I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Robert James Hilliard, M.D. passed away peacefully on September 12, 2021, from complications of ALS, surrounded by those who loved him. We rejoice that he is now in His Father’s house. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Jim’s honor to:
Children’s Hunger Fund
ALS Therapy Development Institute
Obituary for Robert James Hilliard, MD
FORT WORTH – Robert James Hilliard, M.D., won his battle against Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis on September 12, 2021. His broken body is now whole as he is rejoicing with his Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jim was born on November 15, 1952, to Frankie Estelle Alexander and Henry Claude Beaumon Hilliard in Port Arthur, Texas. He graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School, where he was elected to the Senior Ball Court each year, was an All-State Offensive Guard and was recognized as an All American Offensive Guard in many polls his Senior year. Jim received a full football scholarship to the University of Texas in Austin.
He graduated in 1975 as a UT Letterman with a degree in Biology. He continued his education at the University of Texas Medical School in Galveston, Texas, and graduated in May of 1979. His General Surgery Internship was completed at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. His Orthopedic Residency was completed in June of 1984 in Galveston. Dr. Hilliard began in private practice as an Orthopedic Surgeon in Arlington, Texas in 1984. He had a private practice for many years in Arlington, Texas before being instrumental with a few others, in creating the orthopedic group, Arlington Orthopedic Associates in 1996. AOA is now one of the most successful orthopedic groups in the state.
Jim married the love of his life, Tamara Hext, on May 28, 1988, bringing with this union his precious three-year-old son, Jonathan Blake. They made their home in Arlington and began their family with the addition of Joseph Maxwell in 1990 and Samuel Beauman in 1994. Jim and Tamara built their dream home in 1993 in Mansfield, Texas where they lived for 22 years, raising their kids in the Mansfield School system.
Jim loved being a surgeon and was a brilliant mind, often reading a range of books from novels to biographies to an entire library of Theological Studies. Jim became a follower of Christ in 1999 and became a master at Apologetics and the history of Christian religion. He loved to garden, cook and enjoyed an array of outdoor activities over the years including tennis, marathons, mountain biking, hunting, cross country skiing and eventually golf, his most favorite outdoor passion.
Jim Hilliard loved his family deeply, caring for his mother, Estelle, who lived with them for 15 years until her death in 2007. His biggest passion was his boys. He loved teaching them about life, sports, and most of all about the love of Christ that he became so passionate about. Jim supported many ministries over the years including, Faith in Practice, Reasons to Believe, Search Ministries, Metroplex Women’s Clinic, and most passionately, Children’s Hunger Fund.
If you knew Jim, you knew he had a wicked wit and loved bantering with whomever he was close to. If he picked on you, he loved you. He also enjoyed a healthy debate of thought on serious topics like politics, religion, and philosophy. You had better know your stuff if you tangled with Jim Hilliard because he was most often correct and had a deep knowledge of all things. Jim had many who knew and loved him. Making and keeping lifelong friends was one of his many gifts.
The Hilliard’s sold their family home in Mansfield, Texas, and moved to Fort Worth in March of 2015 to be close to long-time friends and closer to the clubs where Jim loved to play golf. He loved to golf and he made it his main hobby and enjoyed playing with close friends and traveling to different destinations to challenge his game. It was during the game of golf in October of 2017 that Jim began to notice a change in his grip and golf swing. Along with other symptoms, Jim began to fear the worst, that he might have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and began plans for early retirement. The diagnosis would be confirmed by multiple Neurologists by March of 2018. Jim faced this battle head-on both in his faith and also in his ability to understand all the latest research and potential trials for ALS. Though today there are more promising therapies on the horizon, there was and still is no cure for ALS.
The four years Jim fought ALS were filled with many friends, family, doctors, and caregivers that all made living with ALS so much more bearable. The Hilliard family would like to thank Drs. Appel, Burk, Peralta, for their care, and Drs. Ramsey, Brentlinger, Purgason, and Stiefel for their friendship and care. Additionally, the Hilliard family would like to extend thanks to caregivers Amy Aceveda, Megan Dildy, Brandon Gaddy, Jordan Moree, and James Moses for hours of gentle and kind care, and Beyond Faith Hospice during Covid 2020. As well, the Hilliard family would like to thank Knights of Comfort Hospice and Waldo Rios for holding his hand and making him comfortable until he embarked on his Heavenly journey.
Most of all, love and thanks to the “Tribe”. Special neighbors and friends who loved with passion prayed without ceasing, held our hands, brought food, cleaned, walked our dog, and checked and loved on us daily, there is no place like home. Special love for Jim’s dear friends, pastors, and mentors, Russ Barksdale and Randy Frazee.
Jim is survived by his wife, Tamara; siblings, Michael and Claudette; sons, Blake, Maxwell and Samuel; daughters-in-law, Tracy and Katalin; grandsons, Charles and Cameron; and many more in-laws or extended family members who loved Jim dearly. He is preceded in death by his mother, Estelle and his father, Claude.
Celebration of Life for Dr. Hilliard:
Church on Rush Creek
2350 SW Green Oaks Blvd, Arlington, TX 76017
October 9th, 2021 ~ 11:00am
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”