Funeral services were held Monday, Aug. 10, 2009 at First Lutheran Church for Kenneth Paul “Ken” Hillman, 77, Rugby, who died Thursday, Aug. 6 at the Heart of America Medical Center.
Burial was in Persilla Watts Cemetery.
Ken was born May 22, 1932 at Bottineau, the son of John P. and Pauline (Westford) Hillman. He was raised in the rural Mountain, N.D. home of his parents and received his education and graduated from high school there in 1950. He attended Minot State College, earning his teaching certificate, and taught in the rural school system for a short time. On July 8, 1952 he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was stationed at Key West, Fla., on the USSA 1263 sub-chaser, where he trained sonar students how to track submarines. He also served on the USS San Pablo, where he was a Second Class radio operator. He was honorably discharged on July 6, 1956. On Aug. 17, 1958 he married Betty Lou Hjelmstad at Adams. The couple made their home on the Hillman family farm near Mountain until moving to Minneapolis in 1959, where he attended Humboldt Institute of Technology. While in Minneapolis, Ken worked for Bishmann Manufacturing as their traffic manager until moving to Rugby in 1966 to operate the Standard Oil station known as the Andy B. In 1970 Ken and Betty purchased the business, renaming it the Hub of America. Their life work was operating the Hub, which included adding a supper club to the restaurant, a lounge, a motel, convenience and off-sale store. The Hub of America was well known throughout the state for great meals, exceptional service and hospitality. Ken and Betty retired in 1996.
Ken was deeply involved with tourism over the years and was a member of First Lutheran Church and the Clarence Larson Post #23 of the American Legion. He loved spending time with his children and grandchildren and sharing his stories of his childhood and Icelandic heritage. He and Betty traveled twice to Iceland, spent several winters in Arizona, drove the Alaskan Highway and RV’d across America. He was an avid fisherman and cribbage player.
He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Betty of Rugby; three children and seven grandchildren, Kim (Dan) Anderson, Moorhead, Minn.-Erin (Tom) Aulik and Michael Anderson; Kelly Wolfe, Minot, and special companion, John Cuddigan-Kelsey, Trina and Carlie Wolfe; and Craig (Alesia) Hillman, Alexandria, Minn.-Brittany and Amanda Hillman; two brothers, Dr. Lyle Hillman, Brainerd, Minn., and David Hillman, Walhalla; a sister, Audrey Steinberg, Seattle; nieces, nephews, other relatives and many, many good friends and business associates.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Pastor Mike Pretzer and Pastor Sharon Baker officiated. Organist was Barb Lee, and soloists were Alecia Pretzer and Lyn Dwyer.
Casketbearers were Michael Anderson, Dr. Brian Selland, Loren Smith, LeRoy Johnson, Robert Johnson and Vance Florell. Military honors were accorded by the Clarence Larson American Legion Post #23 honor and color guard of Rugby and Military Funeral Honors of Minot.
Arrangements by Anderson Funeral Home, Rugby.
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