Gerald “Butch” Trevor Hilgendorff, of Neustadt, passed away in hospital on Saturday, January 28, 2023. He was 82.
Born on June 24, 1940 in Neustadt to the late Christian and Mary (nee Zimmerman) Hilgendorff. Gerry, better known as “Butch” to everyone in Neustadt, was a well-respected police sergeant in Essex and Goderich. In early years of his career, he was commended for saving a life. He had a great sense of humour and his volunteering was unmatched, leading to being awarded a Queen's Platinum Jubilee Coin this past summer. Many did not know that he was instrumental in establishing the first shelter for abused women in Huron County, organized the Marine Heritage Festival, a tall ships event that was one of Goderich's most successful events and chaired the committee that oversaw the building of the Neustadt Community Center. He revitalized Goderich's Christmas decorating program and brought his love of Christmas back to Neustadt where he retired and built a giant and well-loved Christmas display. He enjoyed recent trips to Tennessee. In the photo, he is about to walk the Gatlinburg Skybridge, the last item on his bucket list.
Survived by son Scott Hilgendorff, formerly of Goderich, now of Tennessee. He was the last surviving member of the family. Dear brother in law of Helen Hilgendorff of Neustadt. He will be missed by many nieces, nephews and their families. Predeceased by his parents, brother Ken Hilgendorff and by his sisters Burnette “Nettie” (Ron) Emke and Joanne Hilgendorff. To honour his wishes, cremation has taken place and a family inurnment of ashes in the family plot will be held at a later date in St. Paul's Lutheran Cemetery, Neustadt.
An informal gathering for a celebration of Butch's life will be held on Saturday, May 13th, 2023, at 1:30 pm at the picnic shelter in the Neustadt Lions Park. Please dress for an informal afternoon in the park, and on Gerry's Trail of Dreams, which was a true labour of love that he leaves behind to his community.
Memorial donations to Gerry's son, Scott's non-profit work with Cowboys of the Cross (online at https://www.lifesongfamily.org/ ) would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.
Our Deepest Sympathies Terry, Deanna and to the families. You are in our thoughts and Prayers at this most difficult time. Love and Light to All…. Chuck and Linda- Linda Wendt