Ellen Edens Hilderbrand(1947 - 2013)

Ellen Edens Hilderbrand


Ellen Edens Hilderbrand lost her long and courageous battle with cancer on January 5, 2013 at the McCall Hospice House in Simpsonville with her loving family at her side.

Born on April 21, 1947 in Bennettsville, South Carolina, Ellen was the daughter of the late Gordon and Elaine Edens.

Ellen was loved by all that knew her. She was a devoted mother, wife and counselor. Ellen graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of South Carolina in 1968 with a degree in English Education. She married in 1969 and went on to graduate school and earned a MA degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. During her career she worked with inmates at the South Carolina state prison, a sheltered workshop in Boston for challenged clients seeking to obtain job skills, and later at King College and Northeast State Community College in the East Tennessee area working as a guidance counselor. In all of these jobs, her clients came first, and many communicated with her in later years to express their gratitude long after she left the profession.

Ellen will be remembered as a loving, caring person who was community oriented. She was very involved with her home garden and earned Master Gardener status in both East Tennessee and South Carolina where she donated hundreds of volunteer hours to beautify the environment. Ellen was a member of Saint Dominic's Catholic Church for many of the 30 years she lived in Kingsport, Tennessee and later joined the Holston Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Gray Tennessee soon after the couple returned from an Eastman assignment in Hong Kong. Ellen was a loyal member of Greenville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and was devoted to social justice and equality for all people.

During her 4 year expatriate life in Hong Kong, Ellen became interested in Eastern religion and culture. Following her repatriation to Kingsport, TN, she became deeply involved in Shao Lin Martial Arts. She worked hard to become an expert in Tai Chi and was practicing for her black belt in Kung Fu under Grand Master Gary Mullins when her training was interrupted, and she followed her husband to Greenville, SC to start a new career with Fluor Daniel.

Survivors include her loving husband of 43 years, Ron Hilderbrand; 2 cherished daughters, Nell Eden and Susan Noel, both of Nashville, Tennessee; precious granddaughter Rachel Wike, also of Nashville; her ever attentive sister Kathryn Hubbard of Florence, SC; her loving brothers Mike Edens of Chapin, SC and Jeff Edens of Houston, TX; her loving nephew John Hubbard of Mars Hill, NC; loving nieces Michelle Edens of Dallas, TX, Jennifer Hart of Clyde, NC, Anna Moore of Rock Hill, SC and Angela Averette of Florence, SC.

A celebration of her life will be conducted on January 12, 2013 at 1 PM at the Greenville Unitarian Fellowship in Greenville SC. The family wishes to thank all friends and family for the prayers, phone calls, and expressions of kindness shown to them during the last several years.

In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to be made to the Greenville Unitarian Universalist Building Fund.

Published in The Greenville News on Jan. 6, 2013