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John Rothrock Hilger

08/05/1931 - 05/31/2018
U.S. Veteran
Service Date: 06/11/2018 at 11:00 AM
Location:St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church
Service Details
A Vigil service will be held Sunday, June 10, beginning at 4 p.m. at St. Charles Borromeo Parish, 7112 S 12th St., Tacoma, WA. His Funeral Mass
is scheduled for Monday, June 11, at 11 a.m., at St. Charles Borromeo Parish, to be followed by a reception in the church hall.
Obituary
John Rothrock Hilger, born August 5, 1931, passed to eternal life on May 31, 2018. Jack, as he was known, was a man of many talents and accomplishments; but his greatest achievement of all was his loving, faith-filled family.
The second of three children, he was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, to Dr. Andrew and Winifred Hilger. He attended St. Thomas Military Academy and the University of St. Thomas. During medical school, he married Alice Kueffner in 1954. He graduated in 1957 with his M.D. from McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
While raising his family of six children, he mastered two specialties: Ear, Nose and Throat and Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Jack was especially proud to serve as a surgeon in the U.S. Navy in Jacksonville, Florida, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He moved his family to Tacoma in 1969, where he pioneered his successful medical practice, becoming the Northwest's first Facial Plastic Surgeon. He was elected President of the Washington State Otolaryngology and Surgical Head and Neck Medical Society and National President of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. In these roles, he was a major force in moving Head and Neck surgery forward. He retired at the age of 78 after practicing for 52 years.
A natural athlete, Jack ran track, boxed and played hockey. He played on the All-Star Minnesota State Hockey Team in 1949 and the Minneapolis Jersey's semi-pro team in 1953. He later became co-owner for the Tacoma Rockets and enthusiastic team doctor for both the Rockets and Tacoma Sabercats hockey teams. Ever the entrepreneur, the Minnesota native founded Katie Downs Restaurant, an iconic Tacoma waterfront favorite, in 1982.
He and his wife, Alice, later moved to a ranch in Yelm, where they enjoyed spectacular views of Mount Rainier and space to farm and train competitive Labradors. He became a well-known, Field Trial competitor, amassing ribbons and trophies reaching the national level. After Alice's passing in 2001 Jack remained on the farm and married Jan Semsak in 2010.
Jack was a remarkable man who leaves behind many family members and friends who will miss him dearly. He is survived by his second wife, Jan Semsak Hilger, and his children Andrea Duffy (Brian), Kathy Kingen (Gerry), Nick Hilger (Maria), Kurt Hilger, Dan Hilger (Luann), Jim Hilger (Chong), stepson Eric Semsak (Jenn), 15 grandchildren, one step grandchild, and three great-grandchildren. Survived by his sister Molly Thibault (Harry), he was preceded in death by his wife of 47 years, Alice Kueffner Hilger, as well as his brother, Andy Hilger.
A Vigil service will be held Sunday, June 10, beginning at 4 p.m. at St. Charles Borromeo Parish, 7112 S 12th St., Tacoma, WA. His Funeral Mass
is scheduled for Monday, June 11, at 11 a.m., at St. Charles Borromeo Parish, to be followed by a reception in the church hall.
Remembrances in the name of John R. Hilger can be made to the Alzheimer's Association at www.alz.org/donate or Bellarmine Preparatory School, 2300 S. Washington, Tacoma, WA 98405.



Arrangements by Gaffney Funeral Home
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