Dr. Riel Hillier was born near Bath (Earnestown County), Ontario on the 5th of November, 1865. He was the son of Jacob David Hillier and the former Elizabeth Rolton.
Dr. Hillier graduated from the Victoria College Medical School in 1886 and started his medical practice in Wheatley. He joined the College of Physicians and Surgeons on the 30th of April, 1886.
Dr. Hillier married Cora Wigle on the 9th of January, 1889 in Leamington, Ontario. Mrs. Hillier was born in Mersea Twp (Essex County) on the 27th of March, 1868, the eldest child and only daughter of Robert Wigle and the former Sarah Jane Scratch. Her parents were farmers and her brothers were; Howard, Ernest, Milton, Forest and Leonard.
By 1892, Dr. and Mrs. Hillier had moved to Leamington (Essex Co.). They had 2 children; a son named Leland Glen Hillier who was born on the 12th of June, 1892 and a daughter Sarah Madelyne Hillier who was born on the 17th of February, 1896. (Sarah Madeline Hillier died in Toronto on the 24th of December, 1938 from injuries sustained in a car accident).
With the close proximity of Leamington to Chatham-Kent, Dr. Hillier was known to treat patients in Wheatley and Romney Township (Chatham-Kent).
Dr. Hillier joined the First Hussars in 1904. By 1911 he had been made a Captain and he was chosen to participate in the Coronation of King George V, on the 22nd of June (1911).
Dr. Hillier enlisted in World War I on the 10th of February, 1915 in London, Ontario. On his Attestation Papers, he stated that he had participated in the North West Rebellion of 1885 and he had been an active Militia member for 13 years. Further it recorded Dr. Hillier was 5’8″, 180 lbs., he was of fair complexion and he had brown hair and blue eyes. At the age of 48, Dr. Hillier served overseas in England, France, the Dardanelles and Egypt with the Canadian Army Medical Corp attached to the 7th Canadian Mounted Rifles. Further according to his Certificate of Service he served with the No. 3 Canadian Stat Hospital, the 38th Battalion as Medical Officer, the 10th and 12th Find Coy’s C. E. as Medical Officer and No 8 British Stat Hospital. In August of 1916, Dr. Hillier was placed on an extended leave suffering from deafness in his left ear. He returned to Canada aboard the Scandinavian on the 23rd of August, 1916. Dr. Hillier was deemed fit for duty and he returned to Europe to serve in March of 1917. In August of 1917, Dr. Hillier was diagnosed with trench fever while serving in France. He was sent back to Canada to convalesce and in January of 1918, Dr. Hillier was put on light duties in Canada. He was discharged in May of 1918.
Dr. Riel Hillier was promoted to Major in 1920. His son Glen became a doctor and also volunteered for active duty during World War I. He enlisted on the 22nd of April, 1918.
Dr. Hillier returned to Leamington after the war. Dr. and Mrs. Hillier residence was located 69 Talbot Street West. In 1923, Dr. Hillier purchased a vineyard on Pelee Island (Essex County) known as Vin Villa and expanded the grape growing capacity of the vineyard. For many years Dr. Hillier was involved in the day to day operations. In 1939 he sold the vineyard. Vin Villa caught fire in 1963 and burned to the ground.
Mrs. Hilllier belonged to the I.O.D.E.
Dr. Hillier died at his residence in Leamington on the 19th of January, 1938. Mrs. Hillier died at her home at 83 Talbot Street West in Leamington on the 1st of November, 1948. Dr. and Mrs. Hillier were buried at Evergreen Memorial Park Cemetery, 366 Talbot Street West, Leamington. Their son and daughter are buried beside them.
Tombstone photo credit: Anne F.