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Retired firefighter

A retired Petaluma firefighter, Norman R. Hilliard also served terms as vice president and president of the Firefighters Union Local 1415, during which he co-authored Binding Arbitration for Petaluma firefighters and police officers.

A former resident of Petaluma, Mr. Hilliard died at his home in Eugene, Ore., on Aug. 28, 2013. He was 68.

A native of Ellwood City, Pa., Mr. Hilliard was a resident of Petaluma for more than 40 years, and served with the Petaluma Fire Department for more than 30 years. He retired from the department in the late 1990s.

"As a union man he was a labor hero who oversaw the successful effort to place a voter approved binding arbitration measure for police and firefighters in the city charter," said Robert Breen, a close friend of Mr. Hilliard for nearly 40 years and a fellow retired Petaluma firefighter. "During the 17 years I worked with him, he was my firefighting buddy, my ambulance partner, and my union brother."

Breen said that as chairman of the Binding Arbitration Committee, Mr. Hilliard, "vowed to camp out at local supermarkets until enough valid signatures were collected to put binding arbitration for police and firefighters on the November '90 ballot. He did it, and now it's part of the city's charter."

Mr. Hilliard was also known as an accomplished cook, both at the firehouse and in his home.

"His seafood pasta was the stuff of legends, and he made the best St. Patrick's Day melt-in-your-mouth corned beef I ever tasted," said Breen. "He was a good man. I will always miss him."

Mr. Hilliard is survived by his wife of 47 years, Dianna; children, Douglas and Deborah; and grandchildren.

Family and friends are invited to a memorial, which will be held next year at a date to be announced.


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