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Marie Elizabeth Hillerman

February 27, 1927 ~ February 12, 2015 (age 87)

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Marie Elizabeth Hillerman, 87, of Albuquerque's Los Ranchos, died peacefully on February 12, 2015 of an infection. She was born in Shawnee, OK on Feb. 27, 1927, the second of four children. She was always an avid reader and a life-long learner. Marie had the honor of introducing Eleanor Roosevelt when the first lady came to visit her high school. Marie graduated from the University of Oklahoma where she majored in microbiology and education. She met the love of her life for more than 60 years, Tony Hillerman, at a Newman Center dance and became a dedicated football and basketball fan (Go Sooners and Lobos!). Marie and Tony married on Aug. 16, 1948 and lived in several small towns in Texas and Oklahoma where she worked as a junior high teacher. In 1953, Tony's career as a journalist brought them and their baby Anne to Santa Fe, NM. In Santa Fe they added to their family with the adoption of Jan, Tony Jr., Monica and Steve. In addition to raising five children, Marie was active in her Catholic parish, teaching CCD classes and preparing children for Confirmation. She also worked as a freelance meteorologist and substitute teacher and enjoyed life as a bridge player, passionate gardener and bird watcher. The Hillerman family moved to Albuquerque in 1963 when Tony went to work for the University of New Mexico. In Albuquerque, the adoption of Daniel made the family complete. Marie continued her life-long devotion to her Catholic faith, becoming an active member of Our Lady of the Annunciation parish. When the children left home, Marie travelled with Tony on book tours visiting France, Italy and Scandinavia. She loved her work as a volunteer with the Marianites bringing Holy Communion to the sick and elderly. She served for many years on the board of the Catholic Foundation helping people of all faiths. Among her many other interests were helping organizations which worked to improve education and living conditions on the Navajo Reservation, programs for battered families and to help those released from prison rebuild their lives. She was a Master Gardener and enjoyed answering questions about plants and pests through the Albuquerque Garden Center. Marie is survived by her family: daughter Anne Hillerman, husband Don Strel and grandson Brandon Strel and step grandsons Sean Strel and Kevin Strel and partner Gisele Delony, step-granddaughter Carrie Reinecke, husband Craig and great-grandsons Skyler and Taran. She is also surviving by her daughter Jan Grado, husband Rudy and grandson lan Grado, wife Stephanie and great-granddaughters Gianna and Zia; grandson Matthew Grado and fiancAC. Brielle Wozny; granddaughter Sarah Tuico and her husband J R. Also surviving her is son Tony Hillerman, Jr. and his wife Lori. Also surviving her is daughter Monica Atwell, husband Doug and granddaughter Dawn Atwell, partner Jenny Galindo and great-grandson Jayden T. Galindo, granddaughter Cassandra Atwell and wife Tammy Hiland and great granddaughter Ashlynn T. Hiland; daughter Echo Atwell and fiancAC. Jaime Galvan and great-grandchildren Ryley, Jersey, Phoenix and Nevada Galvan; granddaughter Toni Martinez, husband Mando and great-grandchildren Sage and Bensen Martinez. She is also survived by her son Steven August Hillerman and her son Daniel Bernard Hillerman and granddaughter Candyce Hillerman and grandson Daniel Christopher Hillerman and wife Terryn. She is also survived by a sister, Teresa Sifford and her husband, Dewey, and a brother-in-law, Loren Luschen, and her sister-in-law Margaret Mary Chambers and many nieces and nephews. Marie was preceded in death by her parents, Charles Joseph and Anna Margreta (Schepers) Unzner; her husband of 60 years, author Tony Hillerman, and by her brother, Charles Francis Unzner and a sister, Gesina Joan Clarkson Luschen. A rosary service will be held at FRENCH-Wyoming, 7121 Wyoming NE on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015 at 7 p.m. The Mass of Christian Burial will celebrated at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015 at Our Lady of the Annunciation Parish, 2621 Vermont Street NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110, followed by a reception hosted by the family from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. at the Sheraton Albuquerque Uptown, 2600 Louisiana Blvd NE, Albuquerque. Interment will follow at Santa Fe National Cemetery on Thursday at 1: 30 p.m. In honor of Marie's generosity, the family asks that, instead of flowers, that donations be made to the Catholic Foundation, 4333 Pan American Highway NE, Albuquerque, NM 87107 or to programs that are dear to the Hillerman family at the University of New Mexico, the Tony Hillerman Collection Fund at UNM Libraries and the Hillerman-McGarrity Endowed Scholarship in Creative Writing, University of New Mexico Foundation, Inc., Two Woodward Center, 700 Lomas Blvd NE, Ste. 108, Albuquerque, NM 87102. . FRENCH - Wyoming 7121 Wyoming Blvd. NE (505) 823-9400

Visitation Details

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015, 7:00pm

Service Details

Thursday, February 19th, 2015, 8:30am, Our Lady of Annunciation Catholic Church

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