Earl Edgar Hilton was born June 15, 1924, at Mitchell to Edgar and Vera (Kellogg) Hilton. He grew up in Mitchell and graduated from Mitchell High School in 1943. He entered the US Army and served in the European Theatre during World War II. On August 7, 1948, he married Blanche Haehner at Mitchell. In 1951, he graduated from Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell. He taught and coached in Freeman for three years and Madison for six years. In 1960, he moved to Mitchell, where he taught, coached and was the athletic director in the Mitchell School System until his retirement in 1987. From 1979 until 1989, he owned the Zesto in Mitchell. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church and the American Legion. He was inducted into the Madison High School Athletic Hall of Fame, Mitchell High School Athletic Hall of Fame, Dakota Wesleyan University Athletic Hall of Fame, South Dakota High School Coaches Association Athletic Hall of Fame, South Dakota High School Athletic Directors Association Hall of Fame and was a member of numerous other athletic organizations.
He had a way of instilling a work ethic that would get athletes to perform at their best. Through all his experiences he never talked about his success, but about the success of the teams and athletes. The athletic world has not only been a part of his life, but is also a part of his soul. Earl enjoyed camping and fishing with family and friends. Many fun times were enjoyed in campgrounds and fishing the Missouri River. He was a caring husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He will be missed by all of his family and friends.
He is survived by his wife Blanche, five children: Bob Hilton and wife Kathy of Sioux Falls; Jon Hilton and wife Elaine of Huron; Meredith McLeod and husband John of Pasco, WA; Don Hilton and wife Cherie of Black Hawk; Steve Hilton and wife Lisa of Piedmont; twelve grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; a niece and nephew, Barbara Haehner of Indianapolis, IN and Alan Haehner of Carmel, IN, two brothers, Harold Hilton of Mitchell, Darrel Hilton and wife Lois of Mitchell and numerous other nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters, Donna Hilton and Shirley Jenney and a sister-in-law, Mary Jane Hilton.