Sunday, August 17, 2003

Robert W. Hilton Jr. was 'quintessential good citizen'

By Karen Andrew
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Mr. Hilton

Retired lawyer and civic leader Robert W. Hilton Jr. died Wednesday at his home in the Deupree Community, Oakley. The former Mount Lookout resident was 86.

The son of a prominent research chemist and local community leader, he was born in 1917 in Cincinnati, attended the Lotspeich School and graduated from the former University School in 1934. Mr. Hilton earned a bachelor's degree from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va. in 1937 and an L.L.B. from the Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Mass. in 1941.

He married Mathilde Biddle of Cincinnati in 1941.

During World War II, Mr. Hilton served four years in the U.S. Army, first with the Air Corps Judge Advocate's office at Keesler Field, Miss. He later became a member of an Army Signal Corps' French-Chinese language unit in India, servicing air bases used by American pilots flying across the Himalayan Mountains into China.

After the war, he became an associate and later a partner with Paxton and Seasongood law firm. After 32 years, he organized a new law firm with Booth Shepard in 1974.

"In his quiet way, Bob Hilton, with his generous and engaging spirit, was the quintessential good citizen of Cincinnati," said friend and fellow lawyer Bruce Petrie of Hyde Park. "He was active and effective in many groups and organizations working to advance the community, and he devoted endless hours and attention to that cause."

The nephew of Agnes Hilton, one of the founders of the Charter Committee of Greater Cincinnati Mr. Hilton served in a number of positions with the Charter party, including campaign co-chairman, review committee chairman and candidate for City Council in 1955.

He served on several boards, including the Murray and Agnes Seasongood Good Government Foundation, the Mercantile Library, and the Better Housing League.

He is preceded in death by a daughter, Elizabeth Gast.

Survivors include his wife of 62 years; a sister, Mary Danesi Wilson of Bronxville, NY; a son, David of Eugene, Ore; a daughter, Melissa Tripathy of Pleasant Ridge; and five grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Sept. 9 at Calvary Episcopal Church, 3766 Clifton Ave., Clifton.

Memorials: Calvary Episcopal Church, 3766 Clifton Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45220-1238 or Seven Hills School, 5400 Red Bank Road, Cincinnati, OH 45227.

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