A Sacred Moment


Eugene Hilton

July 19, 1939 - November 06, 2011

Very well respected by his colleagues and officials of the local courts...

On November 6, 2011, our devoted husband, father, grandfather and exceptional friend to many, Gene Hilton, passed away following a hard-fought three-and-a-half year battle with lung cancer. His optimistic enthusiasm and compassionate caring will be greatly missed by all of us.

Gene was born July 19, 1939 in St. Louis, Missouri to Irene and Murray Hilton, the second of three children. He moved with his parents and two sisters, Barbara and Karen to Seattle where he lived in the Capitol Hill area and later in Lake Forest Park. During his elementary years he and a few friends started a Forestry club to discuss conditions in the forest environment. Thus his interest in the outdoors and forestry was cemented. He also developed a great interest in auto mechanics in his middle school years as a result of a dedicated teacher. Gene went on to attend Roosevelt High School.

After high school, Gene served four years in the Air Force as an engine mechanic for the C-124 aircraft. He received an Honorable Discharge in 1961 from McChord Airforce Base in Tacoma, WA.

Gene married his first wife, Judith Palmer, in September of 1962.

He then attended the University of Washington and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry Engineering. During his college years he learned to engineer logging roads in the Mt. Rainier area, the environs of which he grew to love. He spent his summers working as a fire fighter for the US Forest Service.

At graduation Gene was interviewed and hired by Caterpillar, Inc. and he, Judy and their 6-month-old daughter Leslie moved to Peoria, Illinois where Caterpillar is headquartered. After a couple of years Gene was promoted and transferred to Caterpillar’s Far East Division. He spent the next seven years working in Southeast Asian countries including Hong Kong, where his second daughter Jennifer was born, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippine Islands. He returned to the States to Stone Mountain Georgia to work in 1976. Then in 1979 he took a job with the local CAT dealer, NC Machinery, in the Seattle area. He finished his working career at Chemgrate Corporation in Woodinville, WA. There he became acquainted with mountain climber Pete Schoening and tried his hand at climbing Mt. Rainier. While he never summited he developed a great respect for his friends who did.

One of Gene’s retirement goals was to do volunteer work and he began teaching English as a Second language under the auspices of Seattle Community College. He also began what became 12 years of service as a CASA/Volunteer Guardian Ad Litem in King and later Snohomish Counties. He devoted countless hours and compassionate energies to this organization as a court-appointed special advocate, representing his CASA kids in court. Gene was very well respected by his colleagues and officials of the local courts.

In 1999 Gene married Joanne Fillinger and helped her to build a home and manage a four acre waterfront filbert farm in Stanwood, WA. In addition to several trips within the United States, Gene and Joanne spent a month traveling in Australia and visited his business acquaintances there. They also took an extended car trip for a month up through Canada and the Yukon to the Artic Circle and back.

In addition to his wife Joanne, Gene is survived by his daughters Leslie Bartlett and Jennifer Hilton; his step-daughters Marni Mills, Angie Vadnais and their children; his grandchildren Allison Bartlett, Benjamin Bartlett and Sydney Hilton-Siegel; his two sisters; and his five nieces.


Life Celebration will be at the Rosehill Community Center in Mukilteo on Saturday, November 26, 2011 from 1:00 – 4:00 pm. Click the link below for a map and driving directions.


Remembrances in Gene’s memory can be made to Snohomish County Volunteer Guardian Ad Litem Program. 2801 10th Street, Everett, WA 98201


Just as the Wave Cannot Exist 


Just as the wave cannot exist for itself, but is ever a part of the heaving surface of the ocean, so must I never live my life for itself, but always in the experience which is going on around me. It is an uncomfortable doctrine which the true ethics whisper into my ear. You are happy, they say; therefore you are called upon to give much.

Albert Schweitzer

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