Vincent "Bud" John Hilmes
Vincent John Hilmes, "Bud", 90, passed away February 16, 2013. Bud was born July 28, 1922 in Ransom, Kansas to Johanna and Bernard Hilmes oldest son of nine siblings. He was predeceased by his first wife of 36 years, Mary Jo and two daughters Judy and Carole Ann. He was predeceased by his second wife of 31 years, Wilma Benson.
He was also predeceased by three siblings: Agnes Lewis, Al, and Pat Jumara.
He is survived by three children: Ron Hilmes(Judy) Smithville Lake, Barbara (Stephen) Bodanske Overland Park, Kansas and Patricia Jenkins (Charlie) Dennison, Texas. He is also survived by brothers Bernard Hilmes, and Jim Hilmes, Springfield, Three sisters:
Mary Ann (Bill) Rumker, Betty, and Cecelia Tartar (David), Two devoted step grandchildren Regina Rorrer (Darren) and Dale Benson (Natalie) Eight Grandchildren; Luke and Ben Hilmes, Rhonda Brown, Sarah Heitsch, Senior Airman Philip Bodanske, USAF, Jeffrey Bodanske. Craig Jenkins, Jennifer Armstrong; 15 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
Vincent served in the USAAC, The United States Army Air Corps before and during WWII in its entirety. He was a flight navigator on B-17 crews patrolling the Panama Canal Zone for German Submarines for the first years, then later on the islands of Guam and Tinian on B-17s, and later B-25s and B-29s. He survived three crash landings including once when he was lost at sea on a life raft alone for three days before miraculously being spotted and rescued. His crew was one of only a few who survived the required minimum of 30 flight missions and continued to fly until the end of WWII. A late duty change moving Vincent to the Radio Shack during the invasion of Iwo Jima probably saved his life again because of the high loss of land Troops.
On August 5, 1945, Vincent stood on the wing of his plane and watched a secret cargo being loaded into the Enola Gay on the island of Tinian. It turned out to be the Atomic Bomb "Little Boy" that was dropped on Hiroshima the next day. Vincent was discharged with rank of Master Sergeant.
Returned to Springfield after the Japanese surrender, Vincent became a Master Carpenter and site foreman for several construction companies. He was known as a meticulous and quality craftsman. Once while working at the Hammons towers, his work was observed by John Q. Hammons who then requested him personally to do the finish work on the cabinets in Hammon's personal office.
Bud's happiest days were at his cabin on Table Rock Lake; one he built entirely himself.
A visitation will be held, Tuesday from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. in Greenlawn Funeral Home North, funeral services will be Wednesday at 1pm in the funeral home.
Published in the News-Leader from Feb. 17 to Feb. 19, 2013