NAPLES (FLV) – Distinguished rancher and businessman Joe Marlin Hilliard reportedly died Friday at age 79 in Naples.
Hilliard provided major advances for South Florida’s cattle, citrus and sugarcane industries. He was inducted into the Florida Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2017 and was recognized for his success in the farming and ranching industries.
Hilliard was born into a ranching family and continued to expand the family business by making large investments in sugarcane, citrus, and vegetable production.
After graduating from Clewiston High School in 1961, he worked on Hilliard Brothers Cattle Ranch and later took over management.
“His successful farming legacy will continue to build on its great heritage as Hilliard Brothers of Florida remains a family operation with Joe Marlin Hilliard’s two sons’ Joe Marlin II, Bryan, and his daughter Mary Elizabeth; all directly involved in different aspects of the business,” the U.S. Sugar article says.
Hilliard and his wife, Barbara Jean, were also active in the local community and donated to several local and state organizations. He has funded the Joe Marlin Hilliard Endowed Scholarship at the King Ranch Institute of Ranch Management at Texas A&M, Kingsville and the Joe Marlin and Barbara Hilliard Scholarship at Florida Gulf Coast University.
“More importantly, he was a devoted Christian and family man who greatly valued family and friends. An avid outdoorsman throughout his life, Joe Marlin Hilliard graciously shared his love of hunting and fishing with friends and colleagues, extending invitations to join him on these adventures,” the article said.
Visitation will be held at Hodges Funeral Home in Naples on Sept. 2 beginning at 1 P.M. Services are scheduled for afterward.
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