It is with great regret and sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved
Dad, Grandfather, Brother, Uncle, Cousin, and Friend, Ken Hilton. Ken lost his valiant battle with cancer on September 20th, 2019.
Born November 16, 1940 in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Ken was a graduate of LaGrange High School. After school he joined the Air Force and was the recipient of many commendations. During this time, Ken was the drummer for several bands that entertained around Barksdale Air Force base where he was stationed. For the rest of Ken’s life there was always a set of drums around for him to play along with recorded music just for fun. On his release from the service, Ken got a job as a salesman for the local Ford dealer in Lafayette, Louisiana. This was the beginning of a great career in the automotive business. Over the years Ken was the owner of several successful dealerships that carried the name “Ken Hilton.” Ken loved flying and became an accomplished pilot, eventually owning several types of aircraft.
When Ken retired from the car business he began a new “career” of being an expert wild hog hunter. He was so successful that the state of Mississippi wildlife division sought him out for techniques and strategies to help abate the crisis of hog overpopulation in the state.
During this time he and his late wife, Sherri, opened Persnickety, a home accessories store in Madison, which became a national sensation for innovation and design, winning many prestigious awards.
Six years prior to his death, Ken suffered a horrific hunting accident that left him temporarily paralyzed. Doctors told him he would never walk again, but Ken’s tenacity proved them wrong as he not only walked, but resumed hunting and even started a new hobby designing and building two beach homes in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Ken was a fighter against all adversity, but was also one of the bravest and most kind-hearted men you would ever meet, all the while maintaining a silence about his good deeds and help. Ken had been a hunter of all kinds of wildlife until the day he brought home an abandoned baby deer. He and Sherri saved its life by bottle feeding it. It was at that point that Ken decided to stop hunting, with the exception of helping control hog overpopulation. He and Sherri went on to found the “Madison Ark,” an animal rescue shelter.
Ken is survived by two daughters, Kristine Marie Hilton Bui, and Kelle Anne Hilton Watts. Another daughter, Stacey Leigh Hilton, preceded him in death. He is also survived by his sweetheart of the past three years, Mary Beth McDonald, his seven grandchildren, his brother and sister-in-law Bob and Joni Hilton of California, and his best dog, “Boss.”
A special heartfelt thanks to Ken’s many friends, doctors, and hospice workers that helped and comforted Ken during his final weeks.
Ken was brave, strong, generous, someone you knew you could count on... and he will be sorely missed. We can all look forward to that day in the Glories to come as we will again see his handsome face, his twinkling eyes and that knowing smile, as he then welcomes us home.
Rest now, Ken. You deserve it. We love you.
A private tribute will be held in his honor. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to animal rescue organizations or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.