Wendell C. “Gabe“ Hildenstein, 85, of Germantown, Tenn., died on on March 17, 2015, in Memphis, Tenn.
He was born on Nov. 13, 1929 in Edwardsville.
Mr. Hildenstein graduated from the University of Illinois in engineering in 1952 before serving two years in the U.S. Army with the Joint Task Force 7 in the Marshall Islands. Following his service, he returned to Illinois and was the executive vice president of Artex International in Highland, where he raised seven daughters with his wife, the former Barbara Anderson, also of Edwardsville.
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He retired in 1982, after more than 25 years at Artex, and moved to Sugarmill Woods in Homosassa, Fla., where he was an active member of St. Thomas the Apostle Church and served on parish council and the Knights of Columbus.
Socially, Mr. Hildenstein was a member of the Sugarmill Woods Country Club and regularly golfed with a local men’s group. He was also a member of the West Citrus Elks Lodge, the Tampa Veterans of Foreign Wars post. He often hosted a community lottery club in Florida and weekly happy hours for friends at his assisted living facilities after moving to Tennessee. He was known for his witty sense of humor and love for Dixieland jazz music.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara; and his second wife, Jean Figley Milner, who he married in 2000.
He and Jean moved to Germantown, Tenn., in 2013 and attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Survivors include by his eldest sister, Mary “Betty” Leitner of Edwardsville, and his daughters, Cathy (Kirk) Hastings of Collierville, Tenn.; Teresa May(Randy) of Dothan, Ala., Joanne (Edward) Brown of Vicksburg, Miss.; Susan (Eric) Meier of Rocklin, Calif.; Julie Nash of Plano, Texas; Elizabeth Hildenstein of Valrico, Fla.; and Amy (Thomas) Ehrhardt of Kansas City, Mo. He is also survived by 14 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Memorials can be made to www.methodisthealth.org/give and designate “Hospice Care” or mail donations to Methodist Healthcare Foundation, P.O. Box 42048, Memphis, TN 38174.