WASHINGTON - Jesse J. Hilton, 81, of Washington passed away at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, in Peoria.
Jesse was born Jan. 20, 1933, in Peoria, to Jesse and Gertrude Mae Tompkins Hilton. He married Carol Haller on Sept. 6, 1958, at LaMarsh Baptist Church in Mapleton and she survives.
Also surviving are their children, Vicki (David) McClintick of Peoria, Cathy Sue (John) Jeffries of East Peoria and David Allen Hilton of Washington; grandchildren, Ryan and Kevin McClintick, Mike and Brian Gielbelhausen and Tara Gielbelhausen Michaels; a great-granddaughter, Addison, and one great-grandson due in April; and three sisters, Anna Mae DeLasso, Mary Cooksey and Gertrude Foust.
He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Eldridge Arnold and Charles Snook; and three sisters, Golda Hart, Gladys Scheeley and Mae Snook.
Jesse served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean conflict from 1950 to 1954. While serving, he earned three Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart as a gunner in Mitchell B-25 planes. He later served as an aircraft mechanic for F-51 Mustangs and some of the first jet aircraft, the F-84 and the F-86.
He graduated from DeVry Chicago in 1960, and later opened Ivy Tech, where he was qualified to train veterans under the GI Bill. He owned and operated Florentine Kitchen and Bath, Hilton Apartments and Craft World, retiring in 1995.
Jesse was a member of Bayview Baptist Church in Washington.
He enjoyed camping and traveling and wintered for eight years in Texas' Rio Grande Valley with his wife. He also enjoyed woodworking, remodeling and fishing and loved dogs.
A visitation to commemorate Jesse's life will be from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday Feb. 4, 2014, at Deiters Funeral Home & Crematory in East Peoria. A service will conclude the visitation at 7 p.m. A graveside service will be held at 12 noon Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, at Maple Ridge Cemetery in Mapleton. Pastor Keith Thibo will officiate.
Jesse's memorial website is available at www.deitersfuneralhome.com, where condolences may also be sent to the family.