Is your surname Rykema?

Research the Rykema family

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Carole Hillard (Rykema)

Death: October 25, 2007 (71)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Edward Rykema and Vernell Peterson
Wife of John Millard Hillard

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
view all

Immediate Family

About Carole Hillard

Carole Hillard (August 14, 1936 – October 25, 2007) was the first woman to serve as Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota.


Hillard was born in Deadwood, South Dakota, August 14, 1936 to Edward Rykema and Vernell Peterson; she was one of three daughters born to them. She graduated from the University of Arizona in 1957 with an undergraduate degree. She subsequently earned a master's degree in education from South Dakota State University in 1982 and then a master's degree in political science at the University of South Dakota in 1984.

Hillard was married to John Hillard. They had 5 children together, all of whom are married with children. She also had 18 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.


Hillard dedicated her life to public service. Her first political experience was serving on the Rapid City Common Council. She was then elected to two terms in the South Dakota House of Representatives from Rapid City.

Hillard, a Republican, served was elected as Lieutenant Governor in 1994 and was re-elected in 1998 as the running mate of Bill Janklow; she served from 1995 to 2003. She was instrumental in the foundation of the Rapid City woman's shelter and the Cornerstone Rescue Mission and was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 2007. In 1996, incumbent Democrat U.S. Congressman Tim Johnson of South Dakota's At-large congressional district decided to retire to run for the U.S. Senate. Hillard decided to run for the open seat, and lost to John Thune, 59%-41% in the Republican primary.


Hillard suffered a spinal fracture and three broken ribs on October 8, 2007 while sailing on a boat with friends in the Adriatic Sea. She underwent surgery in Zagreb, Croatia two days later. On October 19, 2007, she was hospitalized while in Switzerland before she was bound to return home to the United States. She had developed pneumonia, a bacterial blood infection and suffered a series of strokes.

Hillard died at University Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland on October 25, 2007. She was 71 years of age.

view all

Carole Hillard's Timeline

October 14, 1936
October 25, 2007
Age 71