Fond memories of Wiley Hilburn

January 30, 2014




Ron White
Guest Columnist




My, this word has this taken on new, expanded meaning.


Oh, we have used the word: the Louisiana Tech “family,” the Louisiana Tech journalism “family,” The Tech Talk “family.”


But at times when we are hurting, we need family, and when we can unite at that time, the concept takes on expanded, special meaning, whether together physically or in spirit.


At the funeral home visitation, the church service and the journalism reception following in Keeny Hall – we cried, we laughed, we welcomed, we communicated, in words, hugs, tears, thoughts and memories.


In addition, the cascade of online reflections – and I can only imagine the multitude of memories of others – has been a combination of buffeting and caressing, bouncing me back to “places” I haven’t been in a long time, places that remain warm. (I have to smile, broadly, at the irony pointed out by one graduate of the “how” that much of this was composed and distributed – NOT via a manual typewriter or felt-tip pen in the Hilburn tradition, but often by screen shots of his hand-scribbled transmissions.)


In the last week, we – the “family” members – have needed each other, whether those in school at the same time or strangers becoming newly forged blood brothers and sisters.


We united.


Thank you, each one of you who was in Ruston for these events, in person or in spirit.


The loss is a blow, yet it brings a renewal of relationships; he will always be with us.


We each have our personal touches, memories and perspectives with Wiley Hilburn, some etched in our minds, some in our hearts. We were all his favorites.


And we will never forget it.

 We will never forget him.


As I saw each “family” member, I saw him … for you were his life … and always will be.


I am thrilled to have had a recent, long Ruston visit with Wiley – the way I best remember him – right after Christmas, relieved that he had returned to his old self. He even seemed excited that my number had been “added” to his phone. “Now I can call you,” he said, proudly. And he did, including New Year’s Eve. We reflected on past successes and times in our lives, including a recent one we shared in a renewed cooperative effort.


Again, thank you, friends, for helping my heart, and may you feel the peace of the special, real love imparted by Wiley Wilson Hilburn Jr., as you, too, heal … and grow.


Family …


Ron White worked with Wiley Hilburn for 35 years, arriving for Hilburn’s second year (1969) as journalism teacher and assistant director of the News Bureau, retiring nine years ago last fall.




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