Clarence Dayton Hillman III was born in 1920 and died in 2019. A year short of a century, passed away May 10, 2019, peacefully in his sleep at 7:15 a.m. from complications of health issues in Paso Robles where he had lived with his family since 1947.
Clarence whose nickname was Couche was loved by all his family and friends. He leaves behind his beloved wife of 71 years, Beverly Lou (Greenamyer), Hillman, his three daughters, Deborah (Duncan) Hillman, Nancy Hillman, and Kim Hillman, his two grandchildren, Christian White and Nicole Duncan, and many wonderful friends and cousins. Clarence had care from his family and his three caregivers that took wonderful care of him. His caregiver of four years, Cindy, caregiver of three years, Melanie, and his caregiver of a little over a year Angela.
Born in Pasadena in 1920, to Clarence Dayton Hillman Jr. and Ruth Marie (Young) Hillman. Clarence was raised in his early years in Pasadena in the Hillman Castle, which is now known as the Nelson Castle in Old Town Pasadena. When he was seven years old, he moved to the Family Dude Ranch, Estrella Ranch, East of Paso Robles on the Estrella River with his father and mother and many family members. He attended his elementary years and graduated from Phillips School in Whitley Gardens and went on to Paso Robles High for part of his Freshman year. Where he decided to move to Berkley, Calif. with his Aunt and complete high school. Clarence graduated in 1938 and was accepted to USC Berkley. He attended USC Berkley 1938-1942, was a Fraternity Brother and graduated with a Political Science Degree. He also was on the Wrestling Team, which he loved and was very good at. He was a good swimmer and he was on the swim team also.
In that same year, Nov. 28, 1942, Clarence joined the US Navy, West Coast 12th Naval District. They sent him to Notre Dame to get an education in Civil Engineering. He was stationed over in Hawaii for most of his Navy Career. In 1944, he was Captain of his ship and became Lieutenant and Commanding Officer. He was an avid swimmer and spent a lot of his free time in the Hawaiian Islands Swimming and Skin Diving in the warm Pacific Ocean. Clarence made many lifelong friends in the Navy and did many handstands on his ship with his Naval Buddies. He was discharged with honors just before Pearl Harbor in 1946.
In the beginning of 1947, Clarence met his lovely wife, Beverly, at the Veterans Memorial Building, in Los Angeles where she worked as a secretary. It was love at first sight. He jumped thru hoops to get her telephone number to call her and ask her out on a date. He courted her no longer than six months when he asked her to marry him after only dating two times for ten months because Clarence was going back and forth to the Hillman Estrella Ranch where he had become part owner and was setting up his career as a Cattle Rancher. They were married on August 16, 1947, at the First Baptist Church in Huntington Park, Calif.
When his father Clarence Dayton Hillman Jr. passed away in 1949, Clarence inherited his father’s part of the ranch where he spent his life farming wheat, barley, and alfalfa and raised cattle. He was one of the best horseback riders and treated his animals with respect and kindness. Couche loved his horses and cattle. He left his foreman Ben Ferrie to help with the family cattle business.
His eyesight started to decline with Macular Degeneration in his early eighties, and health issues made Clarence unable to continue working. But, the ranch was still run by his foreman, Warren Ferrie with his guidance. Clarence was a successful Rancher and loved his work. He loved the cattle work, peace, and tranquility of the ranch. He had a hunting club for his friends and many to hunt deer, wild boar, and birds in season.
Clarence was an active member of the Paso Robles Trail Riders and won an award for the oldest dedicated member of the trail riders association. He was their photographer for many years and took many beautiful photographs of all their events before cell phones photography came out. Later Couche became a member of the SLO Riders also. He was one of the best cattlemen horseback riders ever. He said he had ridden at least 75,000 miles or more during his lifetime. Clarence enjoyed golf and fishing. He loved to play Bridge and Duplicate and won many trophies for his intelligence.
Clarence and his wife Beverly were active members in Clipper Club and Live Oaks as well. Clarence and Beverly were members of the First Baptist Church in Paso Robles as well as their three daughters. He was baptized with his oldest daughter, Deborah at the First Baptist Church in 1963 by Rev. Brown.
Clarence (Couche) was the most honest and intelligent man I know and was kind towards everyone. Especially those whom he held close to his heart. His quirky, dry sense of humor made him a unique individual who loved to play pranks on various people.
A Graveside Service will be held at the Paso Robles District Cemetery by Pastor Mike of the First Baptist Church, on Friday, May 31, 2019, at 1 p.m. for Friends and Family to attend and pay their respect and say goodbyes. Following a reception in his memory will take place at the First Baptist Church on 17th and Park Street.
Flowers are welcome and can be sent to Kuehl-Nicolay Funeral Home, 1703 Spring St. in Paso Robles.
We will miss him so much! We will always hold him close to our hearts.