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Waco, TX 76710
Phone: 254-772-5272
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Obituary for William (Bill) Hillis

William (Bill)  Hillis
William Daniel Hillis, MD
June 12, 1933 – April 26, 2018

William Daniel Hillis, MD, a longtime resident of Waco, passed away peacefully on the evening of April 26, 2018. Visitation will be at 10:30 AM, followed by the funeral service at 11:00 AM, Wednesday, May 2, at Seventh and James Baptist Church of Waco, with the Rev. Erin Conaway officiating. Burial at Oakwood Cemetery will follow.

Bill was born near Dardanelle, Arkansas, and then moved with his family to Fort Worth, Texas. He met his wife of nearly 65 years, Argye Briggs, in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. They were married on December 23, 1952. Argye and Bill shared an adventurous life of science, medicine, and family, as they traveled across the world, living in Baltimore, Maryland; Copenhagen, Denmark; San Antonio, Texas, Covington, Louisiana; St. Johns, Florida; the Congo; Calcutta, India; Waco, Texas; and finally Austin, Texas, where Argye passed away in 2017.

Bill attended his beloved Baylor University, majoring in Chemistry, before he completed his medical training at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He was in the AFROTC program at Baylor, and later rose to the rank of Colonel in the Air Force Reserves. Argye and Bill had three children, William Daniel (Danny), David Mark, and Argye Elizabeth (Beth), who were born in Baltimore and in Copenhagen, Denmark. Bill was a virologist, who discovered the first primate model for Hepatitis B, a key to developing an effective vaccine, while raising their children in the Congo during a revolution. He continued his virology career in Calcutta, India, before returning to Johns Hopkins in 1970 to resume his career in clinical medicine. He became a respected nephrologist and epidemiologist, and was the first Director of the internationally acclaimed Moore Clinic at Johns Hopkins.

In 1981, they returned to Baylor where Bill became the Cornelia Marschall Smith Distinguished Professor of Biology. He chaired Baylor’s Biology Department and later became Baylor’s Executive Vice President and then Vice President of Student Life. He was devoted to teaching and led summer programs for Baylor in London and Maastricht, Netherlands.

In Waco, Bill was a member of Seventh and James Baptist Church, where he sang in the choir. In 2012, Argye and Bill moved to Austin to be closer to members of his family, while maintaining their deep friendships in Waco.

Bill was loved and admired, not only by his wife, his three children, and six grandchildren, but also by his many friends, colleagues, and relatives throughout the world.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the William and Argye Hillis Scholars in Biomedical Science Program, College of Arts and Sciences, Baylor University, 76798-7344.

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