George D. ‘Garry’ Hilling

George David “Garry” Hilling, 69, of 145 Old Military Road, Saranac Lake, died Monday, Aug. 11, 2014 at his home, surrounded by family.

Born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania on Nov. 22, 1944, he was the son of George and Ruth (Michiner) Hilling. Garry married Patricia Sullivan Bixler on July 4, 1998 at the Adirondack Loj in Lake Placid.

Garry had been employed by the 3M Company in St. Paul, Minnesota as a research chemist for 25 years before coming to Saranac Lake. During that time, he developed the Amateur Athletic Union for basketball in the state. He was a basketball coach and referee.

Patti and Garry were high school sweethearts who found each other again in 1997. After a short whirlwind engagement, they were married and moved to Minnesota until Garry retired in 2002. When the couple relocated to Saranac Lake, Garry worked as a college professor at North Country Community College teaching algebra and chemistry for 12 years. Garry loved teaching at NCCC and said he would do it without being paid if he could. He also coached the women’s basketball team at NCCC and was a basketball referee. Garry was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church where he served as a member of the choir and the session. He enjoyed traveling, hiking, kayaking, camping, snowshoeing, and studying and learning about dogs. In his later years, Garry developed an interest in hunting with his son Pat. Garry is a veteran of the United States Air Force and served from 1962 to 1966.

He is survived by his wife Patti; six children: Angela Kivel and her husband Kris of North St. Paul, Minnesota, Cori Syring and her husband Matt of St. Paul, Minnesota, David Bixler and his companion Christina Yeung-Theriault of Bennington, New Hampshire, Patrick Bixler and his companion Cherise Bailey of Wilmington, Eryle Bixler and his wife Andrea of Waterbury Center, Vermont and Jeff Hilling of Wisconsin; six grandchildren: Patrick, Jonathan, Taylor, Karmin, Londyn and Liam; two brothers: Kenneth Hilling and his wife Becky of Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania and Keith Hilling and his wife Aquila of Uniontown, Pennsylvania; and one sister, Karen Beckman and her husband Dick of Phoenix, Arizona.

He was preceded in death by his father and mother, and a brother Michael.

Calling hours will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 15 at the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home in Saranac Lake. A funeral service will take place at 10 a.m . Saturday, Aug. 16 at the First Presbyterian Church in Saranac Lake with the Rev. Joann White officiating. Burial will follow at St. Bernard’s Cemetery in Saranac Lake.

Friends wishing to remember Garry Hilling may make memorial contributions to the Hope Lodge of Burlington, Vermont (American Cancer Society) in care of the funeral home.

Family and friends can also share their memories and sign the online guestbook at