Tony Hillerman
PHOENIX (AP) — Tony Hillerman, author of the acclaimed Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels and creator of two of the unlikeliest of literary heroes — Navajo police officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee — died Sunday of pulmonary failure. He was 83.

Hillerman's daughter, Anne Hillerman, said her father's health had been declining in the last couple years and that he was at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque when he died at about 3 p.m.

Hillerman lived through two heart attacks and surgeries for prostate and bladder cancer. He kept tapping at his keyboard even as his eyes began to dim, as his hearing faded, as rheumatoid arthritis turned his hands into claws.

"I'm getting old," he declared in 2002, "but I still like to write."

Anne Hillerman said Sunday that her father was a born storyteller.

"He had such a wonderful, wonderful curiosity about the world," she said. "He could take little details and bring them to life, not just in his books, but in conversation, too."

Lt. Joe Leaphorn, introduced in "The Blessing Way" in 1970, was an experienced police officer who understood, but did not share, his people's traditional belief in a rich spirit world. Officer Jim Chee, introduced in "People of Darkness" in 1978, was a younger officer studying to become a "hathaali" — Navajo for "shaman."

Together, they struggled daily to bridge the cultural divide between the dominant Anglo society and the impoverished people who call themselves the Dineh.

Hillerman's commercial breakthrough was "Skinwalkers," published in 1987 — the first time he put both characters and their divergent world views in the same book. It sold 430,000 hardcover copies, paving the way for "A Thief of Time," which made several best seller lists. In all, he wrote 18 books in the Navajo series, the most recent titled "The Shape Shifter."

Each is characterized by an unadorned writing style, intricate plotting, memorable characterization and vivid descriptions of Indian rituals and of the vast plateau of the Navajo reservation in the Four Corners region of the Southwest.

The most acclaimed of them, including "Talking God" and "The Coyote Waits," are subtle explorations of human nature and the conflict between cultural assimilation and the pull of the old ways.

"I want Americans to stop thinking of Navajos as primitive persons, to understand that they are sophisticated and complicated," Hillerman once said.

Occasionally, he was accused of exploiting his knowledge of Navajo culture for personal gain, but in 1987, the Navajo Tribal Council honored him with its Special Friend of the Dineh award. He took greater pride in that, he often said, than in the many awards bestowed by his peers, including the Golden Spur Award from Western Writers of America and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America, which elected him its president.

Hollywood was less kind to Hillerman. Its adaptation of his 1981 novel, "Dark Wind," with Lou Diamond Phillips and Fred Ward regrettably cast as Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, was a bomb.

Although Hillerman was best-known for the Navajo series, he wrote more than 30 books, including a novel for young people; the memoir, "Seldom Disappointed"; and books on the history and natural beauty of his beloved Southwest.

"Those places that stir me are empty and lonely," he wrote in "The Spell of New Mexico," a collection of his essays. "They invoke a sense of both space and strangeness, and all have about them a sort of fierce inhospitality."

He also edited or contributed to more than a dozen other books including crime and history anthologies and books on the craft of writing.

Born May 27, 1925, in Sacred Heart, Okla., population 50, Tony Hillerman was the son of August and Lucy Grove Hillerman. They were farmers who also ran a small store. It was there that young Tony listened spellbound to locals who gathered to tell their stories.

The teacher at Sacred Heart's one-room school house was rumored to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan, so Tony's parents sent him and his brother, Barney, to St. Mary's Academy, a school for Potawatomie Indian girls near Asher, Okla. It was at St. Mary's that he developed a lifelong respect for Indian culture — and an appreciation of what it means to be an outsider in your own land. In 1943, he interrupted his education at the University of Oklahoma to join the Army. He lugged his mortar ashore at D-Day with the 103rd Infantry Division and was severely wounded in battle at Alsace, France. He returned from Europe a genuine war hero with a Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, temporary blindness and two shattered legs that never stopped causing him pain.

He returned to the university for his degree and, in 1948, married Marie Unzer. Together, they raised six children, five of them adopted.

As a young man, he farmed, drove a truck, toiled as an oil field roughneck and worked as a reporter and editor for the Borger News-Herald in Borger, Texas; the Morning Press-Constitution in Lawton, Okla.; United Press International in Oklahoma City; and the Santa Fe New Mexican, where he rose to executive editor. He quit in 1962 to earn a master's degree from the University of New Mexico, where he later taught journalism and eventually became chairman of the journalism department. In 1993, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame.

Hillerman was still teaching when he wrote his first novel, "Blessing Way." A story that always made him chuckle: His first agent advised him that if he wanted to get published, he would have to "get rid of that Indian stuff."

Hillerman is survived by his wife, Marie, and their six children. Services are pending.

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press
Published by Chicago Sun-Times on Oct. 27, 2008.
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
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154 Entries
What a Great Writer! I have enjoyed his books over & over! I love the Leaphorn & Chee Novels. RIP Tony!!!
Cathy Rynier
August 2, 2017
As the under political fire director of the new NM state personnel dept 1961-62, I will always remember our chats and your gentle counsel. I will also remember your very kind editorial comment in the New Mexican at the time of my return to Albuquerque It remains in my personal files.
Donald Davidson
December 13, 2016
Donald Davidson
December 13, 2016
Just got hooked on the Leaphorn and Chee story line. Had not read any of Tony' book until recently,but was hooked after the first one. Finish one and start the next book. I will be sad when I finish the last story since I enjoy them so much!!!
Esther Frick
December 11, 2016
Up to May of 2014 I had read Mr. Hillerman's first 15 Leaphorn & Chee novels and is one of my favorite authors. Since losing my wife to breast cancer that May I've been unable to read for extended periods - simply could not concentrate enough to stay engaged with any reading - until this month, Just finished Mr. Hillerman's 16th L&C novel "Coffin Man". Mr. Hillerman, thank you for contributing to my healing!

God Bless
Terry Graham
January 12, 2016
One the greatest authors of all time and under appreciated.RIP
Robert Brode
August 29, 2015
One of my favorite authors. He showed up for my College Graduation with a speech. I have yet to read all of his books but I respect his teaching and knowledge. To a wonderful man and writer. Sorry for your families loss.
Julie Costales
December 31, 2014
I'm in the midst of reading Talking Mysteries, and all I can think of is how my late father-in-law would have loved it.

One thing we truly shared was a love of TH's novels. Many times I had a few books in front of it before I'd get to the latest, so Irby read it first. I've recently discovered some of the come-see-this-with-me books, and am working my way through them.

When Irby died about two weeks after Mr. HIllerman died, I said that Irby was probably sitting right next to him, trying to get details on books yet published, and asking questions about anything of mutual interest.

I don't know how Irby discovered the novels, but my curiosity was piqued when the late Roger Zelazny dedicated Eye of Cat, I think it was, to Tony, Joe, and Jim. I read dedications and forewords and all, you see, and sometimes, as this, they lead me in interesting places.

I got the AAA map of Indian Country when it was published, and it is packed up somewhere with most of my library. I note that the AAA has republished it, or something like.

I really enjoyed travelling Dinetah with Mr. HIllerman, and I look forward to reading Anne's venture, already pre-ordered. Thank you for sharing your beloved with us all.
A. Marina Fournier
May 3, 2014
I enjoyed his books for many years
Wendy Lawson
April 21, 2014
I have enjoyed his Books so much & now I have read the one his daughter has written what a wonderful tribute to her father.
Pat King
January 19, 2014
Jim Short
November 1, 2013
Sharron Short
November 1, 2013
Living in this strange world where so many people are motivated by greed and many stories involve nightmarish horror; I feel blessed that Tony Hillerman has shared his beautiful vision of the world with us. I feel a gentleness of spirit and a wise compassion shining through his tales of the Navajo & Zuni people & other novels. The sacred value of the Navajo people
'of being in harmony with all' - strengthed by the re-telling in Tony Hillerman's novels is a message of ancient hope spreading across continents into the minds of his readers. Bless you Tony Hillerman - you have captured & shared the otherworldly light of the desert high-county. From your heart, it lives on in our hearts, nourished by your words.
Blessings of true harmony to his beloved family.
A thankful reader
candi browne
May 10, 2013
I will always love you Uncle Tony!
... ...
April 29, 2013
I am so sorry for your loss and our loss also. I just discovered Tony Hillerman's novels and have bought everyone of them and read them in this past 2 months. He gave us a better understanding of the different tribes. I can especially relate to the Navajos and need to be in harmony. Thank you Mr. Hillerman and rest in peace.
Lenore Busch
December 3, 2012
I am in the middle of listening to Tony Hillerman's memoir, read by himself.
I had read many of his novels in the past and always enjoyed them, so when I saw his name on a book-on-tape at the library, I bought it without even looking at the title, thinking it was one of his mysteries.
This recording is an amazing treasure of wisdom, self-observation, and observations about his fellow man. If you can find a copy, I highly recommend it.
I came online to contact Mr. Hillerman if he was still alive, to say how much I was enjoying the story of his life. I write this to help me process the fact that he is no longer with us, and will go back to listening to his voice with a pang of loss mixed with appreciation for all that he contributed to helping people to understand each other in this world.
Thank you Tony!
Kristen Boyesen
October 18, 2012
Mr. Hillerman is one of my favorite authors from my teen years. I think I first discovered his Leaphorn and Chee series in 1991, and over the course of two years, I read everything he'd written up to that point.

He inspired in me a fascination with the Southwest, an area I had never before visited. His words filled my head, and I still remember his Leaphorn and Chee books with fondness when I'm in that area, which is frequently.

Thank you, Mr. Hillerman, for the many hours I spent in the world you created!
Marc Jordan Paxton
September 12, 2012
Tony Hillerman was truly one of the great writers of modern times. I just recently became aware of his books and am trying to collect as many as i can find. I really like the telling of the Navajo culture and feel much richer for it. Having Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee go from one book to the next really enriches the story and helps sustain continuity. My belated condolences to his family. He will live on thru his books.
Claude Strauch
April 12, 2012
Tony Hillerman will always be remember as one of the truly rest mystery writers. As I read one of his novels I can see myself watching the action unfold as thou I am part of the story. Few authors can make that connection with the reader. Thank you Tony. As a career police chief, I have enjoyed your novels for their sense of detail. Your depiction of the Navajo people has given me a better understanding of their culture. Our world was blessed by your being in it.
Kenneth Willett
March 12, 2012
I enjoyed his writing very much and am about to start reading them again. I spent my honeymoon in the four courners area and am familiar with many of the places he talked about. So sorry for your loss. God bless.
Berry Stalcup
March 6, 2012
Tony Hillerman instilled in me a great interest and respect for native Americans, and Navajo people in particular. I greatly enjoyed reading his books, and I am sorry that I never had the opportunity to meet him. My sincere condolences to his family for our loss.
John Page
February 12, 2012
His stories cleansed my mind, allowing me to proceed with greater clarity. [email protected]
robert driscoll
February 11, 2012
Ever so often, when I have a need to reconnect with truly great writing, plots I hang onto, and characters I would like to have around me, I return to one of Mr. Hillerman's books...any one will do.
Mike O'Neill
December 5, 2011
Still have my paperback copy of The Blessing Way. Decided to reread two of my all-time favorite authors starting with their earliest novels. Am also making sure that I didn't miss any of Mr. Hillerman's books. He's one of those authors that my gun-toting Wyoming brother-in-law and I, pretty much a pacifist, have both enjoyed for years.(The other is Robert Parker, another loss to his readers.) It surprises me that I didn't find this site and comment on it at the time of Mr. Hillerman's death. I definitely felt a loss then & still do.
Judy Powell
March 30, 2011
To the family of Reporter and author Tony Hillerman. Mr. Hillerman witness my great uncle James Upton's death in 1956. Because of him, laws changed. I just want to take the time out to Thank Tony Hillerman for everything he had done for the family. I would like for his family to please get a hold of me at [email protected] Thank you!!
Kelly Johnson
February 7, 2011
Thank-you, Mr. Hillerman, for the wonderful stories you told and sharing the incredible beauty of the Southwest.
Lorene Spencer
December 7, 2010
Mr. Hillerman's passing was a personal loss for me. I have read and re-read all his books. I was looking forward to Jim and Bernie having children, and Joe Leaphorn's growing friendship with them. These characters were wonderful gifts to Mr. Hillerman's fans and we will miss them forever.
Deborah Isaza
May 23, 2010
Thank you, Mr. Hillerman, for helping me learn more about the Navajo. I took that knowledge, built on it, and am now deeply involved with Adopt-A-Native Elder, a not for profit organization that helps Navajo Elders continue to live in their traditional ways. Without a doubt, your books are among my most favorite in my library. I will miss your books. Thank you for sharing your gift with all of us.
Bobbi Toth
February 6, 2010
Tony, Tony! I met you at the Tohono

O' Chul Bookstore, in 1988. I was in a wheelchair with a broken heel-I will never forget your wonderful smile and wave of encouragement.. I own all your books. You are a Treasure. Thanks so much for your talent and energy.. Please say Hi to my Mom.

Thanks to you, For you..
Mary Blythe
January 8, 2010
Tony Hillerman was my favorite author, and I like many. I grew up in AZ and know a lot about the area he wrote about. He had a special gift for bringing the location to life and imparting little-known pieces of information that I had never heard of! He had my total respect for his rare ability to bring his stories to life.

Pete Wood, Washington, DC
January 5, 2010
I am so sorry for your loss. Mr. Hilerman was a favorite author of mine. I have just about all his books. He will be missed. Hank ,Conn.
December 12, 2009
Tony couldnt write books fast enough for me. I would go on line to see when the next book would hit the book stores. I will miss his written words
Donald Whitfield
November 26, 2009
First I would like to say how missed he will be and how loved he was by his fans. I have a male friend who ask for more books as a Christmas gift a few years ago, I did not know who Tony Hillerman was but bought the books as the gift he wanted. He finished Coyote Waits and told me to read it, but I had excuses of my job, grandkids and no time. Then after a couple years of it laying around I sat down and started reading it, and could not put it down. I knew the territory he wrote about, could see it, smell the pinon burning or after a rain. I was hooked. I couldn't wait to get the next book. Tony Hillerman was to me the best author of this type of book ever.GOD BLESS you Tony and Family.
Sharon Golden
September 12, 2009
The Classic Reading Book Club and Page Turners, of the Marshall Public Library, Marshall, Missouri honor Tony Hillerman's work by yearly reading and discussing 'Dance Hall of the Dead'. We introduce and encourage readers to explore the worlds that Tony Hillerman created by his expert blending of the myths and truths of coinciding cultures weaved into engaging fiction. We will miss his talent, dedication, and creative gift to the world of literature.

Marshall Public Library Director,
Amy Crump
Reading Club Vol. Facilitator
Melanie Dees Campbell
August 31, 2009
My condolences to the family of Mr. Hillerman. He used the talent God gave him not just to entertain, but also to teach about the dignity of man. May God's perpetual light shine upon him.
Susie Garza
August 26, 2009
Learned much about Indian culture through his books. Like Zane Grey's visual romances brought the west to life for many early in the 20th century....Tony Hillerman settings and cultural knowledge has given his readers a better appreciation of the west in the 21st century.
Darryl Berghorn
August 20, 2009
His writing place in history will never be duplicated nor surpassed.
Each book and book on tape was shared by all my family, many times over
Marjory Standley
July 26, 2009
Tony Hillerman wasn't just an author, but a great teacher....I live in Hozo. I understand....
suze littlefox
July 21, 2009
My heart breaks for Tony's family. The book world has lost a great writer. He will be missed. I've more of Tony's books than any other.
Juanita Noblitt
June 17, 2009
I have just finished re-reading all the Hillerman novels set in the Four Corners Area. What a wonderful read! Makes me want to visit all the places he describes so vividly; and I've worn out my Navajo Nation road map. How I wonder if Bernie will ever talk Jim into a "real" house or even a doublewide on the banks of the San Juan; and, will Joe ever talk Louisa into tying the knot? My imagination just continues to run with these threads. Thank you, Mr. Hillerman. Rest in Peace.
Janet Batik
June 15, 2009
I owe Tony Hillerman a debt of gratitude for his sensitive and entertaining treatment of Dineh culture. He has sparked my curiosity and admiration for the Dineh code of values; I intend to do more research and educate myself on this subject. I'm sure I'm not the only Belagaana who feels this way. One immediate effect is that I'm less apt to interrupt, no longer feel uneasy with silent breaks in conversation, and even wait awhile outside a house before approaching. Thanks for this and thanks for the beautiful descriptions of southwestern country. Your many fans miss you and mourn your passing.
Loren Floto
May 6, 2009
I met Mr. Hillerman at the Red Dirt Book Festival in Oklahoma. It was the first time I had read one of his books, so I became a fan long after most readers. Since then I have collected copies of all the Chee/Leaphorn novels and have read all of them at least twice, some three times. When I heard on the radio of Mr. Hillerman's death, I felt as sad as if I had lost a dear friend. My sincere condolences to his family.
Linda Wilson
April 29, 2009
May Tony rest in peace. My condolences to his family. His novels gave me a great empathy for the Navajo people and a love of the territory. Thanks for many hours of enjoyment.
John MacAlister
March 29, 2009
I opened my first Tony Hillerman book, "A Thief of Time," while camping on the edge of the Grand Canyon in 1993. I lived in Arizona for 15 years. Tony Hillerman's books made my time in the Southwest extra special as they did for so many of his readers. I subsequently read every one of his books and when I was caught up I couldn't wait for the next one. A visit to the "Rez" will always stand as testimony that this is an author who took you THERE. He is my all time favorite author. My condolences go out to his family and friends. Rest in Peace Tony! Thank you.
Steve Goodbar
March 25, 2009
Mr Hillerman took me home to San Juan County, NM through his books. I am living in El Paso, TX. There aren't any Natives out here, so it gets lonely. Rest in Peace and Be with God!
Ida Charley
March 16, 2009
I can't remember when I first found Tony Hillerman's books, but over the years, they have been treasured.. bringing back views and feeling of the beloved Indian Country. Every trip from wherever I was living to New Mexico felt as though I were coming "home", and I went whenever possible.
Now when I can no longer travel, I sit down with one of the wonderful books that take me back.
Thank you, Tony.. you have been such a great part of my life. I am grateful. There's a special place for you..
Rosemary Gabel
March 12, 2009
My thoughts and prayers for the family at your time of loss. I would like to THANK Mr. Hillerman for his generosity in his writing and depicting Native Americans in a good way. Being Native myself, here in Washington State, I loved reading about the Navajo people. I've really never left my reservatioin, but as I read the Leaphorn and Chee books, I felt like I was visiting Navajo country. He will be missed by many...but his words will always be here for us to pass onto our children to read! wy-ken-huey hast slauhhhkt (farewell my good friend) spoken in Okanogan Salish language.
Michele Matt
February 24, 2009
Tony Hillerman was my favorite author. Little did I know when I read "The Shape Shifter" that it would be the last one. Joe and Jim and the rest are like old friends that I luckily can reread and visit again. He will be missed.
February 18, 2009
One year as an exchange student to Gallup NM was enough to become enchanted by the Four Corners area. Since then (20 years) the books of Mr Hillerman have enabled me to wonder back across mesa's and almost feel the warmth of a New Mexican afternoon.
Marga Oosterveld
February 5, 2009
Hillerman will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Kari Freeman
February 1, 2009
The encounters of life fall into a multitude of categories. My meeting with Tony Hillerman has been sublime.
Geoff-S (Liverpool UK)
Geoffrey Spurgeon
December 29, 2008
Your words painted pictures of places I longed to be. Thank you for sharing your gifts, you will be missed.
December 28, 2008
Tony Hillerman is my favorite author. Although his stories are fascinating, they are so much more. They invite you into his house, share a cup of coffee, and accept you as one of the family.

Tony was a friend who invited me along on his amazing journey of discovery of the Diné. He was a bridge to a people whose culture and values I find unsurpassed, but by virtue of my European ancestry, allow that only my spirit can ever truly begin to know.

Tony was a mentor who reminded me to walk in beauty when I felt out of harmony in my white world. He taught me to sit quietly and listen, to respect my ancestors and my elders, and to take time to give thanks to the creator for all my blessings. I am grateful for the beautiful colors that he added to the tapestry of my spiritual life. I am saddened by his passing and will miss the thrill of anticipating his next novel.

Thank you Tony for sharing yourself with the world. My life is richer because of you. I will miss your earthly presence.
Jim Delph
December 14, 2008
I only discovered Tony a few years ago and regret that I hadn't found him sooner. Unlike so many works in the mystery/police genres, his are books that one can both read and reread. In my personal library, they aren't shelved with the whodunits, but with other texts that reflect on, explore, and explain cultures. I've just begun to read beyond the Leaphorn-Chee volumes and have quickly learned that mystery alone was not, by any stretch, the limits of Tony's writing skills. May his memory be eternal and blessed and may his family be comforted that the Lord has taken him to a place of light and love, where there is neither grief nor sighing, but only life everlasting.
Neil Foley
December 7, 2008
Thank you Tony Hillerman for all the reading joy you gave to me. I have read most of the Leaphorn/Chee novels and enjoyed the Mystery series on PBS. Feeling an affinity with Native Americans all my life I loved learning the culture and being entertained simultaneously was a bonus.
Connie Johnson
November 20, 2008
I cry inside, at this loss. Tony Hillerman brought a us a sense of kindness and respect for life, people and relationships across gender as well as cultures - he is my role model. I am so grateful that he showed the Navajo culture and hozho values, showing us depth and complexity in the concept of justice - the world needs this so much more than the knee jerk reactions we find too often. I'm glad I met him once, in Concord Ma, shook his hand and thanked him. I send prayers and all good wishes to Marie, Tony's wife, and Anne also. Thanks for sharing him with us all.
Cassie Quinlan
November 18, 2008
I am so sad to learn that Tony Hillerman has died. I love his books because they bring me closer to the breathtaking Southwest and have opened my eyes to its Native American culture. I have read his Leaphorn & Chee series more than a few times, and I love listening to his audio books while I travel to & from work. Tony Hillerman has contributed so much too many of our lives, and I send my sympathies to his family.
Jerry Tollar
November 12, 2008
The highest tribute I can pay to an author is to say that his or her stories are so good that I get lost in them and miss my bus stop or forget the time. The tales of Leaphorn and Chee made me miss a lot of bus stops and even caused me to not hear the nurse calliing me at the doctor's office many times. If my novels turn out to be even half as good as his, I'll die happy.
Jazherah MacMornna
November 12, 2008
Tony Hillerman's Navajo mystery series has given me many hours of pleasurable reading and has taught me so much about the Navajo culture! My husband and I started doing Navajo ministry at Burnt Corn, AZ (near Pinon) in 2002. Now when we go out there--usually 2-3 times per year we stay with our Navajo friends. They are traditional Navajo and all the women are rug weavers. Hillerman's books helped immensely in bridging their culture. He will be greatly missed! Jeannine Hambrick, Stephenville, TX
Jeannine Hambrick
November 11, 2008
Tony's books always had a place in my backpack as I traveled thru the backcountry of the Four Corners area of the southwest. His books made the whole experance that much more richer. I will miss Chee and Leaphorn.
ricky maxwell
November 10, 2008
Because of Tony's books I have travelled to Santa Fe and Taos. I had to see some of the places that caught my imagination through his writing. I owe him a great debt of gratitude.
Christine Harmer
November 9, 2008
I have just learned of Tony Hillerman's passing. May he rest in Peace. God bless his family. I have read only Tony's books for years. After the first one I read I was a devoted fan. I felt like he was family since he was also from Okla, near my hometown. My late husband read Tony's books and waited -impatiently for the next one out. I used to see Tony in Taos and Santa Fe, and wanted to speak to him, but never got the chance because he was always talking with others. I regret that I never had the chance to tell him that I was a great fan of his. I will miss Him , also Leaphorn and Chee. We have lost a great man. A true Gentleman and author. Tony , may you find an Indian Nation in the middle of heaven.
Berni Ensminger
November 5, 2008
My heart goes out to the Hillerman family - may you all walk in peace always. Chee and Leaphorn are such wonderful characters but with all the human frailties we all share. The sense of place and Navajo culture that Tony always conveyed was breathtaking. I have been interested in Native American history for many years but reading Tony's books always told me things I wanted to learn more about.

Peter Lambrick ( Herefordshire, England )
Peter Lambrick
November 5, 2008
November 03, 2008
My deepest sympathy to the Hillerman family. His voice was unique and compelling. I was always thrilled to read each one of his Leaphorn/Chee novels. I have always loved the southwest and he made it so much more intimate for me. He was a gift to the world and he will be greatly missed.
Margaret Dunn
November 3, 2008
My sincere condolences go to Mr Hillerman's family. He was a great storyteller and humanitarian, and he will be sorely missed. I learned so much from his writing about a part of the USA that, as an Australian, I knew nothing about, and I always waited impatiently for his next book.
Jean Leahy
November 3, 2008
Mr Hillerman's books have been important to me; especially in teaching me about Navajo spirituality. Walk in Beauty Tony.
mark leahy
November 2, 2008
November 2, 2008
No one can replace Tony Hillerman. The simplicity and clarity of his lean, journalistic prose was a hallmark, as was his plotting and the sympathy he built for his characters and their land. Beyond that, however, he combined a wonderful read with a knowledgable introduction to the Navajo people and their culture. Thanks, Tony, thank you very much. J.C. Martin, Tucson Arizona
j.c. martin
November 2, 2008
My daughter and I were so thrilled when we discovered Tony Hillerman's books, we have read every one the local libraries have. He brought to life places and people that we were so eager to read about that Lt Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee seemed so real to us. We will miss this great story teller and will cherish the books he left behind for us.
November 1, 2008
My deepest sympathy to the Hillerman family. He was one of my favorite authors and I have read and re-read his books. It is like losing a dear friend. He will be greatly missed.
Karen Marshall
November 1, 2008
I will miss the stories.They showed me the beauty of the world in which I live.
Sandy Repper
November 1, 2008
My condolences to the Hillerman Family. I feel like I have lost a part of my family. Mr. Hillerman was probably my favorite author,and i have almost his whole collection of books. I will miss his books,his wit and the characters from his books. I loved the movie "Dark Wind" and I will treasure my books for ever.
I am trully sorry for your loss and mine.....................
Kristin Rinear
November 1, 2008
Having enjoyed Mr. Hillerman's books and his wonderful characters for over twenty years, I feel as if I have lost a dear friend. I hope his family will take comfort in knowing how much he brought the beauty of the Navajo culture to life for those of us who have never experienced it. Their great loss is shared by many, but thankfully his words will live on.
Amy Tonai
November 1, 2008
The world has lost a wonderful writer. I read most of Mr. Hillerman's books, and enjoyed every one.
November 1, 2008
My condolences to the family of Mr. Hillerman. I have enjoyed his novels for years and will greatly miss them.
Nancy Bryant
October 31, 2008
I have not yet read Mr. Hillerman's novels - but I intend to do so - any person who writes of the indian ways/people - has my deepest respect - my sincere wishes for his family to remember his life, not his passing.- Mr. Hillerman will live on through his words.
Chris Green
October 31, 2008
My sincere condolences to the family and friends. Mr. Hillerman was an outstanding storyteller - he will be missed.
Scott McCray
October 31, 2008
I'm very sorry to hear of Mr Hillermans death. He was my favorite author. I'm glad that he wrote about the navajo way of life. The native american people are grossly misunderstood.
Lisa Young
October 31, 2008
I am truly sad to hear of Mr. Hillerman's passing. I have become a fan of his writing these past few years.
Lynn Threatt
October 31, 2008
I first found The Blessing Way in an airport sometime in the 70's and I have been hooked ever since. He introduced me to the Navajo people and to the amazing beauty of the southwest. My life is deeper and richer because of the gift that Mr. Hillerman offered so freely.
Tricia Hulbert
October 31, 2008
I am so sad at the passing of Mr. Hillerman. His novels take me away to a place and culture I have never been exposed to. The books also make me want to learn more about Native American culture. I am always googling some fact or term I know nothing about. I will reread each novel now in memory of a great author and an interesting man. My prayers go out to the family.
Maggie Reigelsperger
October 31, 2008
Tony's books have given me hours and hours of reading pleasure. May god bless his family.
Mike Overton
October 31, 2008
The world along with your family has lost a very dear friend. Thanks to his many novels I was inspired to visit the Four Corners area. It is easy to see why he was in love with Indian history. I too will miss Jim Chee and Leaphorn and company. My sincere sympathy to he Hillerman family. May you find peace and happiness in your memories.
Susan Evans
October 31, 2008
Please accept my deepest sympathies.
annie brim
October 30, 2008
To the family celebrating a life lived with dignity, style and creative passion, blessings and prayers to you. Mr. Hillerman's writings infused my interest in Four Corners country and led me into a love for history. His marvelous Anthology "Best of Western Writing" is one of my treasures!!! He flung open windows of understanding into a whole universe of 'the beauty way.'
Judith Nelson
October 30, 2008
I just loved Tony's books. My prayers are with his family.
Cathie Schoer
October 30, 2008
the world is so much better for me and other fans of his writings. he will be missed. my sympathy to his family
josephine stone
October 30, 2008
Tony was my favorite writer. I was saddened by the news of his passing. Your family is in my prayers.

Robert Petrolino, Jr.
Robert Petrolino, Jr
October 30, 2008
I feel I've lost a dear friend, actually a group of friends if you count Joe and Jim. Thanks to Tony's wonderful novels I was inspired to take a trip to the wonderful "Four Corners " area. I almost expected to see Joe and Louisa having Coffee at the Navajo Nation Inn. Tony brought that area and the Navajo Nation to life for me, and for that I'm forever grateful. Several of the past Winters I have sent a boxes of hats & mittens to the Southwest Indian Foundation in honor of these wonderful stories.
My sincere sympathy to the family, your grief is shared by many. May your memories bring you peace.
Brenda Hamilton
October 30, 2008
I am so sad. I have loved all of his books. He was such a wonderful story teller. My condolences to you Mrs. Hillerman and all your family.
Constance Erwin
October 30, 2008
What a sad loss for you - losing a parent changes your whole outlook and you are now the "older" generation. You have my prayers.

And it is a greater loss for all of us - we have been followers of your Dad's writing for too many years to count, eagerly looking forward to what Leaphorn and Chee would do next and enjoying the different paths they take when they have a woman in their life.

Again, my prayers are with you.
Pat Curry
October 30, 2008
To the Family, May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well-lived.
October 30, 2008
Tony Hillerman's books on tape have been a lifesaver for our family on long road trips. His vivid and compelling mysteries kept us rapt at attention during late night drives through the empty quarters of Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and California. In the darkness, they captured our imaginations and brought to life characters of a great people and a reverence for their traditions that would be a welcome depiction of any culture. My wife and I drew closer together sharing time listening to his stories. We will have to listen anew.
Ed Motola
October 30, 2008
How fortunate we all have been to have had Mr. Hillerman's open door so that the main stream might have access to American Indian culture in a way not possible otherwise. I have enjoyed his writings immensely and will miss not having another novel with Jim Chee and the retired Lieutenant to look forward to. Go in peace gentle spirit.
Kyody Ward
October 30, 2008
My deepest sympathies to Mrs. Hillerman and family. I enjoyed Mr. Hillerman's stories very much. May God bless you and carry you through.
Eva Ward
October 30, 2008
I will miss looking forward to the next Leaphorn/Chee mystery. I have spent may good times re-reading each one. Mr Hillerman's descriptions of the landscape and the Navajo way of life was/is always great. He put me in the story as I rode with the main charactors. A fine author has gone on, but will not be forgotten.
Bill McDonald
October 30, 2008
This is not the fan letter I always thought I'd write---instead it is a note of real appreciation for all the history, geography, Navaho lore, forensics, intuitive deduction process, and most of all the unique way Tony introduced to us people, real people,whether tribal police, storekeeper, teacher, all of us in this human world who make our way the best we can.What great human beings he knew and wrote, not perfect or even always good; Tony showed us something of ourselves, especially showing us what was there to be appreciated in us and in all others. I have so treasured his books and shared them because anything that's good is better shared. I am thankful to have found his books and will never forget him. If one ever doubts that one person makes a difference, read his books!
Pat Miller
October 29, 2008
Tony was one of my very favorite authors. I too share his love for the Indian people and did so enjoy his stories.
May he rest in eternal peace
Carol Kohn
October 29, 2008
Thanks for your Military Service.
Past Commander V.F.W.
Bill Fead
October 29, 2008
I enjoyed reading his books. I learned so much Navaho culture from his books. I will miss reading his books.
October 29, 2008
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