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John William Hilker Sr.

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John William Hilker Sr. Obituary
Hilker, John William, Sr.

John William Hilker Sr., 66 of 203 West Cortland St. Groton, NY, went home to be with his Lord and Savior after a courageous battle with brain cancer on Wednesday, April 9, 2014. He was born in Ithaca, NY on October 18, 1947. John grew up in Brooktondale, NY and went to Ithaca High School, where he met and later married his high school sweetheart, Reyna (Sandi) Gelinas. John and Sandi have been together for 50 years and married 47. John worked in the grocery industry for 48 years. He started out as a bag boy at age 16 with P&C Food Markets and worked his way up to manager after 15 years with the company. John then went to work for Ithaca Co-op for two years before retiring after 31 years of service as a Zone Coordinator for Olean Wholesale (Shur-fine). John served in the United States Army for two years both in the states and overseas. John and Sandi opened and ran The Graceful Owl Bed & Breakfast and enjoyed meeting and hosting their many guests from all over the world. He was a volunteer fire fighter and EMT for Groton Fire and Ambulance for several years. John attended Groton Assembly of God Church and enjoyed working around his yard, playing golf and watching football. He was an avid NY Giants football fan. He is survived by his wife, Reyna (Sandi) Hilker; his five children: son, John Hilker Jr. (Lori) of Groton, NY; son, Brandon (Katie) Hilker of Mt. Juliet, TN; daughter, Kristin (David) Norte of McLean, NY; daughter, Jacqualyn (Leslie) Breeds of Groton, NY; son, Donald (Casey) Hilker of Groton, NY. He is also survived by his 13 grandchildren, Tiernee Harris, John Hilker III, Daren Conklin, Allyson Hilker, Christian VanBenschoten Jr., Denielle Breeds, Tessa Hilker, Savanna Hilker, Collin Breeds, Jack Norte, Thomas John Norte, Kory Hilker, Lacie Marjorie Hilker; his sisters, Elizabeth O'Neil of Madison, VA; Theresa Donlick of Freeville, NY; Judy (Jim) Tripp of Cortland, NY; sister-in-law, Kim Vann and brother-in-law, Robert P. Gelinas, both of Ithaca, NY; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his father, Eldon Hilker; his mother, Grace Hilker Cowles; father-in-law, Robert H. Gelinas; mother-in-law, Marjorie Gelinas; granddaughter, Brandee Rose Hilker; brothers-in-law, Dr. Richard Donlick and Eugene O'Neil. Calling hours will be held 6:00PM - 8:00PM Saturday evening at Zirbel Funeral Home, Groton, NY. Funeral Services will be held Sunday April 13, 2014 at 2:00PM at the Groton Assembly of God, 701 South Main Street, Groton, NY. Please sign the guest book at

Published in Ithaca Journal on Apr. 11, 2014
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