Oct. 7, 1921 April 16, 2013
John Allen "Jack" Hiller Jr., 91, Tyrone, died Tuesday at The Gatehouse, Divine Providence Hospital, Williamsport.
He was born in Tyrone, son of John A. Sr. and Rosalie (Black) Hiller. He married Miriam Boal on Nov. 1, 1943, at Warriors Mark Methodist Church, and she preceded him in death Oct. 14, 2011.
Surviving are a daughter, Nancy H. Nesbitt and husband, Dr. Alexander Nesbitt, of Williamsport; two sons: John Scott of Tyrone and James B. (Pamela) of Fredericksburg, Va.; eight grandchildren: Nathaniel H. Nesbitt of Washington, D.C., Jody Hiller of Washington, D.C., Andrew (Britney) Hiller of Altoona, Airman 1st Class Jill Hiller of Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, Aaron H. Nesbitt of Denver, Colo., Rachel N. (Dion) Lehman of Jenkintown, Shana A. (Justin) Biggs of McDonough, Ga., and Christina A. Hiller of Fredericksburg, Va.; and two great-grandchildren: Aubrey and Carter.
He was preceded in death by a daughter-in-law, Deborah Hiller; a grandson, John Allen Hiller; and a stepbrother, Robert Piper.
Jack was a 1940 graduate of Tyrone High School and had attended Penn State University. With his wife, Miriam, he was the owner of the W.F. Hiller Inc. Insurance and Real Estate Office, serving as its president until appointing his son, John Scott Hiller, to that position prior to his retirement in 2001. He had 52 years of service with the agency.
He went active duty in the U.S. Army Air Force in January 1943, entered the Aviation Cadet Program and trained as a bombardier at Roswell, N.M., where he was commissioned. Completion of B-17 training followed at Rapid City, S.D., and he then flew with the 398th Bomb Group (H) out of Nuthampstead, England. His combat missions included D-Day, supporting Canadian forces at Juno Beach. On his 15th mission, he was shot down on June 19, 1944, over Hamburg, Germany. His plane crash-landed in a field with two engines out and the outboard engine windmilling. He was captured by the Wehrmacht and transported to Stalag Luft III. He was there until January 1945, when the prisoners were marched to a railhead for a 3-day cattle car trip to Moosburg, Germany. He was liberated on April 30, 1945, by elements of Patton's Third Army. He was home in June 1945 and remained in the Air Force as a training officer and as an intelligence officer at Olmsted Air Force Base, Harrisburg. He separated from active duty, joined the Air Force Reserve and retired in 1970 with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was the recipient of an Air Medal and the Prisoner of War Medal.
Jack was a member of First Presbyterian Church, serving as both an elder and deacon and as secretary-treasurer of the Sunday school. He was a member of Howard Gardner American Legion Post 281, serving as finance officer for more than 50 years, and was recognized by the post as an honorary commander. He was a member of the Gardner Guards Drum and Bugle Corp, a member and past president of the Blair County Insurance Agents Association and a member of the board of directors of the First Blair County National Bank. He was a member of the Tyrone Kiwanis Club, of which he was a past president, and a member of the Tyrone Area Chamber of Commerce. He served on the Tyrone YMCA Board and the board of directors of the Tyrone Hospital, and he was a member of Tyrone Lodge 494, F&AM, the Jaffa Shrine, where he had played in the Drum and Bugle Corps, the Williamsport Consistory and the Royal Order of Jesters Court 70. He was a member of the Tyrone Benedicts and a lifetime member of the Loyal Order of Moose and belonged to Gardner Cottage. He was an Eagle Scout of Troop 24 and secretary and trustee of the Tyrone Camp Anderson Corp.
He enjoyed golfing with his wife, Miriam, locally and in the Carolinas and traveling extensively when able. He was an avid sports fan of golf, football and basketball. This staunch Republican patriot was a man of deep faith, integrity and generosity who loved his God, family and country intensely.
Friends will be received from 2 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, April 22, 2013, at Richard H. Searer Funeral Home Inc., Tyrone, and 10 until the 11 a.m. funeral service Tuesday, April 23, 2013, at First Presbyterian Church, Pastor Mark Liller officiating. Interment will be made in Blair Memorial Park. Military honors will be accorded by Andrews Air Force Base Honor Guard.
Contributions in Jack's memory may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 2 W. 13th St., Tyrone, PA 16686.