Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Viola Hilliard

CHELSEA, Mich. — Viola “Vi” Hilliard, of Chelsea, passed away on Oct. 25, 2021.

Vi was born to John J. and Hilma (Sahinoja) Polkky in Hancock, on April 12, 1926. She was one of four children. The family moved to Bruce Crossing, where Mr. Polkky managed the Settlers’ Cooperative store for many years. Vi was a graduate of Ewen High School.

Vi married Carl Wallen, and they lived in Ewen for many years. Together they ran the Ewen Real Estate and Insurance Agency until Mr. Wallen’s death in 1967.

Vi married the Rev. James R. Hilliard in 1969. They lived in Footville, Wisconsin, and later in Rochester, Escanaba, Houghton Lake and Ontonagon. While in Ontonagon, they also served parishes in the communities of Ewen, Trout Creek, Rockland, Greenland, Bergland and White Pine. They “retired” to Cherokee Village, Arkansas, where they also served two United Methodist churches.

The Hilliards took their second retirement by moving to the Chelsea Retirement Community in Chelsea. Vi developed lasting friendships with other residents and staff members there. Rev. Hilliard died in 2013.

Vi was predeceased by her parents; and her siblings, Vivian (Albert) Koski, Reynold Polkky and Richard Polkky.

She is survived by nieces and nephews, Mark Koski, Susan DeLisle, Robert Koski, John Polkky, Jeff Polkky, Deborah Reid, Wayne Polkky, David Polkky, Robin Otto, John Wallen, Julie Fonner and Mary Miller; and by cousins, Jean Vassar, JoAnn Johnson, Margaret Grachek, Mary Ann Micheletti, Michael Micheletti, Carol Sangrey and Dale Micheletti.

Although Vi had not lived in Ontonagon County in many years, she still considered it her home. She carried fond memories of her many friends there, and she spoke often of the magnificent pasties and the delicious Finnish breads and pastries she so enjoyed there.

A memorial service will be conducted in Chelsea in the springtime. Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of your choice.

Condolences can be mailed to Mary Miller, 1330 E. Sunburst Lane, Tempe, AZ 85284. They will be relayed to all members of Vi’s family.