LAWSON ROY HILLIER
June 23, 1941 - August 30, 2018
Article Submitted by Col. Rob Foster
It is with deep regret that we announce the death of Lieutenant Colonel L. Roy Hillier, CD (Retired) who commanded the Governor General’s Foot Guards from 1994 to 1997. He passed away surrounded by his family on 30 August 2018 after a brief but bitter battle with lung disease.
Born in Newfoundland LCol Roy joined the Canadian Guards in 1958 as a Guardsman and on reduction to null strength he transferred to the Royal Canadian Regiment. Upon leaving the Regular Force he joined the Governor General’s Foot Guards as a Captain while pursuing employment in the public service as an investigator with the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada and on contract as an Access to Information Policy analyst throughout Government; a job which he continued until his passing.
LCol Roy shaped a generation of subaltern officers with his fatherly advice, his strong ethical values, his dry wit and his common sense. The first recollection I have of him with the Regiment was on a live fire exercise in Petawawa. He was the Operations officer and visiting the exercise when a haybox lunch was served. Everyone pulled out their melmac plates and lined up - Roy pulled out his Canadian Guards china and dined in style; it was such a contrast to his humility and quiet mannerisms but spoke to his ability to stir up Regimental pride and discussion. To this day I still wonder how it never broke.
LCol Roy was an avid runner and caught one of his new Captains, Nick Curcumelli-Rodostamo, on a lunch break from his civilian job sitting on a park bench by the Rideau Canal. The Captain stood to attention and said Hello and Roy responded “That’s no way for a young Captain to spend the noon hour on such a fine running day!”
LCol Roy was an officer who pushed to get things done in the best manner possible. He led by example and built on the strengths of his Regiment by assigning tasks to those he knew could accomplish them. After the success of Lord Black accepting the appointment as Honorary Colonel, LCol Roy assembled a team of experts to dine with him as an introduction to the Regiment. It was a two-three hour dinner and the officers selected had knowledge of world affairs, military history, defence and security, current Canadian affairs and politics and my small part with Regimental history. It was a smart decision as Lord Black engaged everyone asking very detailed and pointed questions.
This meeting led to the confirmation that the Colonel-in-Chief, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second would be in Ottawa to present the Regiment with our newest Stand of Colours. LCol Roy ensured that all members of the Regiment were engaged and he personally spent many hours in the Band Shelter at the Drill Hall practicing words of command. The presentation of Colours on the 30th of June 1997 was the highlight of his command and he stepped down shortly after leaving the Regiment stronger than he found it.
I can sum up his service to the Regiment by noting the simple fact that he was an officer that you never wanted to let down.
We would like to express our deepest condolences to his wife, Erika, his three children, Marjorie (Neil), Peter (Suzie), Mark (Nanette); and his many grandchildren.
As per his wishes there will no no funeral or service of remembrance.
In honour of Roy, donations may be made to the Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. cpff.ca
Civitas et Princeps Cura Nostra
An obituary in the Ottawa Citizen can be found here: