John Leigh Hilts
John Leigh Hilts
The memorial service for John Leigh Hilts will be held Friday, April 7, 2006 at 4:00 p.m. at the Eastwood Baptist Church, 675 North Keene Way, Medford, Ore.
John Leigh Hilts, 61, of Medford, died April 3, 2006, after a courageous five year battle with cancer. He passed away at his home surrounded by family. He was born February 25, 1945 in Whitewood, Saskatchewan, Canada, to Dr. Joseph Alfred and Verne (Lubiniecki) Hilts. His family migrated from Canada to the United States in 1954. He graduated from the University of Wyoming where he met his wife, Cheryl "Cherie" Lang. They were married on September 9, 1967. They then moved to Missoula, Montana, where he graduated first in his class from the University of Montana School of Law.
John excelled in baseball and set several pitching records at the University of Wyoming. He then pitched professionally in the Baltimore Orioles organization in California and Florida. One of his joys was coaching and he was the pitching coach for the Medford Mustangs American Legion Baseball team when they won their first state championship in 1976.
He was a skilled and respected attorney and practiced in Oregon, Nevada, California and Montana. In addition to training with Gerry Spence in Jackson, Wyoming, he and his family spent four months in Europe and Scandinavia in 1982 while he studied International Law. Although the majority of his active law career was spent in Medford, he was practicing in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the last nine years.
John was an avid sports fan and especially enjoyed attending major league baseball games and professional basketball games. He played Medford City League Basketball for many years. He lifted weights and jogged daily throughout his life. He ran in four marathons (Sacramento, San Diego, Santa Barbara and New York) in addition to several Pear Blossom runs. He and Cherie loved jogging in different places when they traveled. One of his favorite things to do was fish on the Little Blackfoot River in Montana and in the California Sierra Nevadas. He enjoyed ski trips to Bend and times in Hawaii with family and friends. He became a pilot in the 1980s and flew small planes. He was also a gifted musician and was invited to appear on the Lawrence Welk Show when he was in eighth grade. Everyone knew him to be an entertaining storyteller and he wrote two unpublished books. In the past several years his hobby was collecting and running model trains.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his son, Dr. Michael John Hilts and wife, Julia, of Greensboro, North Carolina; daughter, Julie Lenore Cromwell and husband, Mark; and son, Ryan Leigh Hilts and fiancee Kelsey Chance, all of Medford; mother, Verne Hilts of Medford; brother, Joseph Hilts and wife, Margaret of Green Bay, Wisconsin; brother, E.J. Hilts and wife, Pamela of Las Vegas, Nevada; and granddaughters, McKenna, Marlena and Madara Cromwell and Rachel Hilts. He was preceded in death by his father and sister Elizabeth.
Our family extends our thanks to our friends and John's physician, Dr. Richard Karchmer and his staff at Hematology Oncology Associates, the staff of Providence Medical Center — East, Providence Home Care, and Providence Hospice for their care giving.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating blood to the American Red Cross or Contributing to Harry and David Field, c/o Medford Youth Baseball Society, P.O. Box 4224, Medford, Oregon 97501
Arrangements Hillcrest Memorial Park & mortuary. Medford, Ore, 97504 541-773-6162