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Jack A. Hilson



Jack A. Hilson, 90, of Electric City, Washington, passed away on Thursday, November 5, 2015, at Coulee Medical Center, Long Term Care, Grand Coulee, Washington. He was born May 14, 1925, to Herman and Ethel Hilson in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho. He graduated from Almira High School in 1943. On June 9, 1944, he entered into the U.S. Navy. He was a Radioman 2C, stationed on the USS Vincennes in the South Pacific. He was awarded the Asiatic Pacific Ribbon, American Area Ribbon and the Victory Medal. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1946.

It was during one of his leaves home that he met the love of his life, Dolores Godfrey (or, as he referred to her, "that beautiful blonde from Mason City"). Jack and Dolores were married in Coulee Dam, Washington, on December 21, 1946. They had four children: Pamela, Sandra, and twin sons, Douglas and Dale.

In 1947, carrying on his Hilson newspaper roots, they both became involved in the printing of The Star Newspaper. They began their purchase of the paper in 1958. Ownership remained with Jack and Dolores until he sold to Jim Black in August 1985.

Jack took great pride in his community, as is seen in every Coulee Conversation he wrote, always interjecting a touch of "Hilson Humor" to each column. The Grand Coulee Dam area meant a great deal to him and he dedicated his newspaper prowess to honest reporting and promoting The Star Newspaper as a community- oriented newspaper. He was a pivotal figure, along with other Lions Club members of the mid-1950's, in the inception and completion of Spring Canyon Park and Spring Canyon Cemetery. He was instrumental in the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam Airport and Steamboat Rock State Park. These would not exist without his political expertise. He served on Grant County Port District 7 for over 10 years and was on the board of the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.

During the construction of the Third Powerplant, he and Dolores were host to many political figures. During any given weekend, you could find Senator Henry M. Jackson, Senator Warren G. "Maggie" Magnuson, Representative Catherine May, or Representative/Speaker of the House Thomas S. Foley in their home. The Third Powerplant days brought to them many good times and long-lasting friendships. Everyone was considered "family."

In 1986, he became a tour guide for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation at Grand Coulee Dam. He held that position for several years before retirement.

Mr. Hilson was an avid hunter and spent many happy days with his family at their cabin at Crawfish Lake. For the past several months he had been a resident of Coulee Medical Center, Long Term Care. The entire staff became his extended family and he treated each of them like his own. He was a kind and gracious man and will be missed beyond belief.

He is survived by his daughters: Pam (Kary) Byam of Electric City, and Sandra (Mitch) Yarbrough of Spokane, and his son Douglas A. Hilson of Morganfield, Ky.; daughter-in-law Gwen Hilson of Electric City; grandchildren: Kamela (Tom) Farmer, Karyn (Dennis) Payne, Kyle (Anna) Mattson; Jennifer (Seth) Golla, Corey (fiancée Nicole) Hilson, Nicole (Michael) Berry, and Marissa (Zach) Gatten; great-grandchildren Madisyn Byam, RiLee Kassman; Tanner Bishop, Dillon Berry; sister, Jean Scott; nephews: Marc (Rosario) Murbach, Monte (Diane) Murbach, Ken Hilson, and Lester Waddington; nieces: Pat (AJ) Gerard, Kathy (Jerry) Wein, Carole (Earl) Johnson, Shirley Vaughan, Jacqui Murbach and Nancy Scott; and numerous great-nieces and -nephews.

He is preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Dolores; son, Dale; brothers: Howard Hilson and I.W. "Bob" Hilson; his sister, Evelyn Waddington; his niece and nephew, JoAnn and Spencer Hinson, and nephews: Jeff and Allen Scott.

Per his request, there will be no services.

A family man.

A caring man.

A good man.

A well-respected man.

A prince among men.

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