Hillenbrand Remembered As Compassionate Visionary

Jun 11, 2019

A Rapid City developer, philanthropist and community leader is being laid to rest today.

Ray Hillenbrand died on May 31st from a progressive lung disease at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Hillenbrand is most recently known as a driving force for two Rapid City groups he helped organize—Destination Rapid City and Rapid City Collective Impact.

The former created Main Street Square downtown, and the latter was designed to help solve problems of the most vulnerable members of the community. Collective Impact is in the process of creating OneHeart, a sober, clean living transformation campus.

Sandy Diegel is a former CEO of the John T. Vucurevich foundation who is currently a board member. She worked with Hillenbrand on several projects over the years.

“Ray was just a very caring individual who cares about absolutely everyone,” Diegel says. “Doesn’t matter what your status in life is, he just felt that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect and have the opportunities to succeed.”

Hillenbrand is also known as the owner of Prairie Edge, a retail story and gallery that specializes in Native American arts and crafts.

Hani Shafai is a developer and the president of Dream Design International. He says Hillenbrand was a community leader.

Shafai says Hillenbrand set an example for the community for generations to come. Shafai says how he did that was…

“His vision—which he followed to the letter—that included taking care of the less fortunate, to try to enhance economic development in our community and also to build the future of a community with a great heart—as he called it.”

Hillenbrand's burial is Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Rapid City. He was 84.