Harold James Hilliger, 94, of Danville, passed away at 10:50 a.m. Thursday, July 17, 2014, at the Illinois Veterans Home in Manteno.
There will be a graveside service at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 22, at Spring Hill Cemetery in Danville, with the Rev. Dr. Jimmy Hopper officiating.
Harold was born in 1919 in Chicago, the son of Frank and Leona Hilliger. His older brother, James, preceded him in death.
He attended DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., majoring in economics, where he met his future bride. He and the former Martha Rose Webber of Danville were married at First Presbyterian Church on Jan. 2, 1943. She preceded him in death in 1975.
He is survived by his two children, daughter, Nancy Coan (Henry), and son, David James (Kathy Anderson); two grandsons, Matthew and Jonathan Coan (Julie Gaskin); and two great-granddaughters, Josephine and Caroline Jane Coan.
During World War II, Hal left DePauw and enlisted in what was then called the Navy Air Corps with the desire to become a pilot. He was sent to Texas where he graduated from Corpus Christi Naval Air Station and became commissioned as an ensign. He then served his country for the next four years as a squadron maintenance officer and a command pilot of a patrol bomber. He enjoyed telling stories of his time flying PBMs and PBYs and other seaplanes. He retained a lifelong interest in flying and aircraft design.
After the war Hal became a loyal Danville citizen. In his early days he was active in many civic organizations including Junior Chamber of Commerce, charter president of the Lion’s Club, Elks Lodge 332 and Olive Branch Lodge of the Masons. He served the Presbyterian Church as elder and deacon and was Sunday school superintendent during the building of the Christian education addition to the church.
He studied commercial art at the Art Institute in Chicago, but his lifelong interest was always strongest in design, particularly in the field of architecture. He worked in commercial art at the former Penry Furniture Company but later was self-employed as a building contractor. He particularly enjoyed designing houses and drawing building plans and was the originator of a number of houses in Danville as well as numerous additions and upgrades.