Judith Van Hillyer

Judith Ann Olson 

Van Hillyer, 


December 29, 1944 - March 31, 2020

It is a time to morn, for the Lord has taken Judith, in the arms of Jesus, on March 31, 2020 at age 75 in the Palliative Care Unit at Strong Hospital after a life long battle with diabetes and kidney failure. 

Judy is preceded in death by her parents, Glen and May Olson of Staples. 

She is survived by her husband of 23 years, Frank A. Cicha, Rochester, NY;  step-daughter Cheryl R. Cicha, Alpharetta, GA; three sisters, Marlyis Carpenter, Fridley; Dee (Palmer) Norling, Willmar; Barbara (Richard) Day, Jacksonville, FL and several nieces and nephews.  

Born and raised in Staples Judy graduated with honors from Staples High School in 1962. She became a registered nurse when she graduated from the Northwestern Hospital School of Nursing, Minneapolis and continued her education obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud; a certificate in Chemical Dependency Administration from the University of Minnesota; a Master of Arts degree from St. Thomas University, St. Paul and a certificate in Geriatric Studies from St. John Fisher College, Rochester, NY.

Professionally, after 16 years of service, she retired from DePaul in December, 2010 as Vice President of Quality Assurance and Risk Management. Prior to that, she worked at East House Corporation, Rochester, NY; Riley and Van Hillyer Consulting Corp., Minneapolis; Granville Corp., St. Paul; Texas Commission on Alcoholism, Austin, TX; U.S. Army-Civilain Personnel Addition Services, Stuttgart, Germany and the Anoka State Hospital, Anoka.  Her long career spanned two continents and several states, always leaving behind people who were forever blessed for having known her.

She was a natural teacher, mixing education and humor. She taught at St. Mary’s Junior College of Nursing, Minneapolis; Hennepin County Alcohol Center, Minneapolis, Chanhassen Center, Chanhassen; and Anoka State Hospital, Anoka.  She was also a Sunday School teacher at the Edgewood Free Methodist Church, Brighton, NY.

Judy was described as an intelligent, generous, bright star in a dark world who always had time to counsel those around her, never divulging confidences and always leaving those she touched with the feeling that they had been truly blessed to have known her. 

A member of many organizations such as Rush-Henrietta Rotary, GRAPE, NAMI and Monroe and Genesee County Mental Health Associations, she brought insight and leadership to any task she tackled.  She was on several organization boards including Agape Counseling Center,  Eagle Star Housing where she retired as Chairman in December, 2019 and was a member of the Staples Historical Society.

In addition to her interest and membership in the MAG and RPO for several years, she was an ardent fan of the Lumber River Quartet from Lumberton, NC.

Through all her trials of health, especially her fight with advancing kidney disease and diabetes, Judy remained strong. With her deep faith in the Lord, she walked through life as a beacon of hope and love, never complaining of the pain that accompanied her on her journey.  Toward the end of her life, Judy often commented that Jesus was holding her hand. Shedding tears just reminds us that she has gone to the place she always wanted to be.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a celebration of life service will be held at a later date.

Donations in her name may be sent to: Edgewood Free Methodist Church  (www.edgewoodfmc.org; Eagle Star Housing http://eaglestarhousing.com/donations/donate/); The Palliative Care Unit at Strong (www.urmc.rochester.edu/home-care/hospice-care/donations.aspx).

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