The Life of Sam Hillinger as told by Maggie Hillinger

Sam Hillinger was born January 5, 1922, in Frankfurt/am Main, Germany, to Elias (Alex) and Dora Hillinger. His brother Ben was two years older, his twin sister was Minna, and his younger sisters were Helene, Peppi and Selma. The father supported the family very well with various enterprises such as movie theatres and restaurants but was in the end forced out of business and the country in 1933 by the Nazis.

With the help of the International Jewish Relief agency, the family moved to Paris for a year or so. Sam was fond of saying he sold newspapers on the streets of Paris, but school was unbearable because of bullying by French schoolmates.

The family was finally able to emigrate to the U.S. about 1933-34. A relative (ed: Dora’s brother, apparently) who was supposed to meet them in New York to vouch for them apparently did not show up on time and they were saved by a former Frankfurt neighbor who was meeting someone else and apparently sponsored the family.

They settled in Memphis, Tenn, where the tardy uncle lived and where Sam’s father suffered a stroke, rendering him disabled. A year or so later the family moved to Hot Springs, Ark, where mother Dora supported them by working in a hospital as a cook. Sam graduated from the High School there (ed: picture of Sam’s highschool yearbook) (Where Pres. Clinton subsequently graduated) and went on to work for a while in ElDorado, Texas, for an oilfield-related business.

When the family moved to Chicago he followed along, taking a job as a billing clerk for a railroad company until he was drafted about 1943. Shortly he was assigned to a Signal Corps school at Camp Crowder, MO, where he was naturalized along with about 200-300 other aliens!

From there he was sent to England for a time and then was sent to France a few weeks after D-Day in June 1944 as a replacement. I believe he was assigned to 12th Army Group (let by General Mark Clark) as a clerk-typist/interpreter since he spoke German and some French. He was never in combat but moved about with the headquarters company in France and Germany, ending in Wiesbaden, Germany. Here he was assigned to the Inspector General’s office where his court reporting and language skills were most useful. Eventually he was assigned to Frankfurt, Germany, to the same work for the American Army of Occupation. Some of his work involved auditing non-appropriated funds which undoubtedly led him to eventually becoming a CPA.

By this time thousands of GIs were clamoring to get home but having to wait in line for space on troopships. Sam figured he could get home for leave very quickly by signing up to take the same job for Civil Service when he came back from his leave.

In February 1947 he took a train out of Frankfurt for a week’s leave to St. Moritz, Switzerland, with several housemates from the quarters where he lived. In the same train compartment was Maggie Hansen, an Air Force 1st Lt, and for the next week with this same tour group they learned to ski and eat Swiss pastries and enjoy Swiss scenery and hospitality.

Maggie was assigned to Wiesbaden, headquarters for U.S. Air Force in Europe, about 45 minutes from Frankfurt, and Sam was able to get the use of a Jeep so that the romance continued apace. Sam and Maggie were married June 12, 1948, and settled into an apartment in Frankfurt. Same was able to show the places he lived as a boy, now hopelessly bombed to ruins; 20 years later Frankfurt was almost completely rebuilt. First-born Ellis Dane came into the world at the 97th General Hospital in Frankfurt on July 5, 1949.

The following year Sam brought his family back to the U.S. where we visited his family in Chicago and Maggie’s family in Cleveland. Sam’s father died while we were in Germany, so he never met Maggie, or [the grandson] who was named after him.

A quick trip to Columbus, Ohio, resulted in Sam’s acceptance at Ohio State University on the G.I. Bill (paid tuition, books and a small stipend). Sam graduated magna cum laude in accounting in 1952 after which he drove his family across country to a new home in Seattle, Washington. His first job was with Touch, Niven, Bailey & Smart, one of the big 8 accounting firms at the time. He passed the Washington State CPA exam in one sitting and got his liscense. He subsequently worked for the Sunny Jim Company (jams, jellies and peanut butter) and then for Modern Home Builders (land development).

In 1966 he decided to go into practice for himself and for about 18 months he did so out of a home office. Subsequently he took office space in Ballard and his practice grew until 1987 when he sold it all and retired to his office at home again where he confined himself to doing mostly estate work. This suited him well because of his personal work ethic. He could more easily indulge his passion for downhill skiing as well as traveling frequently. [Three more children were born throughout the course of the 1950's, another son and two daughters.]

The family lived for 42 years [in Crown Hill in] Seattle, Wa, until Sam died unexpectedly in Barcelona, Spain, on November 25, 2000. Sam loved his family devotedly, never stopped studying and learning, was morally strong, and was honored by all who knew him.

Compiled by Maggie Hillinger 10-11-01.
Typed by Mika Bartroff 03-24-10


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About this blog

This blog is maintained by two sisters who have had a life long interest in geneology.
Mika writes here mostly about our family (Hansen, Hillinger, Bordewick, Park, etc), and her search for more information.
Shannon mostly uses this space as a place to make the many stories written about and by her husband's family (Holly, Walker, Walpole, etc) available to the rest of the family, present and future.

Our blog is named Oh Spusch! mostly because Shannon is bad at naming things. The first post I put up includes a story about the time Walker's great grandfather took his whole family out to see a play and the littlest kept saying "Oh! Spusch!" No one ever figured out what she meant by that.