Jack Carlin Hilbourne
March 14, 1925 – June 14, 2020
Jack Carlin Hilbourne died peacefully at home of congestive heart failure after a year of in-home care by his loving wife. For the past six months, his wife and a team of amazing caregivers and hospice workers cared for him. Over 95 years, Jack's love of adventure, endless curiosity, boundless enthusiasm, and high regard by all who knew him afforded him a full and wonderful life.
Born in Los Angeles to Jane Carlin and Arthur Hilbourne in 1925, Jack and his family moved east to Edgemont, S.D., during the Great Depression in 1930. Arthur got a job with the CCC, then remained a full time civil servant for Jack's entire childhood. Because of the itinerant nature of that work, Jack attended four grade schools and three high schools.
He graduated from Jefferson High School in Portland, Ore., in 1942. His family moved to Seattle, and he enrolled at the University of Washington. The United States was still at war in the Pacific, and Jack enlisted in the Navy spending four years as a Petty Officer Aviation Machinist's Mate in Memphis and New Orleans. He told his grandsons stories much later about catching thrilling rides with the test pilots who would take him up on stunt flights in the Navy.
Leveraging the G.I. Bill, Jack was accepted to Pacific University in Forest Grove in 1947. He received his bachelor's degree in science in 1950, and became a Doctor of Optometry in 1951. Kaiser immediately hired Jack as its first optometrist. In those early days, this was an experiment to see if eye care and medicine would work well together. Off the clock, Jack made ski trips to Sun Valley, climbed Mount Hood, went water skiing and camping, and thoroughly enjoyed himself as a young bachelor both on and off the slopes. He became the president of Oregon's Cascade Ski Club in 1960.
Jack met Irene Medycki in 1968, they were married in 1969, and in 1970 and 1971, their two sons were born. They settled into a beautiful home in Portland Heights. Jack taught his kids to ski, became Chief of Optometry at Kaiser, loved British automobiles, kept fit at the MAC, played golf, and danced at the Winter Club with his wife and friends. He watched his boys grow up into old men, and he watched four grandchildren become teenagers. Jack skied until he was 85 years old, and he enjoyed traveling the world with Irene until very recently.
He is survived by his wife, Irene; their two sons, Jason (Greta), their sons, Kai and Sam, and Zachary (Amber), and their sons, Tristan and Cyrus; two nieces and three nephews; and a surprising number of extended family and friends for his age!
A memorial service will be scheduled later this summer when we can safely gather to celebrate Jack's full life.