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Carol Ruth Hilton

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Carol Ruth HILTON Carol Ruth Hilton, 85, died of lung cancer on January 10 in Portland, Oregon. She was an award-winning journalist who wrote for newspapers throughout Washington. Carol was born December 22, 1925, in Los Angeles. She grew up in Southern California and graduated from the University of Southern California, where she was a Chi Omega. In 1949, while flying as a stewardess for Challenger (later Frontier) Airlines, she met John Edwin Hilton II. They married one month later and moved to the Seattle area. Carol began her journalistic career as a reporter for the weekly Bothell Citizen in Bothell, Washington. At mid-life, facing the prospect of covering the local July 4 celebration for the eighth time, she returned to school. She earned her Master of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington. She later worked for the School of Communications as a research associate, then as liaison between the school and the newspaper industry. She went on to become a writer and section editor for the Yakima Herald Republic and, later, for the Daily Olympian. Throughout her career, Carol was active in the Washington Press Association and Women in Communications, winning awards at the state and national level. "She was known for her interviewing skill and a writing style that drew readers' interest into whatever she wrote about," said Linda Daniel, of Portland, a longtime friend and colleague. "She was genuinely interested in all the people she met and had a keen sense of social justice," Daniel continued. During the years when Carol was not a working journalist, she was active in grass-roots opposition to the Vietnam War and in support of equal rights for women. At that time, she also served as a Democratic Party precinct committeewoman. Carol enjoyed live theater and concerts. She supported the performing arts in Seattle, as she did in every community where she lived. "She had a theatrical flair for costume and loved to dress up," Daniel recalled. "She was among the first women who dared to wear pantsuits - albeit very elegant ones - to one of Seattle's big formal events. We called her Brenda Starr after the then-popular fashionista/reporter of the comic strip." In retirement, the Hiltons lived in Seattle's Lake Union houseboat community and traveled throughout the world. They moved to Holladay Park Plaza, a continuing care retire- ment community in Portland, in 2004. Carol, and her late husband, John are survived by their son, John E. Hilton III, and his wife Kerstin. Services will be held at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, January 29, at Portland's Grace Memorial Episcopal Church, 1535 N.E. 17th Ave., followed by a celebration of life at nearby Holladay Park Plaza, 1300 N.E. 16th Ave. The family requests that no flowers be sent, and suggests that any gifts in Carol's memory be sent to Seattle Opera, the Northwest Center for Wooden Boats, or Planned Parenthood.
Published in The Seattle Times on Jan. 28, 2011
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