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Jonathan Hildreth

1943 - 2019
Jonathan Hildreth Obituary
HILDRETH, Jonathan Zane May 14, 1943 - Dec. 22, 2019. Jonathan Zane Hildreth, Atlanta resident and restauranteur, died Sunday afternoon, Dec. 22, age 76, at his home in Atlanta, after a long illness. His wife, Laura Borders, was with him. Born April 14, 1943, in Charlottesville, VA, the son of the president of the People's Bank of Charlottesville, William Sobieski Hildreth and the former Angelica Fraser-Farquarson. Jon received a BA in English from Hamilton College, and pursued Theatre Studies at Indiana University Bloomington. A career as varied as Jon's interests ensued. He moved to New York City and was a reporter for a Mexican wire service, among other journalism jobs with burger-flipping in between. Escape from the city meant running a landscaping company in Rabun County, GA, including tree farming and logging. When he moved to Atlanta, Jon co-owned a little restaurant in the Virginia-Highlands called Eats 'n Sweets, the first natural foods restaurant in Atlanta, with his then-wife Susan Kelly. The writer of this piece was the business manager of Eats 'n Sweets, and Jon's wife when he died. Housed in an old Dairy Dell metal building, Eats 'n Sweets was a neighborhood institution in the late 70s and early 80s. It was restaurant-as-theatre, with the seating, cooking and serving areas all in one fun room, serviced by two anemic air conditioners in the summer and stove and grill heat in the winter. Local winos were fed and warmed. Rock and rollers like Tinsley Ellis came by for Egg Burritos and Huevos Rancheros, a great hangover cure, along with the freshly showered couples who'd met the night before at the Downtown Caf?, then below Tex's Drilling Company. Romances began and ended every weekend. One couple asked Jon to sign their list of agreements prior to divorcing. He lit a cigarette, opened a beer, and handled the matter with the gravity of a judge in a toque. A squadron of waitrons composed of artists, musicians, sculptors and writers kept things moving, introducing patrons to new friends as they filled every one of the 34 seats. A future mayor of Atlanta ate there regularly and tipped poorly, along with a future publisher, tables of free-lance production crew members, and the many interesting and unique people who lived in Va-Hi before gentrification. Alas, such arrived, the fun went away and Jon moved to Brevard, NC, where he ran a bed and breakfast. At the time of his death he was retired. Besides his wife, he is survived by a son, a daughter and two stepsons. His many friends will miss his laugh, encyclopedic knowledge of movies and music, and sense of humor. His service will be 11 AM, Saturday, Dec. 28, at St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church. 3480 E. Main Street, College Park, GA 30337. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Tri-Cities Friends of Kitties, 1287 Jefferson Avenue, East Point, GA 30344. Tri-Cities is a 501-3c organization dedicated to trapping fixing, and feeding community cats in Jon's neighborhood. Donehoo-Lewis Funeral Home, Hapeville. 404-761-2171.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Dec. 27, 2019
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