JAMES CLIFFORD HILKE At his request, no service is planned for James Clifford Hilke, 87, who died peacefully at home in Paradise, CA, on November 13, 2013. "Jim" was born May 16, 1926, in Santa Barbara, CA, to Elizabeth and Clifford Hilke. He graduated in 1943 from George Washington High School in San Francisco, CA, where he was active in ROTC. After high school, he attended San Francisco City College while he waited to become old enough to join the Army Air Corps. After the war, he returned to San Francisco and resumed his education at City College then transferred to San Jose State College where he was a member, a service fraternity. Jim graduated, with distinction, from San Jose State in 1949 with a bachelor's degree in Commerce/Accounting. He met Helynn Moore at San Jose State and they were married in Carmel, CA, in 1950. They had two children, Kathleen and Scott, whom he loved unconditionally and was very involved in their lives. Jim's World War II service was as a turret gunner on B-29's. He was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant in 1946. He was recalled into the Air Force (as it was then known) during the Korean War in 1951 and was stationed at Selfridge Air Force Base in Michigan where he worked as an accountant in the Tenth Air Force Headquarters. He got his second honorable discharge with the rank of staff sergeant in 1952 and was required to remain in the Air Force Reserve. He received his third honorable discharge with the rank of second lieutenant in 1955. After his tour of duty in Michigan, he returned to San Francisco again and later moved his family to San Bruno, CA, from where he commuted to his job in San Francisco as a Special Agent for the Internal Revenue Service. In 1963, he was transferred to the Chico, CA, Internal Revenue Service office and the family moved to Paradise, CA. When Butte Community College officially opened in 1968, Jim was one of its first employees. He retired from there as Associate Dean/Business Manager in 1988. He was very proud of his contributions to the development of what has become a fine educational facility that serves the whole area well. Always keenly interested in local civic affairs, Jim was active in his community. As a boy, he enjoyed membership in the Boy Scouts of America and, as a teenager, in the Civil Air Patrol. His activities also included serving on the 1977/78 Butte County grand jury, Paradise Park and Recreation board of directors and participating in Y Indian Guides with his young son, Scott. He was a charter member of Bidwell Park Golf Club, Inc., enjoyed a membership in Sons In Retirement and had been licensed as a public accountant by the State of California. Jim had a passion for anything aeronautical and for travel. One of his favorite experiences was a visit to the Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution. He was always eager to visit any air museum that might be in the vicinity of where his many trips took him. He and Helynn, often with their children, visited most of the fifty U.S. states including Alaska and Hawaii as well as Washington, D.C., Canada, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Bermuda and other areas of the Caribbean. They took both river and ocean cruises and enjoyed seeing new places and meeting new people. Jim was predeceased by his parents and beloved daughter, Kathi. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Helynn; son, Scott Hilke; daughter-in-law Erin Hilke; two sisters and their husbands; and many nieces and nephews. Jim was funny, smart, loving, kind, generous and an "All-Around Good Guy". He believed he lived an honest and blessed life and his family mourns the loss of a good and decent man. To send condolences online, please go to www.paradisechapelofthepines.com
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Published in Chico Enterprise-Record on Dec. 4, 2013