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Hillmer Johnson, 98

| June 17, 2010 4:55 AM

Hillmer C. Johnson, 98, went to be with the Lord on June 2, 2010. He died peacefully in his residence at the Loyalton Retirement Home in Coeur d’Alene. Hillmer was one of four children and was born on Oct. 1, 1911, in Willowbrook, Saskatchewan, Canada, to Charles and Matilda Johnson, originally from Sweden. As a child, he accompanied his parents to the Coeur d’Alene area and later became a U.S. citizen.

Hillmer was preceded in death by his first wife of 22 years, Dolly, and his second wife of 44 years, Rose; his daughter, Beverly; his two stepdaughters, Sharon and Barbara; his two brothers, Gordon and Woodrow; his sister, Estella; his sister-in-law, Lea; and his daughter-in-law, Lotte.

He had many good memories of his married years, but he spoke more often about his fond memories of Rose and their fishing trips to Kelso Lake, their frequent RV trips throughout the Inland Northwest, and their huge family reunions in Canada.

He is survived by his son, H. Charles (Sandra) Johnson of Post Falls and stepson Ronald (Maria) Scharff of Spokane. Hillmer is also survived by seven grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

Hillmer served his country for 42 years until he retired in 1971 as a Chief Warrant Officer W-4. He joined the National Guard in 1929 at age 18 right after his junior year of high school. His assignments mainly included duty at Coeur d’Alene’s National Guard Armory where he served as an Administrative Assistant, a First Sergeant and as a National Guard Civil Service Technician for the 148th Field Artillery Battalion. However, he did see his fair share of combat duty. Hillmer’s 148th unit was activated during World War II and he served for five years in the South Pacific to include Australia, the Philippine Islands and New Guinea.

Upon returning to Coeur d’Alene, his 148th unit was activated 10 years later for combat duty in Korea where he spent another two years. When asked why his unit was sent off to war so soon, Hillmer said “We had it figured out that we were such an outstanding unit.” In between his seven years of combat duty with the U.S. Army, Hillmer worked for the U.S. Navy at Farragut as an automotive mechanic. Hillmer’s U.S. Army awarded service medals included the Bronze Star Medal plus numerous World War II and Korean War service medals.

Additionally, Hillmer was a life member of the Veterans of Foreign War, Coeur d’Alene Post 889 and held numerous positions with the post, to include Post Commander and Quartermaster. He also was a 72-year member of the Coeur d’Alene Eagles, tended bar part time for 18 years there, and participated in many Eagles sponsored community activities.

He touched the hearts of not only his family, but of all who came into contact with him. Fellow workers’ comments typify who Hillmer was: “He was a good leader” and “He was a dam good guy.” He was all that and more and will be dearly missed by all.

Remembrance in honor of Hillmer may be made to Hospice of North Idaho, 9493 N. Government Way, Hayden, ID 83835. A special “thanks” is extended from the family to the staff of the Loyalton as well as to the staff of Hospice of North Idaho for their tender, loving care of Hillmer in his final days.

Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, June 23, 2010, at Yates Funeral Home, Coeur d’Alene Chapel. The funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, June 24, 2010, at Yates Funeral Home, Coeur d’Alene Chapel.

Burial will be at Forest Cemetery with full military honors by the VFW Post No. 889. A reception will follow at the Coeur d’Alene VFW Hall.

Please visit Hillmer’s memorial and sign his online guest book at www.yatesfuneralhomes.com.

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