Robert F. Hilpert ’57
Robert “Bob” Hilpert, a long-time resident of Bellingham, WA since 1984, passed away on February 4th, 2016 at age of 80. He was born to Edwin and Christine Hilpert of Rochelle Park, NJ. Bob was surrounded by his loving wife of 51 years, Karen Frances Hilpert, as well as their children and their families; daughter Deborah Sunderland (husband Neil) of Seattle, WA, son Kevin (wife Shannon) and grandson Connor of Bellevue, WA, daughter Katrina of Bellingham, WA, and son Clint (wife Shayla) and grandsons Robert II and Ulysses of Eureka, MT. He was survived by his brother Edwin Hilpert (wife Carol) of Round Rock, TX, sister Christine Bein (husband George) of Sedona, AZ, and Barbara Green (husband Robert) of Seabrook, TX.
Bob completed his Bachelors of Marine Science at Maine Maritime Academy (Castine, ME) in 1957. He travelled extensively as a Midshipman throughout the Middle East during his studies. In 1958, he joined the US Navy, deployed throughout East Asia and was honorably discharged in 1961 with the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade. That same year he started his career in foreign trade, working at International Minerals and Chemical Corporation, Overseas Marine Services, Pacificana Trading Company, International Chemical Trading Company, and finally at the Port of Bellingham. Bob and his family lived in New York, NY, Skokie, IL, Vancouver, BC, Hong Kong, BCC, Tulsa, OK, and finally Bellingham. His work brought him to nearly 75 countries in his lifetime. He retired in 1997 from Port of Bellingham where he served as the Director of Marine Terminals and Director of Economic Development and Vice President of a Foreign Trade Zone at the Bellingham Airport. Additionally, as a patriot duty, Robert worked as a “stringer” with the Central Intelligence Agency throughout his years abroad.
Bob had a witty sense of humor coming from his Irish upbringing in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City, always telling jokes and discussing politics, culture, and world events. He had an affinity for travel, going on long “country drives,” fishing with his children, and boating with the family. He had a deep love for bagpipes, his patriotic duty to America (Go Navy!), God, and his family and friends. His generous nature touched many lives with his storytelling abilities and through his desire to talk to people of their travels.
Bob and Karen are members of Trinity Lutheran Church. There will be a celebration of life service at Trinity and gathering at the Grace Center on Saturday February 20, 2016 at 11 am located at 119 Texas Street, Bellingham, WA 98225.