Hilliard, William Albert (1920-2008)


Hilliard, Virginia Eleanor Anderson (1919-2006)

Voncile Hilliard Young & Bruce W. Lo 9/26/2019

Basic Biographical Information

William Albert Hilliard was born on May 21, 1920 in Shanghai, China and died on September 30, 2008 in Lodi, California, USA. Virginia Anderson Hilliard was born on July 26, 1919 in Shanghai, China and died on July 2, 2006 in Lodi, California, USA>

William Albert's parents were William Ira and Jessie Hilliard. Virginia Eleanor's paarents were Nits and Mayte Anderson.

They were married in August 1942 in Angwin, California.

They have four children from eldest to youngest: Voncile, William Warren, Charles LaRue, and Gwendolyn.

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Early Life

William Albert Hilliard (Chinese name: 許維廉), affectionately known to many as Bill, and Virginia Anderson Hilliard served for 15 years in the China Division and the Far Eastern Division from 1947 to 1961. They both grew up in the Far East as children of missionaries. William Albert (or Bill) was born in Shanghai, China, on May 21, 1920, the son of William Ira and Jessie Hilliard who went to China in 1916. Virginia Eleanor Anderson was born in Shanghai, China, on July 26, 1919, to Nils and Mayte Anderson who went to Japan in 1913. Because Mayte’s brother, Dr. Charles Landis, was working at the hospital in Shanghai, she went there for the birth of her child and he performed the delivery there.

Bill grew up in China and Virginia in Japan. They met while attending Far Eastern Academy in Shanghai, and then both attended Pacific Union College in California. They married in August 1942 in Angwin, California. After graduation in 1943, Bill accepted a call from the Georgia Cumberland Conference to do evangelism and pastoral work. It was while working there that their daughter, Voncile, was born in 1944, and their son, William Warren, in 1946.

In 1947, they accepted a call from the General Conference to return to China, sailing from San Francisco in the spring of 1947 and arriving in Shanghai, China. For the first year, they were sent to Peking (Modern-day Beijing) to study the language and then, in 1948, returned to Shanghai to assist Fordis Detamore with evangelistic meetings. After the meetings were completed, they were sent to Kunming in Yunnan Province in the western part of China where he became Mission President for the year 1948-1949. As the communists began to overtake China and come south, the Milton Lees and Charles Coopers were sent to Kunming to assist Hilliard in evangelistic outreach. One of those baptized in this last series was Hsuen Ming Shau (宣明善), who was a Tibetan but married to a Chinese. Soon all the missionaries had to leave China due to the advancing Communist Army. They all gathered in Hong Kong then were sent to new assignments. Bill and Virginia, along with the Hsuen family, were sent to Kalimpong, India, to prepare to enter Tibet. However, the communists invaded Tibet also, making the plan impossible. As a result, Bill and Virginia were asked to return to Hong Kong in 1952 where he became the president of the Hong Kong Macao Mission for 8 years. Their third child, Charles LaRue, was born in October 1953 in Hong Kong. Their furlough in 1954-55 was spent in Takoma Park, Maryland, where William completed an MA at the Seventh-day Adventist Seminary there. Their fourth child, Gwendolyn, was born in Maryland in 1955. They returned to Hong Kong and worked there until 1960 when Bill was called to Singapore and served as the president of the Southeast Asia Union for two years. In 1962, he returned to the United States and served as a church pastor at various locations in Northern California, including Roseville, Placerville, and Fortuna, until he retired in 1985. He continued to serve as a stipend pastor until 2004 when he moved to Lodi.

Virginia passed to her rest on July 2, 2006, in Lodi , California, and William passed away 2 years later on September 30, 2008, also in Lodi, California.

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Fig 5: Hilliard Family in 1985 or 1986 in Hong Kong. Front row L to R: Gwen, Virginia (seated), Bill (seated), and Charles. Back row L to R: Bill Jr, Voncile, and second cousin Scott Anderson.