Cecil Hilburn Hillestad, a resident of Dogwood Manor Assisted Living, Abbeville, died late Wednesday morning, December 19, 2012, in the Henry County Health & Rehabilitation Facility. He was 90.
The family will receive friends from 10:00 until 11:00 A.M. Saturday, December 22, 2012, at Holman-Abbeville Mortuary, 434 Ozark Road, Abbeville. A private family graveside service will be held in the Chalkhead Baptist Church Cemetery, near Ozark, with a grandson, Reverend Joshua Hillestad officiating. Holman-Abbeville Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Alabama Future Farmers of America Wall of Honor, c/o Alabama Cattlemen's Association, 201 South Bainbridge Street, Montgomery, AL 36102.
Mr. Hillestad was born January 5, 1922 in Frankfort, South Dakota and moved to Kelly, Louisiana with his family as a child. He married Eunice Lois McManus in 1941 and they soon moved to Tallassee, Alabama. Mr. Hillestad enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1944 and served his country during World War II as a right blister gunner and assistant engineer on a B-29 in the Pacific Theater. Upon returning from the war, he enrolled at Alabama Polytechnic Institute (Auburn University) and earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Education in 1950 and completed his Master's Degree in 1956. Following his graduation in 1950, he was employed by the Barbour County Board of Education at the Baker Hill School as an Agriculture teacher. While living in Baker Hill, he was instrumental in obtaining phone service for the community, organizing the local Ruritan Club, and was one of three founding members of the rural water service which is now the Baker Hill Water Authority. In 1961, Mr. Hillestad left his teaching position and began his career with Pea River Electric Cooperative and retired after twenty-six years employment as Director of Member Services.
After retiring, he and his wife, Mable, traveled extensively making numerous R.V. trips to Alaska and enjoyed sharing those experiences with their friends. He was a dedicated outdoorsman and enjoyed all types of hunting and fishing and especially enjoyed projects on his beloved north Barbour County farm.
Mr. Hillestad was preceded in death by the mother of his children, Eunice McManus Hillestad and two brothers, Lunsford Warner and Willard F. Hillestad.
Surviving relatives include a daughter, Gwenett H. DaGian and husband, Gregory, Abbeville; two sons, Dr. Hilburn O. Hillestad, Marietta, GA and Danny R. Hillestad and wife, Debbie, Auburn, AL; loving step-mother to his children, Mable Deese Hillestad, Ozark; two brothers, Ingvil (Tony) Hillestad and wife, Dorothy, Columbia, LA; Wilbur G. Hillestad and wife, Betty Jo, Grayson, LA; three grandchildren, Dana Hillestad, Joshua Hillestad (Maggie), and Elizabeth Roberts (Anthony); five great-grandchildren, Kelsea Grupe, Connor Grupe, Brooks Cleary, Pamela Hillestad, Raegan Hillestad, and a special friend at Dogwood Manor, Syble Davis.
The family would like to express their appreciation to Dr. Rube Hundley, Dr. Scott McAllister, Dr. John Wessner, Dr. Keith Granger and Dr. Richard Meadows for the compassionate care shown to Mr. Hillestad. The family would also like to extend a special thank you to Sherri Nowell and the outstanding staff of Dogwood Manor, the Henry County Health & Rehabilitation Facility and Gentiva Hospice.
Serving as active pallbearers will be Edward Cooper, Pat Bynum, Howard Glover, Mitchell Griffin, Lavon Hutto and Max Price.