Bachelor in Education, University of Arizona, 1957. Master of Arts in Education, South Dakota State University, 1982. Master of Arts in Political Science, University of South Dakota, 1984.
She subsequently earned a master"s degree in education from South Dakota State University in 1982 and then a master"s degree in political science at the University of South Dakota in 1984. Hillard was married to John Hillard. They had 5 children together, all of whom are married with children.
Hillard dedicated her life to public service.
Her first political experience was serving on the Rapid City Common Council. She was then elected to two terms in the South Dakota House of Representatives from Rapid City.
Hillard, a Republican, served was elected as Lieutenant Governor in 1994 and re-elected in 1998 as the running mate of Bill Janklow and served from 1995 to 2003. She was instrumental in the foundation of the Rapid City woman"s shelter and the Cornerstone Rescue Mission and was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 2007.
In 1996, incumbent Democrat United States. Congressman Tim Johnson of South Dakota"s At-large congressional district decided to retire to run for the United States. Senate.
Hillard decided to run for the open seat, and lost to John Thune, 59%-41% in the Republican primary. Hillard suffered a spinal fracture and three broken ribs on October 8, 2007 while sailing on a boat with friends in the Adriatic Sea. She underwent surgery in Zagreb, Croatia two days later.
On October 19, 2007, she was hospitalized while in Switzerland before she was bound to return home to the United States.
She had developed pneumonia, a bacterial blood infection and suffered a series of strokes. Hillard died at University Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland on October 25, 2007.
She was 71 years of age.
Active Rapid City Common Council, Rapid City Chamber of Commerce, South Dakota Board of Charities and Corrections, McGruff Crime Prevention Council (executive board), South Dakota Corrections Commission, Community Care Center, South Dakota Children's Home Society, South Dakota Assurance Alliance, National Child Protection Partnership, First United Methodist Church (executive board), Rapid City Economic Development Partnership, F.L.A.G.S. Foundation. Member executive board Bog Brothers/Big Sisters. Chair board trustees Heifer International Foundation.
Member League of Women Voters, Women's Network, Mount Rushmore Society, Indian-White Council, Toastmasters, Ninety-niners, Rapid City Fine Arts Council.
Married John M. Hillard (deceased). Children: David, Sue Ellen, Todd, Eddie, Lornell.