Rev. Thomas E Hilger

February 21, 1942August 3, 2021

Reverend Thomas Eugene Hilger, 79, of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, died of complications from congestive heart failure on Tuesday, August 3, 2021. Tom was born February 21, 1942 in Sterling, IL to Clinton Hilger and Mildred “Millie” (Currie) Hilger. Tom graduated from Carthage College in 1964 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, IL in 1968 with a Master of Divinity. He was ordained as a pastor in the Lutheran Church of America on May 27, 1968, and retired in April 2008. On July 29, 2018, he recognized the 50th Anniversary of his Ordination, organized lovingly by his late son Mike. On December 27, 1964, he married Karen Louise Dotzert of Virginia, IL. They met playing clarinet in the college band and shared a love of music throughout their entire marriage.

Pastor Tom served the following parishes: Trinity Lutheran in Utica, IL; Redeemer Lutheran in Plymouth, WI; Faith Lutheran in Wichita Falls, TX; St. Paul’s Lutheran and Ware’s Grove Lutheran in Hillsboro, IL; Trinity Lutheran in Hays, KS; Our Lord’s Lutheran in Oklahoma City, OK; St. Luke’s Lutheran in Richardson, TX, and Fjeldberg Lutheran in Huxley, IA. After retirement, he was interim pastor at University Lutheran in Norman, OK; Resurrection Lutheran in Yukon, OK; and St. Mark Lutheran in Midwest City, OK. Outside of ministry and youth ministry, Tom enjoyed gardening, singing, being a 4-H leader, fishing, bowling, and his many beloved dogs.

Tom is survived by daughter Debbie Hilger Blanco (Julio) of Louisville, CO; son Steve Hilger (Sherry) of Lee’s Summit, MO; son David Hilger (Jen) of Norman, OK; grandchildren Gabe, Brooke, Kathryn, Anna, KyAnne, Max, Jake, Shannon, Nathanael, Matthew, and Oliver; a brother, Dan Hilger; brother-in-laws Steve Dotzert (Cindy) and John Dotzert (Lois). Tom was preceded in death by his wife, Karen Dotzert Hilger; his son, Michael Eugene Hilger; his sister, Jill Nailor; and his parents.

Due to the pandemic, a private family memorial service will be held mid-October in Lee’s Summit, MO. Interment will take place at Garner Chapel Cemetery in Virginia, IL. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made in Dad’s name to your home congregation, or to, a pet rescue organization in Kansas City.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Hilger family.


  • To your home congergation or to a pet rescue organization in Kansas City


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Rev. Thomas E Hilger

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Deanne ( Dee Dee) Schmidt

August 31, 2021

Pastor Tom and Karen were instrumental in ministering to my family during the illness and loss of my first husband John Doerfler. I have thought of them often and care deeply about their whole family! Our thoughts and prayers to Debbie, Steve, David and their families. He will be missed and leaves a magnanimous legacy and a very special place in my heart!
Dee Dee Schmidt

Cathy Bowden

August 26, 2021

Pr. Tom provided interim ministry at University Lutheran in Norman, OK and was a steadying force for us. His engaging personality combined with his caring nature made him a “good shepherd” for our diverse flock. After his retirement, I delivered altar flowers to his home several times and in our chats, he’d invariably mention how grateful he was to have family nearby to care for him. Pr. Tom has joined the Saints above, a fitting reward for his life of service to God and others.

Jim cash

August 25, 2021

Pastor tom was a welcome heart at Our lords here in OKC. would trade fish stories and laugh. He was comfortable to be around Kind caring and compassionate. one of a kind. Thank you for every thing Pastor Tom You are missed.

Mark Borseth

August 25, 2021

Tom was a great blessing as Interim Pastor before my arrival at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Yukon in 2012. I was blessed to get to know him as he served at St Mark in his next interim position. He was a good man and had a great impact in the kingdom God.

Lois Patrick

August 25, 2021

So many happy memories of times spent at OLLC with Pastor Tom, Karen, and children. One memory is when he came to Our Lords to interview for the job as Pastor. Someone asked him "How long are your sermons?" and the entire Hilger family, sitting on the front row, broke into laughter! We soon learned to listen to his sermons carefully, because he said his message quickly and his sermons were over in 10-15 minutes.☺

I can still hear his laughter.

Penny Thiessen

August 12, 2021

My husband, Ron, and I were so sad to hear of Pastor Tom's passing. We have such amazing memories from when he was the pastor of Fjelberg Lutheran Church in Huxley, Iowa. He taught and confirmed our three sons and officiated at our wedding. He was a great pastor and friend to our family. God Bless
Ron and Penny Thiessen
Ames, Iowa