Hilsabeck, John Richard, noted surgeon and long-time resident of Orange County, passed away on March 9, 2013 at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California, surrounded by loving family. He was 92 years old.|
John Hilsabeck was born in 1920 in Nebraska and was the son of Lester Clyde Hilsabeck, M. D. and Mary Loraine Wendling. He was predeceased by his wife of 44 years, Mary Anne Walker, and is survived by six sons and six daughters, 23 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, a sister, Elvira McKenna of Virginia, and 6 nieces and nephews.
He was a graduate of Creighton University in Omaha and held both MD and MS degrees. During WW II, he served in the US Navy as a LT(j.g.) with the 85th and 35th Naval Construction Battalions, and on the USS Leland E. Thomas (DE 420) in the Philippines providing escort to convoys in Subic Bay, patrolling the Sulu Sea and across the South China Sea to Hanoi. His military service had a lasting impact on his life.
After the war, Dr. Hilsabeck continued his surgical training at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. In 1951 he moved his family to Orange, California where he began a private medical practice as a general surgeon. He published numerous articles on medical procedures and was a well-known and respected doctor at many of the hospitals in the area, including St. Joseph Hospital in Orange where he served as Chief of Staff. He was also involved with medical education at UC, Irvine.
Helping the community was important to him and he was one of the founders of the Bower's Museum Foundation in Santa Ana and was involved with the early development of Children's Hospital of Orange County. Though he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's five years ago, he stayed engaged with his family, friends and caregivers. He watched the daily Mass on television, prayed each day for his children and appreciated even the simplest of God's gifts, like the green hummingbirds that often visited the patio at his home in the desert.
Services will be held at noon on Friday, March 22nd beginning with Monsignor John Urell celebrating the Mass of Christian Burial at La Purisima Catholic Church, 11712 N. Hewes Street in Orange, California, followed by interment at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery, 7845 Santiago Canyon Road, Orange. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you make a donation to the
, Smile Train or to a
Published in Orange County Register on Mar. 20, 2013