the children. Because of Ben, I learned to say "I love you" freely, which was something I had struggled to do before. Dave copied him shortly. Our family learned to show love for one another.
Ben's Indigenous name, given to him by his birth mother, was 'Happy Singer'. He sang every day all day. Ben loved watching musicals such as; "Fiddler on the Roof, Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat, and Michael Jackson's Thriller" every day, all day, till he new all the words to all the songs and could emulate Jackson's dance moves. He loved showing off to his sisters' girl friends and steal the show at dances. In preschool, his teachers knew getting Ben to stop bursting out in song was as hard as asking him to stop breathing. In Kindergarten he learned to hum so he wouldn't get into trouble for being too loud. Sadly, he eventually had to learn to sing inside his head.
He struggled to learn arithmetic, but learned to read from listening to his mother read story after story to get Ben and Dave to get to sleep. He amazed his English teacher when he was in junior high because he knew all the stories of the Greek Gods. We had paperback comic versions of many classics, which Ben loved reading, and was able to remember all the stories.
Ben loved to help others. Adults he worked with enjoyed his company. He helped his older siblings move out. He and Dave became experts in moving and stacking furniture quickly and carefully. He loved and was very skillful in art. He worked hard and took pride in building a healthy body, which he kept up for years. His nephews all wanted to learn his muscle building techniques.
Only as Ben hit adulthood did he tell anyone about the abuse he had endured starting at age 6. He was told he would die if he said anything to anyone. He suffered alone and afraid. He was ultimately diagnosed with suffering PTSD, and other disabling mental illness. He didn't believe that. Over a decade and a half of trying to fight his demons, he wasn't strong enough to go on.
We need to be more aware of the broken vessels in our midst and convince them of their great worth by believing they are. Ben loved unconditionally, but could not believe that he was worthy of being loved unconditionally.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, a Private Family Graveside Service will be held.
To send flowers to Benjamin's family, please visit our floral store.