NACS board member dies on vacation

John Hilger served on NACS board since 2010, and from 2002-2006

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Northwest Allen County Schools board member John Hilger died while vacationing with his wife in Europe over the district’s spring break.

John Hilger (photo courtesy Northwest Allen County Schools)

John and Mary Hilger were aboard a docked cruise ship in Amsterdam April 2 when he suffered a heart attack, according to a YouCaring.com post. The post was made by five of Hilger’s daughters to raise funds for his medical expenses.

The district tweeted that Hilger ultimately died April 7.

The Journal Gazette reported that the school board began its regular meeting Monday night with a moment of silence to honor Hilger, who served on the board since 2010 after a four-year term from 2002 to 2006.

In addition to his service on the school board, Hilger served as a member of the Arcola Lion’s Club, board member of the Associated Churches of Fort Wayne, and president of the State Vegetable Board for Indiana, according to his biography on the Northwest Allen County Schools website.

“Northwest Allen County Schools was saddened to learn of the passing of John Hilger.  He served on the NACS board from 2002-2006 and rejoined the board in 2010.  In 2014, he was re-elected to serve another term.  During his first term, he assisted the school corporation navigate significant enrollment growth resulting in the building of Carroll Middle School and Cedar Canyon Elementary School.  When he rejoined the board in 2010, he assisted the school corporation navigate difficult financial times caused by the recession and subsequent state budget cuts and revenue losses caused by full implementation of property tax caps.  Recently, he actively participated in discussions related to helping NACS navigate its recent and projected enrollment growth.

I have worked with John since 2010.  During the time that I was blessed to work with him, he acted in the school corporation’s best interest and demonstrated commitment to helping the school corporation continue its tradition of academic success.  However, I think many will remember him most for his love of his family and his willingness to insert humor in serious moments.  He enjoyed and celebrated life and encouraged others to do so as well.

Although we are saddened by his passing, we are happy that he was able to spend his last few days enjoying time vacationing with his wife, Mary, and celebrating life.  We continue offering our thoughts and prayers to Mary, his children, his grandchildren, and other members of his family.”

-NACS Superintendent Chris Himsel

Hilger’s current term expires in 2018. The district has not yet indicted how it will fill the vacancy.

John and Mary Hilger have six daughters. Funeral arrangements are pending.