On any other February 26, one would likely find Rusty wandering a West End watershed with Ed Adamich, possibly fishing a West End river with brother Ralph, cutting firewood with Mark Vanderziel or futzing with a small internal combustion engine, rather than succumbing to cancer.
Robert L. "Rusty" Hilt was born in Port Angeles on December 18, 1933, to Allen and Vivian Hilt. He grew up in Port Angeles, attending Lincoln School and graduating from Roosevelt High School in 1952.
When not in school, he spent his time hiking, fishing and hunting. Upon graduation, he joined the Air Force in 1952, spending four years in the service.
Rusty married Valerie Stewart on October 28, 1954, in a double wedding with brother Warren (Nancy) in his parents' home.
He was discharged from the Air Force in 1957. He then went to work for Crown Zellerbach, later bought by Daishowa America Ltd. He retired in 1990 after 34 years.
After retiring, he spent his time tromping in the woods, hunting or fishing or cutting wood. He had a gift for fixing things, especially engines and boat motors. If a piece could not be found, he simply made one on a metal lathe.
In later years, he enjoyed working at the Clallam County Historical Society garage sale, and he fixed things there, too.
Rusty is survived by is wife, Valerie "Val" Hilt; daughter Roni and her companion, Bill; son Marc (Molly); daughter Vicki Anderson; grandchildren Tim Bryant, Stacy Stone, Derek (Jessica) Anderson, Jack Hilt and Allen Hilt; and three great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brothers, Warren (Nancy), Don (Phyllis) and Ralph (Dee); nieces and nephews; cousins; and aunts Bev Hilt and Vera Hilt.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County, 540 East Eighth Street, Port Angeles, WA 98362; or the Clallam County Historical Society, P.O. Box 1327, Port Angeles, WA 98362.
Graveside services will be held at Ocean View Cemetery, 3127 West 18th Street, Port Angeles, on Saturday, March 8, at 2 p.m.