Richard Lillard, an educator and writer with a lifelong devotion to the environment, has died in a Santa Monica hospital. The retired chairman of the English department at Cal State L.A. and award-winning historian was 80 and died March 19 of the complications of a cerebral hemorrhage.
Born in Los Angeles, Lillard was a prolific author who expressed in print his interests in Western history, fiction, the Nevada desert and his own home in Beverly Glen Canyon, a patch of verdant wilderness surrounded by the nation's second-largest city.
In "My Urban Wilderness in the Hollywood Hills," published in 1983, Lillard told of the mammals, reptiles and insects on the one-third acre that he lovingly tended; of the plants and trees, the swelling buds and the aphids that threatened them.
"I both don't belong here and I do," he said of his then-36-year odyssey in the chaparral-covered hills.
Lillard earned degrees at Stanford and the University of Montana before earning a doctorate in American civilization from the University of Iowa in 1943.