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Leonard Hilton, 82 - August 06, 2008

Leonard Vern Hilton, 82, of Kearney, formerly of Gothenburg, died Monday, July 28, 2008, at Kearney.
Services were held on Saturday, Aug. 2, at the Zion Lutheran Church of Gothenburg with the Rev. Bill Terry officiating. Burial took place at the Gothenburg Cemetery.
Hilton was born on May 10, 1926, at Gothenburg to Elmer and Eva (Keiper) Hilton. He attended School District No. 51 north of Farnam, and the Farnam High School.
When he was in the 10th grade, his family moved to Lexington, where he finished the 10th grade at the South 17 School, and was baptized and confirmed on April 2, 1942, at the First Presbyterian Church. He graduated from Lexington High School in May of 1943, where he lettered in track.
He was inducted into the Army on May 19, 1945, at Fort Leavenworth, KS, and completed basic training at Camp Walters, TX. He was on the way to Japan when the peace treaty was signed, so he was re-stationed in Hawaii where he served for 13 months. He obtained the rank of corporal of the Twenty-third Quartermaster Group.
Hilton was discharged from the Army on Nov. 1, 1946, at Camp Beale, CA. He returned to Nebraska to start farming for himself.
He married Virginia June Buesing on Aug. 9, 1953, at the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church. To this union, four children were born, each at the Cozad Community Hospital.
Music and baseball were an intricate part of his life, according to family members, as many Sunday afternoons were spent playing ball with his cousins and competing against neighboring towns as well.
Hilton enjoyed playing many instruments such as the piano, guitar and especially the accordion, said family members. He was part of a local group known as the Hay Valley Boys.
?He also enjoyed time with his children as they participated in 4-H, according to family members. He became a member of the Dawson County Fair Board where he was active for 25 years. He recently attended the Dawson County Fair and helped park cars as well. He was also proud to be known as a member of the Plum Creekers of Lexington.
?Hilton and his wife were active members of the National Pony Express Association–Nebraska Division (NPEA), being a dedicated 30-year member. He and his wife took part in the annual re-rides, most recently, he followed the route in June. He served as president and organized riders of the 1996 Olympic Torch Run.
He also enjoyed traveling, spending time with family and attending activities of his grandchildren, according to family members.
Hilton was preceded in death by: his wife, Virginia; a daughter, Patty Jo; a son, Doug.
Survivors include: two daughters—Peggy Ronnekamp of Indiana, and Penny (Ron) Meyer of Shelton; five grandchildren—Andy (Tabbatha) Ronnekamp, Stephanie Ronnekamp, Travis, Jessica and Tracy Meyer; two great-grandchildren—Zoey and Kaia Ronnekamp; two brothers—Orville Hilton and Marvin (Carol) Hilton; two sisters—Doris (George) Hergenrader and June (Jerry) Walker; numerous nephews and nieces.
Memorials are suggested to the National Pony Express Association-Nebraska Division.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.blase Arrangements have been placed in the care of Blase-Strauser Memorial Chapel of Gothenburg.