Cover photo for Karla Joy Hillen's Obituary
Karla Joy Hillen Profile Photo

Karla Joy Hillen

July 3, 1963 — December 7, 2021

Karla Joy (Reynolds) Hillen was born on July 3, 1963, in Glendale, CA. and grew up in Shamokin, PA. She was pronounced dead on December 7, 2021. 

After graduating from high school in 1981 she joined the Army band, where she played flute and was a vocalist. Karla was also a pianist and violinist. Those who heard Karla play an instrument, sing, saw her dance, enjoyed a meal she’d made, or were supported by her care and encouragement knew that music, nourishment, and love were expressions of her joy. It was through her commitment to music that she met her husband Jamie Hillen in the Army band. Their duets were heard on many a cruise, karaoke stage, and at graduations and wedding celebrations during their 37 years of marriage. 

Karla married Jamie on September 8, 1984, in Treverton, PA. and together they raised two children, Julia and Andrew, through multiple deployments, moves, and life changes during their service in the Army. The family explored Europe during two tours of duty in Berlin and Wiesbaden, Germany. Later, Karla and Jamie enjoyed their travels across the U.S., including memorable trips to Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, Utah, and Washington in recent years. Karla and her family moved to Richmond Hill, Ga., in 1999, where she opened Richmond Hill Family Counseling Center and served the community as a family therapist. 

In late 2020, Karla moved with Jamie to Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where she immediately established new and enduring friendships while maintaining decades-long relationships with friends made during her time in the Army and in Richmond Hill. She flew back to the States regularly to visit friends and family. 

Karla is survived by her husband, Jamie; her daughter, Julia (Chris) Cousineau and grandchildren, Connor and Elaina of Richmond Hill, GA; her son, Andrew Hillen (Johanna Phelps) and grandchildren, Seeley, Alma, and Eirene of Vancouver, WA. She loved her grandkids and devoted the past decade of her life to enriching their lives-- teaching them to play instruments and cards, lending a listening ear whenever they needed her, and sharing trips, treats, and treasures. It will always be the time wonderfully spent with her that they will cherish most. Karla is also survived by her mother and stepfather, Karleen and Lee Eberly; and brothers, John and Donald Reynolds. She was preceded in death by her brother, Reed; and father, John Reynolds. 

Karla counseled thousands of families through the Richmond Hill Family Counseling Center and was open about having her own stresses and life challenges at times. She would be the first to encourage anyone to always seek help when needed. In lieu of flowers, Karla's family suggests donations be made to the PTSD Foundation of America, 9724 Derrington Road, Houston, TX, 77064.

Visitation will be from 6 - 8 p.m. on Monday, December 13, 2021, at Carter Funeral Home Bryan Chapel. Memorial services with Full Military Honors will begin at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, December 14, 2021, at Carter Funeral Home Bryan Chapel with Father Joseph Smith officiating. Karla's family will receive friends for one hour prior to the service. To view the service via Facebook Live please visit

Arrangements are being provided by Carter Funeral Home Bryan Chapel. To share a memory or leave a condolence, please visit


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Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, December 13, 2021

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Carter Funeral Home Bryan Chapel

10512 Ford Avenue
Richmond Hill, GA 31324

*Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Starts at 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

Add to Calendar

Carter Funeral Home Bryan Chapel

10512 Ford Avenue
Richmond Hill, GA 31324

*Standard text messaging rates apply.


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