Cover photo for George "Garry" Hilling's Obituary
George "Garry" Hilling Profile Photo
1944 George 2014

George "Garry" Hilling

November 20, 1944 — August 11, 2014

George David "Garry" Hilling, age 69, of 145 Old Military Road, Saranac Lake, died Monday, August 11, 2014 at his home, surrounded by family.

Born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania on November 22, 1944, he was the son of George and Ruth (Michiner) Hilling. Garry married Patricia Sullivan Bixler on July 4, 1998 at the Adirondack Loj in Lake Placid.

Garry had been employed by the 3M Company in St. Paul, Minnesota as a research chemist for 25 years before coming to Saranac Lake. During that time, he developed the Amateur Athletic Union for basketball in the state. He was a basketball coach and referee.

Patti and Garry were high school sweethearts who found each other again in 1997. After a short whirlwind engagement, they were married and moved to Minnesota until Garry retired in 2002. When the couple relocated to Saranac Lake, Garry worked as a college professor at North Country Community College teaching algebra and chemistry for 12 years. Garry loved teaching at NCCC and said he would do it without being paid if he could. He also coached the women’s basketball team at NCCC and was a basketball referee. Garry was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church where he served as a member of the choir and the session. He enjoyed traveling, hiking, kayaking, camping, snowshoeing, and studying and learning about dogs. In his later years, Garry developed an interest in hunting with his son Pat. Garry is a veteran of the United States Air Force and served from 1962 to 1966.

He is survived by his wife Patti and six children: Angela Kivel and her husband Kris of North St. Paul, MN, Cori Syring and her husband Matt of St. Paul, MN, David Bixler and his companion Christina Yeung-Theriault of Bennington, NH, Patrick Bixler and his companion Cherise Bailey of Wilmington, Eryle Bixler and his wife Andrea of Waterbury Center, VT and Jeff Hilling of Wisconsin. Garry also leaves behind six grandchildren, Patrick, Jonathan, Taylor, Karmin, Londyn and Liam; two brothers, Kenneth Hilling and his wife Becky of Mt. Pleasant, PA, and Keith Hilling and his wife Aquila of Uniontown, PA, and one sister Karen Beckman and her husband Dick of Phoenix, AZ. He was preceded in death by his father and mother, and a brother Michael.

Calling hours will take place at the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home on Friday, August 15, 2014 from 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM. A funeral service will take place at 10:00 AM on Saturday, August 16, 2014 at the First Presbyterian Church in Saranac Lake with The Rev. Joann White officiating. Burial will follow at St. Bernard's Cemetery in Saranac Lake.

Friends wishing to remember Garry Hilling may make memorial contributions to the Hope Lodge of Burlington, Vermont (American Cancer Society) in care of the funeral home. Family and friends can also share their memories and sign the online guestbook at
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of George "Garry" Hilling, please visit our flower store.


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