Forrest Frank Hillgartner, 80, of Houston, Texas, formerly of Fulton, Missouri, passed away peacefully on October 29, 2021.
He was born on December 8, 1940 in Fulton, Missouri to Frank Edward and Myrtle Irene (Blackburn) Hillgartner.
Forrest was descended, on his mother’s Blackburn side of the family, from the nephew and niece of George Washington - Supreme Court Justice Bushrod Washington and Anna Blackburn. Forrest’s ancestors are buried at Mount Vernon.
A 1959 graduate of Fulton High School, Forrest was the Student Body Vice President, a member of the National Honor Society and the Future Farmers of America.
He attended the University of Missouri at Columbia, Missouri, and the Northeast Missouri State Teachers College at Kirksville, Missouri.
He then enlisted for active duty in the Air Force as an Airman First Class in 1964 and served in Da Nang, Vietnam. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and was honorably discharged in 1968.
After his time in the Air Force, Forrest worked for the Veterans of Foreign Wars for most of his career as a Service Officer from 1972 until his retirement in 2007.
He shared his life with his partner, Edward D. Turner of Houston, Texas, from 1977 until Ed’s passing in 2003.
Gregarious and outgoing, Forrest was also private and reserved. His friends, family and neighbors remember his warmth, generosity of spirit and good company. He will be sorely missed by those who loved him best. His was a life well lived and served.
Forrest was preceded in death by his parents; an infant brother; and his sister, Ruby Hillgartner Walker; Ruby’s husband, William Charles Walker; and his niece, Phyllis Elaine Walker.
He is survived by his two nephews and their wives; Homer Walker and Sharon Tilbury, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Joseph Walker and Laurie Adler of Naples, Florida.
A private graveside service with full military honors will take place at the Missouri Veterans Cemetery in Higginsville, Missouri, where Forrest will be buried with his sister and family.
Donations may be made in his honor to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund at vvmf.org.