Cumberland – Lester Elliot Hilton, 95, died Thursday, January 10, 2019. He was married to the late Arlene Alden (Newton) Hilton for sixty-one years. Born in Pawtucket, he was the son of the late Charles and Annie Lester (Crofts) Hilton, and was the brother of the late Phyliss Littlefield Duckworth, Dr. Spencer Crofts Hilton and Merritt Winslow Hilton.
He graduated from Pawtucket West High School in 1941 in the school’s first graduating class; Talbott-Hubbard Business School (Typing) in 1942; U.S.M.C. Paymaster School in 1943; Armed Forces Institute (Banking) in 1945; International Correspondence School (Bookkeeping & Accounting) in 1949; American College of Life Underwriters (CLU Designation) in 1968; and received his National Association of Security Dealers Designation (NASD) in 1972.
Lester enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on December 8, 1942, and was honorably discharged on February 26, 1926, with the rank of Paymaster Sgt. He had been employed by the Manville Jencks Textile Mill (purchased by Textron, Inc. during WWII), as a cost clerk (1941-1948) and worked at various Textile Mills (office mgr.) and Vending Machine Co.’s (Regional Mgr. – 1948-1959). He was co-owner, with his late wife, of a Dry Goods Store and Toy Store from 1952 thru 1958. From 1959 to 1982 was a Metropolitan Insurance Sales Representative and a self-employed Insurance Broker from 1982 to 1990. He was also and Notary Public from 1959 to 1994. With his late wife, they were volunteer Canteen Leaders for the East Side YMCA in 1948 to 1950. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Cost Accountants (1947-1950), the American Association of Life Underwriters (1961-1982), the Board of Directors of United Cerebral Palsy of R.I. (1974-1982) where he served as President from 1978-1980 and on their National Finance Committee from 1977-1981. Lester was also a member of the R.I. Advisory Committee on Civil Rights to the U.S. Commission on Rights (1977-2005) and served as chairman of their sub-committee on Re-Apportionment in 1986. He was a member of the U.S. Badminton Association (previously known as the American Badminton Association (1968-1978) serving as chairman of the Rules Committee (1968-1972) and as President (1974-1976). He belonged to the Metropolitan Insurance Company Veterans Association. He served as Chairman of the Shiner Section (Ashton Dam to Manville Dam – Blackstone River) during Operation “ZAP”, sponsored by the Providence Journal to the clean the Blackstone River. He served on the Blackstone Valley Sewer District Commission (1985-1991) and was chairman from 1985-1991, when the merged with the Narragansett Bay Water Quality Commission. He was also a Board Member of the R.I. Public Transit Authority from 1987 to 1993, serving as Vice Chairman (1991-1993).
In 1940, he had been given an award for this essay on Wendell Wilkie For President. He had been a Republican candidate for the Cumberland Town Council At-Large in 1968, and was a member of the Cumberland Republican Town Committee from 1969 to 2012, serving as chairman (1969-1972). He was co-founder and chairman of the Association of Blackstone Valley GOP Chairmen (1971-1972) and has been a member of the Republican State Central Committee (1973-Present). He also had served on their Credentials Committee and the Organization, Training & Education Committee, and chairman of the Campaign Activities Committee. He was elected to the Republican National Convention in 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, and 1996 in the 1st Congressional District. He also served as Transportation Director to the Republican National Convention in 1988 and 1992. From 1981 to 2012, he served as a member or volunteer to the Cumberland Board of Canvassers. As a volunteer, he drew all the Council and Voting District lines after the 1980, 1990 and 2000 Census. For several years, he has been a member of a bi-partisan pair to assist those voting in nursing homes and hospitals. Over a two year period, he inventoried and cataloged all the Cumberland Town Hall “old” records, as well as compiling a detailed listing of 40 historical cemeteries in Cumberland, and a listing of all veterans of the Civil War to World War II, showing enlistment dates, etc. The Daughters of the American Revolution awarded him a Legion of Merit Designation in 2002. His name has appeared in “Community Leaders and Noteworthy Americans”, “Notable Americans 1976-1977”, “Personalities of America”, and “Dictionary of International Biography”.
He is survived by one sister, Fay Janice (Hilton) Harris of Pawley’s Island, South Carolina; and several nieces and nephews.
His funeral service will be held Sunday, January 13, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. in Bellows Funeral Chapel, 160 River Road. Burial with military honors will be in Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Exeter. Relatives and friends are invited, and may call prior to the service on Sunday, from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675-8517 would be appreciated.