NORRIDGEWOCK — Shirley J. Hilton, of Norridgewock, passed away peacefully on Friday, Sept. 8, at her home surrounded by her loving family.
She was born in Lewiston, on Dec. 30, 1928, daughter of Lester S. and Annie (Penley) Jackson.
Shirley grew up in Auburn and graduated from Edward Little High School in 1946. In her youth, she enjoyed girl scouting and attending Camp Wayaka on Lake Thompson.
She graduated from University of Maine in 1950 with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology. Upon graduation she moved to Bath to work for the Department of Health and Welfare for the State of Maine for three years.
Shirley met her husband Frank at the Farmers Fair dance at the University of Maine. After a friendship and courtship, they were married on March 20, 1954. Frank and Shirley started farming together in a partnership with his parents, Ralph and Lora Hilton, in Norridgewock on the Sandy River Road.
Shirley brought her skills and intellect to the farm business including accounting and recording keeping. Among the awards they received for farming include: The Maine Dairy Farmer of the Year award in 1969 and the Maine Industry leader award in 1994.
Along with raising four children on a farm, Shirley was a volunteer for many of her children’s activities including Sunday school teacher and Girl Scout leader.
Shirley was recognized for her business skills and was the first women on the Somerset County FHA loan advisory committee where she served for nine years. She also served as a deaconess for the First Congregational Church.
In later years Shirley and Frank enjoyed winter trips to Florida and exploring the West Coast states. Shirley’s life was enriched greatly by her six grandchildren and many great-grandchildren. She enjoyed encouraging them in school, baking cookies for them and celebrating countless birthdays with her famous checkerboard and maraschino cherry birthday cakes.
Shirley was an avid Red Sox and Patriots fan and rarely missed an opportunity to express her opinion about their performance. She loved the Maine coast and enjoyed annual lobster cookouts with her family in Harpswell.
Shirley was a life-long learner and started using her first computer at the age of 70. She was known for her letter writing skills, enjoyment of birding and poetry and her sharp wit.
She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Franklin C. Hilton; her four children, Tom and partner, Carol Axtell, Oakland, Jim Hilton and wife, Liz, Norridgewock, Ann Cavanaugh and husband, Dan, Klamath Falls, Ore., Judy Tuttle and husband, George, Benton; her six grandchildren, Jesse Hilton, Ben Hilton, Alex Hilton, Dr. Shannon Hilton, Robin Thompson and Samantha Pelkey; and many great-grandchildren. She was also survived by her cousin, Inez Davis, Auburn.
She is preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Gerald Jackson; a cousin; and two beloved aunts.
Special thanks to Danielle Charles and Alex Hilton and their children for Shirley’s personal care in the last months of her life. The family would like also to thank Beacon Hospice for the kindness and care.
Shirley J. Hilton