Let me tell you a little about Lil and Stan’s oldest son, Douglas Wilfred Hilts born on March 30, 1938 in Hamilton, Ontario. His parents raised him in a loving Christian home where worship centered around their Salvation Army Corp. When Doug was seven his longed-for brother, Donald, arrived and their family was complete. By nine, Doug had entered Christ’s Church Cathedral Choir for vocal training and was soon singing twice every Sunday. When his voice was changing he played the flute in the high school band because it was a small instrument and easily carried. Once his voice settled, he discovered the joys of barbershop quartets and returned to sing tenor in the church choir. His love of music was lifelong and it took many different paths.
At age 23 he married the love of his life, Edie, in a choral wedding at Christ’s Church Cathedral. On that day, we formed a partnership that took us on a wonderful 62 year adventure. That adventure included the arrival of our three children – Elizabeth, Donna and Craig.
Nabob Foods transferred him from our Dundas home to Oshawa and it was this company who in 1975 transferred Doug to Regina. When the possibility of another transfer occurred, Doug opted to change jobs so we could remain permanently in Regina. He joined Remco Memorials where he worked for twenty years. After the arrival of two grandchildren and a third on the way, he decided to retire. We are grandparents to eight glorious grandbabies. Grandpa (or Gramps) was a role he relished.
Church and service to others were always priorities for Doug. He volunteered on many committees, served on Vestry, and dedicated countless volunteer hours to his children’s activities. Elizabeth joined the Regina Lions Junior Band program in 1975 and it wasn’t long before all three kids were playing instruments and Doug was a Band Manager. During this time, he also joined the Downtowner’s Optimist Club. He was particularly interested in the Band and Vocal Jazz Festival they sponsored. He eventually served as President and Lt. Governor of their District.
Our family attended All Saints Anglican Church where we were all very active. As university students our daughters began singing in St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir so Doug, Craig and I followed them. Craig became an Altar server and Doug and I put on our volunteer hats.
In the late 1990’s, Doug decided we should visit First Baptist Church and its excellent music ministry. We went one Sunday, and then another, and nearly 25 years later, we are still connected. Doug loved singing under John Nelson’s direction in Exaltation, in Men’s choirs and with the full choir for special services. We were honoured to have a small part in the production of the Christmas and Easter concerts under his leadership. Doug treasured John’s friendship.
We still maintained our connection with the Cathedral. Doug decided to seek Baptism having been Confirmed based on his Dedication service. On his 75th birthday, Luke, Elizabeth and I were proud to be present as he was baptized by Dean Mike.
Travelling to every province and the Yukon and two trips overseas were definite highlights of our later years. We loved the adventures with Dave and Pat.
While not a big fan of country music, Doug loved these words from a country song called Love Without End. “Daddy’s don’t just love their children every now and then. It’s a love without end, Amen. It’s a love without end, Amen”.
I end this with my favourite partial excerpt from the chorus Love Me. “If you get there before I do, don’t give up on me. I’ll be there when my chores are through. I don’t know how long I’ll be… Till then love you.” Rest in Peace my love.