Eric Brent Hilde (1959 - 2012)

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  • "Eric was a wonderful man and a wonderful friend. We will..."
    - Vicki Miller
  • "The Stanwood High School Class of 1977, is very saddened to..."
    - Jeanmarie Trapp
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Eric Brent Hilde, 52, of Belgrade passed away Thursday, April 5, 2012 at the Bozeman Deaconess Hospital after battling a long and complicated illness.

He was born October 12, 1959 in Mt. Vernon, Wash. a son to Arnold Iven and Elaine Nadine (Jensen) Hilde and was raised on the family dairy farm in the Skagit Valley. Following graduation from Stanwood High School, Eric enlisted in the US Army, serving our country as a Military Policeman in Italy. Eric was an excellent marksman, a skill he picked up in the military, which came in handy keeping the local gopher population under control. After being honorably discharged in from the Army in 1979, he returned to Washington and worked as a truck driver.

After one too many experiences underneath broken down trucks in the cold and rainy northwest, Eric decided to embark on a career in Mortuary Science. He graduated from Mount Hood Community College in Oregon and began serving families as a Funeral Director for Butterworth's Funeral Home in Seattle, where he served many families until 1992. He was a member of the National Funeral Directors Association, the Washington Funeral Directors Association and the Montana Funeral Directors Association.

Eric met the love of his life Deborah Chard after following her home from a grocery store in Seattle and a couple of lunch dates later they both knew they had found their someone. They moved to Montana in 1992, finding a piece of paradise in the Horseshoe Hills between Belgrade and Manhattan where Eric built them a masterpiece of a house. Eric had a passion for wood and a collection of fine old growth fir and cedar that he had salvaged over many years from old buildings throughout Washington. He hauled this wood with him to Montana and put it to good use building their home. He was able to put his building and woodworking skills to good use working as a master carpenter for Ken LeClair, Ken Walker and SBC until cancer dealt him a blow in 2005.

Despite a poor prognosis and spending a year in hospice, Eric was fortunate enough to have a remission from the cancer and spend more time doing the things he loved; hunting, fishing, tending to the fruit orchard and various woodworking projects. In 2010 Eric, being a bit restless, told Deb he wanted to buy a motorcycle and she said NO, so instead he bought a semi truck and started another adventure hauling pipe from Texas to the oil fields in North Dakota, until he became ill in October.

Eric took pride in everything he touched. He was meticulous, whether it was serving a family as a funeral director, building a house, or just working on a project at home. He faced tremendous adversity over the past several years and his faith in God gave him the strength and courage to persevere. We will miss you Eric.

He was preceded in death by his father, Arnold. Survivors include his wife Deborah of Belgrade; his step-daughter Rhiannon (Michael) Ohman of Bozeman; his mother Elaine Hilde of Stanwood, Wash.; his brother Kent Hilde of Stanwood, Wash., his sister Katherine Joyce (Richard) Feider of Pomeroy, Wash.; and his beloved pugs Otis and Lily.
Services will be held at a later date.

Memorials may be made in his name to Yellowstone Public Radio, 1500 University Drive, Billings, MT, 59101 or Friends of Montana PBS, P.O. Box 10715, Bozeman, MT 59719

Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at
Funeral Home
Dahl Funeral Chapel
300 Highland Boulevard
Bozeman, MT 59715
(406) 586-5298
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Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Apr. 8, 2012
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