On the beautiful morning of July 25th, Delbert Vincent Hillary enjoyed his last motorcycle ride. Born in Los Angeles, California on June 23, 1954 to Edward and Molly Hillary. As the oldest of 7 children, the love he has for his siblings was constant and true. He attended schools in Southern California including Bonita High, where he excelled in Math, Sciences, and mastered the Saxophone. He was a member of the Western United States Award Winning Jazz Band and continued his love for music throughout his life. He earned a full ride scholarship to California State Polytechnic University and graduated with honors from Pi Tau Sigma Honorary Mechanical Engineering Fraternity. He received his Masters of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah.
Del loved to ride. He started on a tricycle and graduated to a two-wheeler where he knocked out his two front teeth, but that didn’t stop him from getting on some form of a motorcycle as often as possible. He built motorcycles, a dune buggy, multiple high-powered cars, which led to an exceptional mind to building all sorts of things throughout his life. He worked for L&H Molds and became a proficient machinist at the family company for two years. He moved to Utah and put his skills to work at Edo Western Transducer Corp. He then found the Aerospace Engineering world calling for him and he became the Rocket Scientist he dreamed of being. He became a Resident Scientist at ATK (now Northrop Grumman), for 35 years. Active in the space program, he was a published engineer and a presenter at JANNAF Conferences for multiple years. The rocket industry knew his name, and if there was a rocket, he was a part of it. Shortly after retirement, he was asked to become a consultant for NASA for multiple critical upcoming missions to further space explorations. He always had the biggest smile when he witnessed his part of the rocket do the job, he knew it would do. We know he’ll now have some of the best views for upcoming launches. He respected his fellow engineers, and in return was well respected. When called to do his job there was never something he couldn’t figure out or fix. We know that Del sincerely appreciated those who trusted him and his intuition to be a part of these amazing efforts.
Del loved music. He played tenor saxophone with the Bonita High School Jazz band. In his senior year, his band was awarded the best jazz band not only at the state level, but in the entire nation with Gordon Goodwin playing alongside him on the alto saxophone. He kept his love alive for music by being a part of his favorite bands with some of his favorite people including those in the dixie band, Riverton Jazz Band, and other groups he had been a part of. He sincerely appreciated those who participated with him, and we know his talent will always be honored. We will miss hearing his practice his saxophone at home.
As a kind-hearted soft-spoken soul, Del would be anywhere you needed help as an exquisite friend. If you needed it fixed, he fixed it. He was giving of his time, love, and care by always being there for others. He loved God. He loved Christ. He strived to live a Christ-centered life, which started very early in his life. At 26, Del found and became a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Del was able to positively influence the lives of many individuals, and serve those he loved, as he served in various callings in the church; including being a member of a Bishopric, Elders Quorum President, served faithfully alongside his eternal companion, Nicole’, as an Intercity Service Missionary, and an ordinance worker in the Draper Utah Temple.
He married the love of his life, Nicole’ Bowen, on April 22, 1983 in the Salt Lake Temple for time and all eternity. You’d often find them riding bikes, motorcycles, getting a McDonald’s Coke, eating at their favorite places together, serving in the temple, raising children, heading to Disneyland, lovingly arguing about which movie to watch, and always making sure everyone knew they were loved by them. He loved Nicole’, and she loves him back, forever.
He was proud of his children, and you knew of the absolute love he had for them. He expected great things from them, and they stood up to the challenge. It is important to know that they each possess his drive, his skills, and his musical abilities. He taught them to work hard and that on hard days, you work harder. Then you go to Disneyland. The only people he equally shares his love for, are the spouses they married, and the 9 grandchildren he adored. These four children stood solid next to their dad, and each other during these horrific days of never-ending sadness. A more priceless sight you’ll never see.
Del’s life was tragically cut short when he had no time to react when a deer ran in front of him while on a motorcycle ride with his son near Mirror Lake. He was riding safely, wearing a helmet, protective gear, and his favorite leather jacket, but the impact caused irreparable damage to his brain. Matt was there and bravely held him until MedFlight arrived and transported him to the U of U Surgical ICU, where his family was able to say goodbye. After he passed away the morning of July 26th, 2020, he was eligible to donate his organs to save the life of so many others.
Many lives have been touched by and have been made better because of Del Hillary. He is survived by his wife, Nicole’, his 4 children and spouses, Matt & Bethany Hillary, Ashley & Mike Doxstader, Mandy & Ryan Merriman, Ryan & Katie Hillary, his 9 beloved grandchildren, his siblings Karin & Keith Sahm, Brenda & Ken Pace, Steve & Cyndee Hillary, Stan Hillary, and Patrick Hillary. He is now in the loving arms of his Parents, Ed & Molly Hillary, his brother Eddie Hillary, and so many others who loved him who have passed.
Funeral services will be Friday, July 31, 2020 10am at the Roseboro LDS Chapel at 1880 E 9800 S, Sandy UT 84092, for immediate family, extended family, and close friends, with a viewing prior, starting from 9:00-9:45am.
Due to COVID 19, this service will be primarily for immediate family, extended family, and close friends, following proper protocols with face masks and social distancing. A LIVE video streaming option will be made available for those that will be unable to attend due to restrictions This can be found at the Del Hillary Memorial Group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/3206198166092992.
Del will be laid to rest in the Mendon, Utah cemetery located in Cache Valley. Burial will be for immediate family and invitation only.
The Hillary family is sincerely grateful for the support shown to them during this time. A GoFundMe account has been created at the request of friends of Del to support the Hillary family at this time. The link is available here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/in-memory-of-del-hillary.