Lt. Col. John R. Hiltenbrand

Oct 17, 1918 – Aug 9, 2018

Lt Col John R Hiltenbrand obituary image 1
Lt Col John R Hiltenbrand obituary image 2
Lt Col John R Hiltenbrand obituary image 3

More Photos


Lt. Col. John R. Hiltenbrand

Lt. Col. John R. Hiltenbrand, Bob to all who knew him, died peacefully at home, surrounded by family August 9, 2019.   Bob had a blessed and long life, passing away in his 100th year of life. On his 100th birthday he planned on getting in a red convertible sports car and cruising Alki beach in style, darn it Dad.

Bob is preceded in death by his parents, brothers James and Victor, beloved wife Dorothea (Dodie) McCaffray Hiltenbrand.  He is survived by his loving daughter Dorsey Hiltenbrand of Arlington, VA, his son John, daughter-in-law Kathy Lang and his precious grandson, a late life gift, Sam.  He is also survived by nephew Lee Hiltenbrand, wife Debi and Lee's son Brent.

Bob was the oldest son of Victor J and Mabel Torpey Hiltenbrand. Born October 17, 1918 in Chicago, shortly after, he and his brothers James and Bud moved to West Seattle.  Bob attended Holy Rosary Catholic School and O’Dea High School where he was a Boy Scout, class officer and all around good guy; though he often times spoke of being a "soda jerk" at the local store.

While attending Seattle University, Bob joined the Army Air Corps flight training program and prepared for WWII.  Upon graduation at Seattle University, he became an officer and flight training instructor for other young Army Air recruits in the south west.  Later, he flew in the European Theater.  He was a fly boy and always had a love for the great blue beyond.  He closed out the war as a pilot in the Berlin Airlift.

His fondest memory of the Great War was transporting Bob Hope across the English Channel to a USO show on the continent. He loved Bob Hope.

Upon the wars end, Bob embodied all the values and traits of the “Great Generation." Returning stateside, he chose to stay in the newly formed US Air Force for 26 more   years.  Hollywood movie style, Bob met what would become the love of his life, the young and beautiful Seattlite Dodie McCaffray.  Bob would fly up to Seattle, buzzing the beach house at Three Tree Point and Dodie would pick him up at the AF base.  The romantic courtship lead to marriage in 1951 and shortly after Dorsey was born.  John soon followed and as Dodie would say “16 houses later and living around the world," they would retire back home in West Seattle”.  

Bob was a loving husband and father who enjoyed travel, gardening and golf.  He and Dodie spent much of their retired years traveling the globe and visiting their children. But Bob's service didn't end at retirement.  He took a para legal class and would visit seniors and assist with writing wills and end of life matters. A great love for children and aviation lead to years of volunteering as a docent for the Smithsonian Space and Aeronautics Museum and later the Seattle Museum of Flight.

Bob was an amazing inspiration to all who spent time with him... his 90's were vibrant and happy.  Family and friends, reading the Wall Street Journal, following the news and that regimented and tough military training carried Bob towards 100 with laughter, wonder and good cheer. We must acknowledge the other family members that made his life so rich.... thank you Sue Cetincelik, like a humming bird you darted in most days with a treat and kiss and such love. David and Francine McCaffray and his "first” set of Grandkids, Brett and Todd, you brought such joy to his life. Thank you Jaci Anderson, caregiver and angel that made Bob's last three years of life so magical. Doris Stenerson and Kathleen March, thanks for the care and friendship. While too many to mention, thanks to all the health care worker and hospice folks.  And Eucharistic ministers, we couldn't have done it without you.  In Bob' words, "thanks for all the tender loving care."

In lieu of flowers, donations in Bob’s name may be made to the Arthur J. & Marcella McCaffray Endowment for Alzheimer Disease Research Fund at the University of Washington, US Medicine, Box 358045, Seattle, WA. 98195-0008.

A Rosary and Mass will be said Thursday, August 16th with the Rosary at 9:15AM followed by the Funeral Mass at 10:00AM both at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 4210 SW Genesee St., Seattle, WA 98116.  Interment will follow at Calvary Catholic Cemetery, Seattle.


Louise A. Layman
Harrisonburg, Va
Aug 15, 2018

Dear Dorsey.....My sincere sympathy to you, so sorry to hear

of your loss. My love and prayers are with you during this

difficult time. All my blessings, your Sister in Harrisonburg.

This obituary is provided by Bonney-Watson, providing caring and compassionate funeral, cremation and cemetery services since 1868. We have a professional staff, four funeral homes, two cremation facilities and one of the largest cemeteries south of Seattle, as well as a comprehensive grief support program.