In Memory

Dick Adolf Hilmers - Class Of 1936


Hilmers, Dick Adolf Age 93, passed away on Tuesday, August 28, 2012, at his home in Milwaukee. Born on September 17, 1918, Dick grew up on the West Side of Milwaukee, where he attended Washington High School. While facing the hardships of the Great Depression in the 1930s, Dick worked as a clerk in an investment company in Milwaukee for three years to save money for college. He then studied at Northwestern University in Illinois with a partial scholarship. After graduating from Northwestern with a degree in business, he started working for Acme Steel (later renamed Interlake Steel) in Chicago. He became Manager of Personnel at Interlake in 1961 and moved up to higher positions there until his retirement in 1983. Dick was happily married during two periods of his life: to Elizabeth Kordes of Milwaukee for 25 years and later to Jane Chapin of Chicago for 15 years. After residing in the Chicago area for 60 years, he moved to Milwaukee in 2010 to be closer to family. Dick was a warm and caring person who believed in and practiced helping others to improve their lives. He constantly supported other members of the family and close friends in times of need. He helped the Hyde Park (Chicago) Co-op and Credit Union to grow and prosper in the 1950s and 1960s. He and his wife Jane contributed to literacy programs in the south suburbs of Chicago and did work for the South Suburban Humane Society during the 1970s and 1980s. His greatest public service was his work as a volunteer adult literacy and math tutor at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights. He tutored over 900 students there from 1986 until 2009. Dick's outstanding service as a tutor was honored in 2005 when he received the Spotlight on Service Award from the Illinois Secretary of State and the Illinois Press Association. Dick had a life-long passion for classical music and a love of gardening. He enjoyed classical music concerts and opera performances in Chicago and elsewhere. He tended the beautiful flower garden of his home in Olympia Fields, Illinois for over 30 years until he was in his late 80s. His other interests included reading (he bought the New York Times every Sunday), politics (he was a proud Democrat), baseball (he was a Chicago Cubs and later Milwaukee Brewers fan) and traveling. He traveled widely in the U.S. and made several trips abroad, visiting Italy, Austria, Germany, France, Greece, Great Britain, Denmark, (former) Czechoslovakia, Spain, Tunisia and other countries. He always enjoyed the company of an affectionate pet in his home, either a dog or a cat or both. He was predeceased by his first wife Elizabeth Kordes, his second wife Jane Chapin Miller, his sister Doris Muenzner and her husband Dick Muenzner, his brother-in-law Carl Davidson, and his brothers-in-law Bill Chapin and Dan Chapin. Those who live on to cherish Dick's memory include his sister Barbara Davidson of Milwaukee, his son Nicholas Hilmers of Milwaukee (now working in Oman), his step-daughter Suzanne Chapin of Madison, his grandsons Chris Grant of Milwaukee and Andrew Grant of Los Angeles, his nephew Bill Tumler of Thiensville WI, his niece Vicki Johnson and her children William and Lauren Johnson of Milwaukee, his niece Daphne Dilley and her daughter Alandra Dilley of Seattle, his step-sons Brian Miller and Steven Miller of Chicago, his sister-in-law Ruth Fort and her husband Ted Rowse of Chevy Chase MD, his brother-in-law Jay Chapin of Salem, MA, and several step-nieces and step-nephews. Memorial visitation will be held on Friday, September 7, from 10:00-11:00 AM at the Funeral Home. Funeral services at 11:00 AM. A second memorial service will be held in Chicago in January.
Published in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on September 5, 2012