Tony Hillerman

Tony Hillerman

Sacred Heart, Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, USA
Death 26 Oct 2008 (aged 83)
Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, New Mexico, USA
Burial Santa Fe, Santa Fe County, New Mexico, USA
Plot 20-1587
Memorial ID 30905532 · View Source
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Author. Born Anthony Grove Hillerman, the youngest child of Lucy Grove and August A. Hillerman. He was one of several farm children to attend St. Mary's Academy a school established for Potawatomie girls near Asher, Oklahoma where he developed a lifelong respect for Indian cultures. He attended the the University of Oklahoma, leaving in 1943 to join the Army, serving with the 103rd Infantry Division. He was severely wounded in battle and was awarded a Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, a Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart. In 1948 he married Marie Unzner, the couple had one child together and adopted another five. His career included work as a reporter for the Borger News Herald in Borger, Texas, city editor for the Morning Press-Constitution in Lawton, Oklahoma, political reporter for UPI in Oklahoma City , UPI bureau manager in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and editor for the Santa Fe New Mexican. After obtaining a graduate degree, he joined the faculty at the University of New Mexico in 1966 where he taught for twenty years. It was during his tenure at the University that he published his first novels; 'The Boy Who Made Dragonfly' and 'The Blessing Way' featuring Lt. Joe Leaphorn a non-traditional Navajo in 1970. A counterpoint character, Officer Jim Chee, who was studying to become a Navajo shaman, was introduced in 'People of Darkness' in 1978. The two characters where showcased in eighteen novels, appearing together for the first time in 'Skinwalkers' published in 1987 which was followed by 'A Thief of Time' which made numerous best seller lists. That same year the Navajo Tribal Council honored him with its Special Friend of the Diné award, which he accepted with great pride. Other novels included 'Talking God' in 1989 and 'The Coyote Waits' in 1990. The Mystery Writers of America awarded him its highest honor, the Grandmaster Award in 1991 and in 1993 he was also inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame. In 2001 he published 'Buster Mesquite's Cowboy Band,' a children's book, and his memoirs, 'Seldom Disappointed' for which he won the Agatha Award for Best Non-Fiction. He also edited or contributed to more than a dozen other books including mystery and history anthologies as well as books on the craft of writing. His efforts were rewarded with the Golden Spur Award from Western Writers of America and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America, which elected him its president. Ill health dogged him in later years, wounds received during the war continued to cause him pain and eventually led to arthritis, he also survived two heart attacks and surgeries for prostate and bladder cancer, though he never stopped writing. His last novels were 'Skeleton Man,' published in 2004, and 'The Shape Shifter' in 2006. He succumbed to pulmonary failure at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque at age 83.

Bio by: Iola

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: No Guts, No Glory
  • Added: 26 Oct 2008
  • Find a Grave Memorial 30905532
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Tony Hillerman (27 May 1925–26 Oct 2008), Find a Grave Memorial no. 30905532, citing Santa Fe National Cemetery, Santa Fe, Santa Fe County, New Mexico, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .