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In Loving Memory of Ethel Louise Hilderman


Ethel was born in Regina in 1921 and moved out to Vancouver as a youngster in 1929 with her parents, two brothers, and a sister. The parents bought a house on West 47th Avenue near Maple Street. During her teens she spent the summers with her family in the Cariboo at their Placer Mine. She helped in the kitchen so the crew could be fed. After graduation, she attended Normal School and became an Elementary School teacher. She taught in a one-room school Grades 1 to 8 in the Fraser Valley. After two years of teaching in a rural setting, she was hired to teach in Vancouver, mostly at Lord Tennyson School. She loved teaching Grade One—the youngsters in the primary grades were so keen and eager. Ethel’s Dad said Fred took her out of Grade 1.

Now we hear another part of the story: Fred’s part.

Fred grew up in Winnipeg and moved to the coast in 1948. He got a job in construction and moved into a boarding house in New Westminster. After a month of really bad meals in this boarding house, he moved to a rooming house where he could do his own cooking. But, if the boarding house operator had been a good cook, Fred might not have met Crawford. Crawford lived across the hall from him and later married Emma, Fred’s sister. Later on that year, their jobs ended in New Westminster, and Crawford and Fred commuted daily to Vancouver. Family friends of Crawford who lived in the Dunbar area had a basement suite and they let these two bachelors move in.

Here’s where the two paths intersect….

Ethel and Fred HildermanFred and Ethel met in an alley (Kerrisdale bowling alley). A number of young people from Kerrisdale Baptist Church bowled in a league, Crawford among them. Crawford invited Fred to join and they met. For many months, Fred adored Ethel from a distance, only being bold enough to ask her about her score every week. Fred was quite abashed before young women and especially a beautiful woman like Ethel. Soon, Crawford joined the choir and again asked if Fred would like to join as well. Lo and behold, there was Ethel. Ethel encouraged Fred to give it a try, much to the chagrin of the choir leader. After a spell of time, Fred decided he had better quit before the congregation faded away.

When Fred first met Ethel, he was working towards entry qualification to Teacher Training. Ethel was Fred’s greatest encourager. Fred and Ethel were married, and Fred’s first teaching job was in the Cariboo in Quesnel. So back to the Cariboo she went. During their one year stay there, Ethel was able teach for six months while one of the elementary teachers was on sick leave. The living accommodation they had was a two-room shack behind a motel. They had no running water and had to carry it in from an outside tap. They used the bathroom facilities at the landlord’s motel. Ethel joined the choir at the local United Church.

After their daughter Mary Lou and their son Gordon were born, Ethel became a caregiver and encourager of another sort. When the youngsters were away in school, she volunteered as a caregiver with a program at Ryerson United Church for disabled children called “Care Free.” When her aging parents needed help, she would be there. Ethel was a founding member of LARA, a women’s group devoted to raising funds for the various programs in the community for the mentally disabled.

Ethel loved to sing; in high school and Normal School she was a member of a Glee Club. She sang in the Trinity Baptist (formerly Kerrisdale Baptist) for 40 years and also the ”Grace Thompson Singers.” The Cariboo became again an important element in Ethel’s life. For the last thirty-seven years, Fred and Ethel have spent most of their summers in the Cariboo at their cabin on Meadow Lake.

Late this spring, Ethel was diagnosed with cancer. She faced this squarely and with boldness. When she told me, she said, “I have had a good life, I am ready to go home.” Then she folded her arms as if God was taking her that very moment. And indeed, I think that she expected God to do just that. She often joked about the nickname given to her in her college years: “Franky.” She was given this name because she was always so frank and spoke her mind. You always knew where you stood with Ethel, and even in this valley of the shadow of death, Ethel was frank and straightforward. She wasn’t afraid; she was already comforted and secure in her identity as a child of God. Her faith and her knowledge of the presence of God and where she was going after she died was undeniable. Many said that they went to visit her, hoping to encourage her but went away built up and comforted themselves.

Ethel had come in her life to her Creator, and she had entrusted her life to Jesus, the author and perfecter of her faith. She had walked with him through hard times and good times. She had used her talents and gifts for God and she had loved us, her family and her friends and the people of God. And she has left behind an inheritance, a gift. She has taught me, she has taught us how to die with Jesus. She has shown us that the peace that passes understanding is a reality, it is sure. I pray that we will follow in her footsteps, living for Christ and dying unafraid in His presence, going home… Goodness and love have followed her all the days of her life, and she is and will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

By Joy Gregory


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Gifts Given in Celebration of the Life of Ethel Hilderman

Ethel’s family graciously asked if moneys could be given to the Joy Living Society (the society that runs the home where Gordie Hilderman lives), and to the Joy Fellowship Van Fund (our current van is 13 years old and needing replacement). We are excited and honored that the Memorial Donations for the Van Fund are over $30,000.

Arthur Rempel
Ev & Wes Woods
John & Ruth Cumbers
Audrey Same
Evelyn Proctor
Katsumi Imayoshi
B.D. Kirkrod
Florence E. Leonard
Linda McMahon & Jan Koster
Barbara Rogers
Lyle Lexier
Belinda Boyd
George H.Speckman
Margaret Gall
Betty Gjertsen

Gwen Lee
Marjorie Foster
Bramwell & Margaret Lamb
Hope Wells
Charles & Olive Heseltine
Ida Armstrong
David J. Foster
Janice Reithofer
Patricia Lobmeier
Doreen B. Annala
Jean Baxter
Peggy, Terry & Kerry Dempsey
Doris & Bob Upton
Jean Slessor
Phillip & Myrtle Molberg

Jean Watt
Pieter & Joop Versteeg
Edeltraud Goetze
The Jepsons
Richard & Jean Gillespie
Emma McCrone
Joan Lew
Rob, Daveda,Amy & Brent Foster
Roberta Bavis
Sharon Habkirk
T & V Kagetsu
Thomas & Marion Dixon
Verna Mooney
Judith A.H. Sunley
Parents Support Group for Families of Mentally Handicapped Adults

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