Dr. Robert M. Hillary

Mary, Betty Dorothy, Edith Norman (in sac uniform) Holly and Robert MichaelIn 1891 Dr. Robert W. Hillary, now nearing 60, advertised in the Aurora Banner

…to notify his friends, patients and the public generally that he has taken his son Robert [M] Hillary into partnership with him from the first inst. and that either of them will be constantly at the office. As Dr. Hillary Jr. has been one of the house surgeons for the General Hospital Toronto for the past 15 months, Dr. Hillary Sr. feels that he can recommend him with confidence to his patients.
Office hours till 10 a.m., from 2 to 3 and 6 to 7 p.m.

The younger Dr. Hillary had studied medicine at Trinity Medical College under Dean Walter B. Geikie and at the Toronto General Hospital as the clinical clerk of Dr. Frederick W. Strange. When he graduated in 1890 he stood second in his class and won the silver medal.

He was tempted to go with his friends Drs. T. Cullen and L. Barker to Johns Hopkins Hospital to study with the great William Osier. His father was in failing health, though, and in 1894 died leaving young Dr. Hillary to provide for his mother, his Aunt Alicia, Mrs. Hall, his sister Nan and brother Lindsay.

In 1895 Dr. R. M. Hillary married Edith Mussen, daughter of the Rev, E. Horace Mussen, rector of Trinity Church, Aurora. In the quiet and peaceful years from the turn of the century to the beginning of the great war, the family prospered and grew. Nine Hillary children were born in the Manor between 1896 and 1913.

When the war came Dr. Hillary, Surgeon Lieutenant-Colonel of the 12th York Rangers, volunteered for active service and in 1916, at the age of 53, went to France as medical officer of the 127th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. The hardships of battle and the death of his eldest son Stuart (Vimy, 1917) broke his health. He retired shortly after the war.

Later he was to write:

Hillary Family Photos
Hillary Family Photos
I regretted very much having to give up the practice of medicine. I enjoyed it to the fullest, and I think I have been in nearly every house in Aurora, Whitchurch, and King as attendant or consultant and have loved the families.

I had the honour of advising, and treating and consoling their misery for over 30 years and my association with my brother practitioners was most ethical and harmonious, and I missed their association very much.