Harold L. Hillyer was born on June 8, 1925, in Montrose, CO, where he spent his childhood years, and graduated from Montrose County High School with the class of 1943. After his graduation, Hillyer joined the United States Navy and proudly fought for his country during World War II. Following the war, he received his degree of Bachelor of Music Education from Wichita State University and his Master of Music in Performance from the University of Southern California. Hillyer returned to Montrose where he served as Montrose County High School Music Director. He taught for 11 years between Montrose County High School and University City, MO, high schools. He then taught at the college level for 34 years, serving on the music faculty at Eastern Illinois University from 1972 to 1996, with 13 of those years as Director of Bands.
During his tenure as Director of Bands, Hillyer started the Honor Band, transformed the Band Festival into the Marching Band Contest it is today, and started the Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma chapters on campus. He was a member of the College Band Directors National Association, the M.E.N.C., Phi Beta Mu, American School Band Directors Association, Kappa Kappa Psi (National Honorary Band Fraternity), Tau Beta Sigma (National Honorary Band Sorority), American Bandmasters Association, Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity and is listed in Who's Who in American Education.
Harold Hillyer passed away on November 3, 2000. He was a man who loved music and contributed much to the world and to the lives that he touched during his lifetime.