Services were held Nov. 10 in Tennessee for Todd Hampton Lillard, a former Ahwatukee Foothills News photographer in the 1990s who died earlier this month. He was 60 and lived in New Bethel, Tennessee.
Born and raised in Memphis, Mr. Lillard attended and Mississippi State University and worked as a commercial photographer in Memphis as well as for Federal Express and Home Depot.
A devout Christian, he moved to the Phoenix area for five years to help build a church and eventually returned to Fayette County, Tennessee, for the farms he loved.
“I worked with Todd at the Ahwatukee Foothills News for about five years before he decided to move back to Tennessee,” wrote Jim Powers on Mr. Lillard’s online obituary. “He was one of the best photographers I have ever worked with but more importantly one of the best human beings I have had the opportunity to know.
“He drove his signature green camper truck down to Douglas so we could follow the first college practices of a Desert Vista High School football player, Bobby Wade.”
Powers recalled that one night someone broke into that truck and stole his fireman’s gear.
“I felt horrible since we were there for my story,” he recalled. “He wasn’t happy but true to Todd’s character and demeanor, he stayed focused on the task at hand. I never doubted his dedication and willingness to help others.”
“He was one of those people who just stays with you,” Powers added.
Kris Black, another acquaintance whose wedding Mr. Lillard photographed 25 years ago, recalled his laugh and smile and said, “He loved the Lord and everyone around him.”
In Tennessee, Mr. Lillard was known for his “enduring interest” in working with big equipment on the family farm.
“As a young man he would work for hours alongside the long-time farmers of Fayette County, absorbing everything they could teach him about tractors and farm equipment,” his family said in his obituary.
“These memories and the stories they inspired were one of Todd’s favorite things to talk about.
“Todd had a great sense of humor. Family meals were often interrupted with the sounds of laughter as he told one of his stories. He also loved animals for his entire life but none more than his rescue dog Kipper.
“Many people knew of Todd because he and Kipper went everywhere together. They were regulars at their favorite restaurant the Wolf River Café in Rossville, Tennessee, and often sat on the porch together enjoying a catfish dinner.”
Mr. Lillard is survived by his father, David Hicks Lillard, Sr.; a sister, Robin Lillard Bates; and his brother David Hicks Lillard, Jr. as well as an aunt, uncle and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.