Raymond “Ray” Hilton, age 88, a 45-year resident of Bullhead City, Ariz., passed away on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. He was born on May 29, 1930 in Pawhuska, Okla. Proud of his “Okie” heritage, Ray resettled to southern California, in the city of Bell, California, with his single mother and uncle following the outbreak of World War II. Ray’s hardscrabble youth served him well in his future service as a marine and police officer.
Ray enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1948 at age 17. He spent two years primarily in China and was Honorably Discharged in 1950, proud to have been a “Gung Ho, China Marine”. Following his military service Ray worked briefly as a teamster, hauling bulk propane on the Alaska Highway. Ray found his true calling in 1957 becoming a City of Bell Police Officer working patrol, motorcycles, and later as a detective. He retired in 1978. Ray loved his career as an officer of the peace and remained close to his many colleagues and friends in the police department until his death.
Ray married his wife “Johnnie” in 1963 and they lived together in the City of Bell until his retirement. Ray began investing in the local Bullhead City real estate where he started Hilton Investments. Ray and Johnnie subsequently relocated to Bullhead City where they built a two story home overlooking the river. It had a large upstairs porch where friends and neighbors met regularly to enjoy the beautiful sunsets. In 1984, Ray and Johnnie purchased an acre of mountain property not far from Flagstaff in Parks, Ariz. Within a few years they built their dream cabin and enjoyed many memorable summers there. In 2002, Johnnie passed away after 39-years of marriage.
A lifelong Harley Davidson enthusiast, Ray made many cross-country trips, including to Alaska, Daytona Beach, Sturgis, Oshkosh and Milwaukee for Harley’s 100th anniversary. Ray had a real love for animals. His favorite dogs were Bonnie Sue, a Chihuahua/Jack Russell mix and Gracie, a Jack Russell terrier.
He was also a supporter of the local animal charity, BHC S.A.I.N.T and thanks to a donation made by his estate, the non-profit organization intends to open a Low Cost Spay and Neuter Center in his name in late 2020.
He is survived by his nieces, Jody Brown of Fallon, Nev. and Kathy Horton of Newport Beach, Calif.