Monroe News Star and Shreveport Times columnist and retired chairman of Louisiana Tech's journalism department, Wiley W. Hilburn Jr., 75, died today at Northern Lousiana Medical Center in Ruston, according to NBC 6 News sister station, KTVE in Monroe
Hilburn earned his bachelor's degree from Louisiana Tech and his master's from LSU. He began his writing career as a teenager, writing sports for the Ruston Daily Leader. He worked for newspapers across the state, reporting and writing editorials, but returned to teach at Louisiana Tech at age 30.
At Tech, Hilburn chaired the journalism department, directed the news bureau and was faculty adviser for the university’s award-winning student-produced newspaper, The Tech Talk.
Students under his tutelage at Tech went on to become some of the top journalists in the country, winning awards all the way from the Louisiana Press Association and the Associated Press to the Pulitzer Prize.
But Louisianans knew him best for his downhome humor depicting small town and rural life in north Louisiana. Although well-read and well-versed in local, state, national and international affairs, Hilburn was at his best writing about simple things his readers could relate to - growing up in the '50s in north Louisiana, as well as his decades-long daily morning coffee with life-long friends at Ruston's Huddle House.
Senator Mary Landrieu released this statement on Hilburn's passing:
"I remember first reading Wiley's column when I briefly lived in Monroe and never stopped. Reading his column, you knew that you would get a fair take on any situation whether it was in North Louisiana, South Louisiana or Washington, D.C. Louisiana has lost one of its most important and clearest voices today. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."
Hilburn leaves a wife and three children Funeral arrangements are pending