Dorothy Hillyard

Dorothy Hillyard, 91, passed away on January 12, 2022 at the Southeast Iowa Regional Hospice in Burlington. Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, January 17, 2022 at the Mediapolis United Methodist Church.  Burial will follow the services at Kossuth Cemetery. Visitation will be held on Sunday, January 16, 2022 from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Snyder & Hollenbaugh Funeral and Cremation Services of Mediapolis.  A memorial has been established with one of the memorials as the Kingston United Methodist Church. Online condolences may be left at

Dorothy Kelley was born August 27, 1930 in What Cheer, Iowa, the daughter of Joseph and Margaret (Leonard) Kelley, and grew up on a farm in the area. Even as a child, she learned that life could be tough. In June 1944 Dorothy lost her older brother Leonard Kelley when his bomber plane was shot down over the English Channel during WWII. Two years later at age 16, Dorothy herself almost lost her life when her appendix burst. However, she was saved by a new miracle drug called penicillin. Those challenges would not keep her down or dampen her spirit though. Dorothy was an original tomboy who loved sports and playing basketball, albeit in a uniform that included a skirt, for What Cheer High School. Following graduation in 1947, she left home excited for new adventures that began in Iowa City, where she attended the University of Iowa.

In 1948, Dorothy’s life was forever changed when her first cousin Johnny Kelley, who was married to Hartzell’s sister Rachel, introduced her to the man who would become the love of her life. It was initially Hartzell’s car that caught her eye but they started dating in 1949. Dorothy and Hartzell were united in marriage on March 26, 1950 in Burlington. They initially lived in Burlington, where Dorothy worked in the office at Shramm’s Department Store, but she could not keep Hartzell away from the farm for long. They had three boys – Lanny, Mark and Bill – and built an incredible life together. Dorothy was a tough, patient, hard-working woman who never complained and farmed alongside her husband while doing the bookkeeping and raising her sons.

Despite her strong work ethic, Hartzell made sure they had more than their fair share of fun. Dorothy and Hartzell had a contagious love for life and those around them. They spent their free time enjoying the company of family and friends vacationing, fishing at Mark Twain Lake, watching Cardinals baseball (while keeping stats), playing cards and bowling. While Hartzell took pride in his own bowling skills, Dorothy may have had a closet where she hid her own bowling trophies so as not to diminish his accomplishments in the bowling alley.

As Dorothy’s family expanded to include daughters-in-law and round one of grandchildren, family continued to be Dorothy’s No. 1 priority. She was always there willing to do anything she could to make their lives easier – hence her CB handle in the 1980s “Gopher Gal.” Her house became a haven for her nieces, nephews and grandkids, where she always offered a snack or some fantastic home cooking that could never be eaten over the carpet. Those kids accompanied Dorothy everywhere, which is why she taught most of them to drive at a dangerously young age on the gravel roads near her farm.

Dorothy never let age slow her down and continued to maintain the close-nit family that she created. She and Hartzell traveled all over the state and even the country to never miss a sporting event that included one of their grandkids. Dorothy mastered her iPhone and was texting and Face Timing into her 90s.

Dorothy was always a joy to be around, a positive influence on those around her and a true role model for providing unconditional love. The lessons she taught her family through example of having good posture, never lying, not judging people and prioritizing family will live on for generations to come with all of her family and friends.

Tammy Wynette’s hit “Stand By Your Man” could have been written about Dorothy. “Stand by your man, And show the world you love him, Keep giving all the love you can, Stand by your man.” As much as those she left behind are heart broken by her passing and will miss her forever, they can take comfort in the fact that she is now able to continue standing by her man and just made Hartzell complete again in heaven.

Dorothy will be missed by her sons, Landen (Dana) Hillyard of Mediapolis, Mark Hillyard of Mediapolis, William (Cheryl) Hillyard of Burlington; nine grandchildren, Heath (Miranda) Hillyard of Burlington, Nick (Hope) Hillyard of Fairway, Kansas, Kimberly Hillyard of Cedar Rapids, Lindsay (David) Driscoll of Overland Park, Kansas, Tari (Aaron) Wilcox of Cedar Rapids, Hannah Hillyard (Dane Asmus) of Tripoli, Haley (Jacob) Kerr of Burlington, Heidi (Nolan) Tomlinson of Cedar Falls and Helaina Hillyard of Burlington; twelve great-grandchildren, Caius Wilcox, Harlyn Hillyard, Aubrey Driscoll, Quintus Wilcox, Hartzell Hillyard, Bobbi Driscoll, Augustus Wilcox, Harbor Hillyard, Henry Hillyard, Octavius Wilcox, Aurelius Wilcox and Hodge Hillyard; and many cousins, nieces, nephews, extended family and friends. Dorothy was preceded in death by her parents, siblings and husband Hartzell.