Marianne, 85, died peacefully at her home in Arvada. She was born in Denver on July 5, 1935, to Leone and James H. White, who was editor of the Western Farm Life magazine. With her father in the news business, perhaps Marianne was attracted to Dick Hilker, a budding journalist when they met at Central Presbyterian Church in Denver.
The two were married 66 years ago. Marianne, 18, had just graduated from Denver’s East High School. Dick, 20, was attending the University of Denver and also working at the Jefferson Sentinel newspaper. Their Dec. 10, 1953, wedding day was memorable: There was a huge snowstorm and Marianne didn’t get to the church on time. Wedding guests were relieved when she showed up 40 minutes late.
After living in Denver and Lakewood, Marianne and Dick and their family moved to Evergreen, where they lived for 14 years and raised their four children.
For the unassuming Marianne, life was all about family. Since Dick was away from home a lot with his newspaper career, Marianne was in charge of the children and took on a lot of responsibility. She got the kids involved in 4-H and other activities, and carted them and their friends around for sports practices and various events. She was a “soccer mom” before soccer.
She also loved classical music and opera, and was a supporter of the Colorado Philharmonic Orchestra. She encouraged the musicians to practice at the Hilker home.
With her house always filled with kids, students and others who gravitated there, Marianne garnered the nickname “Mother of the Hills.” This applied to her love of animals, as well. She had a passel of pets, from cats and dogs to ponies and even a skunk.
The Hilkers moved to Lakewood after their children were grown. Marianne began volunteering at the Belmar Museum there and worked her way into a full-time job. She created a successful volunteer program for the City of Lakewood.
Marianne loved traveling, especially to Hawaii and Arizona, and cherished celebrating wedding anniversaries at The Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs.
Both Marianne and Dick retired in 1991 and moved to Fountain Hills, Ariz., where they lived 14 years before returning to Colorado and settling in Loveland and then Arvada.
In addition to Dick, Marianne is survived by her children: Richianne Sullivan of Arvada; Randall Hilker, Surprise, Ariz.; Rick Hilker, Lexington, Ky.; and Ross Hilker, Surprise. There also are six grandchildren and seven (soon to be eight) great-grandchildren. She is also mourned by two cats, Chickpea and Mooch.
A private family celebration of life will be held at a later date.
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