Former local columnist, Carol Hilton, remembered

Carol Hilton's columns in the Yakima Herald-Republic, which ran twice a week in the early 1970s, read like letters from a friend.

Conversational and by turns confessional and light-hearted, Hilton's regular feature on what was then the women's page, was her most public contribution to the newspaper. But she was also a section editor and reporter, both here and at The Daily Olympian.

Hilton died Jan. 10 in Portland, where she had lived since 2004. She was 85.

A Southern California native, Hilton met her husband, civil engineer John Hilton, in 1949 while working as an airline hostess. A 2009 Seattle Times obituary about Jack Hilton describes their whirlwind romance beginning during a turbulent flight that sickened several passengers.

"The two flirted over an ammonia inhalant and chatted about classical music," the story said. "Before the DC-3 charter plane landed back in Denver, he'd asked her out to lunch. They married a month later."

Remembered by friends for her sense of social justice, Hilton was a booster of local performing arts and member of the Allied Arts board of directors. Hilton bolstered her journalism career, which began as a reporter for the weekly Bothell Citizen, by returning to school midlife and earning a master's degree from the University of Washington. She went on to win state and national journalism awards and was active in the Washington Press Association and the Association for Women in Communications.

An engaging columnist, Hilton was perhaps at her best writing the sort of thoughtful column she published on New Year's Eve in 1972:

"Auld Lang Syne" we sing for old acquaintances we hope to see again, and also for a passing acquaintance with a year we'll never meet again.

How do you say "goodbye" to a year?

The way you do to a beau, perhaps, when the romance is ended. Firmly. Without regret. Remembering with pleasure the good times you had together. You grieve a little over the disappointments - the hopes that were unfulfilled, the faith that was broken. Maybe you shed a tear or two.

Then you put a bright, new ribbon in your hair and see what's around the corner.

She is survived by her son, John Hilton III, and his wife, Kerstin. Services will be at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 29 at Portland's Grace Memorial Episcopal Church followed by a celebration of life at Portland's Holladay Park Plaza, the retirement community where she and John had lived since 2004.

Pat Muir can be reached at 509-577-7693 or at pmuir(at)

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