We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Lockenour-Jones Mortuary
Gerald Eugene “Jug” Hilton, 90, of Cambridge, Nebraska, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by loved ones on March 25, 2022.
Gerald was born in Cambridge, NE to Harold W. and Lucile C. (Johnson) Hilton on December 20, 1931, at the Republican Valley Hospital. During his Depression-Dust Bowl era childhood, he recalled his family living in nine different farming locations. He attended rural schools and Cambridge Public School.
Gerald experienced both of Cambridge’s floods, viewing the 1935 rising floodwaters from a bluff south of Holbrook and rescuing people in the 1947 flood with a small boat. He proudly wore the orange and black of Cambridge High School, graduating with the class of 1949. During high school, he excelled in academics, sports, and attended Cornhusker Boy’s State, Cambridge’s first delegate. He played summer baseball on coach Stu Minnick’s first team.
After graduation, he worked on the family farm and ventured into the new era of flood control working on several dam construction projects. In late 1952, Gerald enlisted in the United States Air Force. A qualifying exam entitled him for flight training, among the last cadets becoming pilots without college degrees. He completed his pilot training as the Korean War concluded. He was Honorably Discharged as a First Lieutenant in 1957. His lifelong passion and adventures in flying were only rivaled by the friendships in the USAF Class of 54G. He attended many reunions including celebrating a 60-year reunion in 2014. He recalled flying more than twenty different aircraft in his forty years of flying. He named the F86 his favorite two days before his death and described breaking the sound barrier.
Gerald married Gloria Joseph on July 12, 1964, in Cambridge, and was blessed with two children, Neil and Andela. He farmed and raised cattle, being engaged in innovative farming and ranching practices. Gerald loved the cattle market scene and working with his dad and Eldon Moore.
Gerald enjoyed his relationships serving as a member or on boards of the Bartley School Board 9 years, Cambridge Hospital Board 9 years, Cambridge Co-op, Airport Authority, Rotary, American Legion #199, Bartley Masonic Lodge #228, Tehama Western Shrine Club, McCook Elk’s, and Bartley Equity. He loved serving as a Flying Fez volunteer pilot taking patients and families to a Shiner’s Hospital in Minneapolis. Gerald gave many area children and adults their first plane ride and jumped at every chance to take flight.
Gerald cherished his 75+ years as a member of the Trinity United Methodist Church. He had a love of travel and excelled at the driving and navigation aspects. Gerald loved reading, playing bridge, technology, and education. Although his interests were broad, his greatest joy was spending time with his family and encouraging them in their activities and educational pursuits. Family and friends loved his quick wit and the stories of his life, which he shared in great detail.
The final chapter of Gerald’s life began in 1998 when he and Gloria purchased the Historic Faling home to operate as the Cambridge Bed & Breakfast. Gerald’s storytelling, local history, and sincere interest in people were a great complement to this endeavor of 24 years.
Gerald was preceded in death by his parents, Harold (Lucile) Hilton; in-laws, Harold (Elizabeth) Joseph; sister, Shirley (Robert) Linderholm.
Gerald is survived by his wife of 57 years, Gloria, and two children. Son, Neil (Pam) Hilton, of Grant, NE, and daughter Andela (Dave) Taylor, of Cambridge. Four grandchildren, Joseph and Olivia Taylor, Chase and Grant Hilton. Two siblings, Kenneth (Peggy) Hilton of Cambridge and Colleen (Phillip) Kamm of Kearney, NE. Sisters-in-law, Mary Kay (Dan) Sexton, Nancy (Russ) Cruise, and brother-in-law, Paul (Kathy) Joseph. Fourteen nieces and nephews, their spouses and families, loved cousins and friends.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Monday, April 18th at the Trinity United Methodist Church of Cambridge with Pastor David Kim, officiating. Military Honors to follow at the Fairview Cemetery in Cambridge. Memorials may be given to the church in his honor. Lockenour-Jones Mortuary has been entrusted with arrangements.