Dr. Robert D. Hilbert, 96 years young, of Bryan, Ohio, passed away on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, following a short illness.
Bob was born on April 24, 1925, in Hicksville, Ohio, the middle son of Claron and Ruth Griest Hilbert. On August 10, 1972, he married Patricia Liedke and she preceded him in death on November 9, 2013.
He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1943, the height of World War II, right out of Hicksville High School. He served for three years, stationed in the Pacific in Japan and Okinawa as a hospital medic until the war ended in August 1945.
Dr. Hilbert came to Bryan as a recent graduate of Northern Illinois College of Optometry, where he studied under the G.I. Bill following his 1946 discharge from the U.S. Navy. His family influenced his choice to study optometry as his grandfather and great-uncle (B.F. and Lew Griest) and his brother, Allen Hilbert, and nephew, James Hilbert, all practiced optometry in the Hicksville area. On Election Day, November 2, 1952, he opened his optometry practice at 324 West High Street, Bryan, and stayed for 43 years, retiring in 1996. He greatly enjoyed working with people of all ages.
He was a proud member of the Bryan Lions Club for 72 years. Always happy to sell brooms and Christmas trees, he also enjoyed handling the visual aid applications for the club’s “Sight First,” helping people to secure needed vision care. He was also a 68 year member of Bryan American Legion Post #284.
He loved to travel throughout the United States, especially Hawaii, and an exciting trip to Egypt. In later years he discovered new roads, fun and friends by driving for the Montpelier Auto Auction.
Surviving are two daughters, Rebecca Thompson (Robert McCaslin), of Bryan, and Marta (Leonard) Witte, of Wheaton, Illinois; one son, Dave (Cathy) Liedke, of Stryker, Ohio; five grandchildren, Sarah (Jeremy) Dauber, of Bryan, Emily (Dan) Kurowski, of Lombard, Illinois, Grant Witte, of Wheaton, Gregory (Jessica) Liedke, of Pandora, Ohio, and Brooke (Brett) Miller, of Bryan; nine great-grandchildren, Drew and Kai Dauber, Kace, Laila and Kaia Liedke, Braylee and Brodie Miller, Laurel and Leo Kurowski. Also surviving is his older brother, Dr. Allen Hilbert, of Hicksville. Preceding him in death in addition to his wife, Patricia, were a brother, Charles Hilbert; a nephew, Dr. James Hilbert; and a son-in-law, James M. Thompson.
Visitation will be held on Friday, September 17, 2021, from 1:00-2:00 P.M. in the Wesley United Methodist Church, Bryan. Services will follow in the church at 2:00 P.M. with Pastor Peter Paige officiating. A Lions Club service will take place at 1:00 P.M. prior to the service in the church. Interment will be in Lost Creek Cemetery with grave side military rites conducted by Bryan American Legion and VFW Combined Honor Guard and the United States Navy Honor Guard.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the family will receive friends while observing social distancing precautions. The family encourages the use of masks. Anyone showing any symptoms of illness is asked to please share condolences by a phone call, email, text message, or leaving a condolence at the funeral home website.
Memorials contributions may be made to the Bryan Lions Club or the Humane Society.