John W. Hilgers, 73, a resident of Hancock and former longtime Houghton resident, passed away Tuesday evening February 5, 2019, at the Omega House in Houghton following a short illness.
John was born on February 27, 1945 in Madison, Wisconsin to Jack and Liane (Faust) Hilgers. He graduated from Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wisconsin where he discovered his love of math and physics and pitched a no-hitter for the baseball team. Except for one year of graduate school and teaching at Cornell University, John studied at the University of Wisconsin, earning a PhD in Mathematics in 1973.
From 1974 to 2007 he taught in the Math Department at Michigan Tech and also earned twenty-two graduate level credits in electrical engineering. In 1992 he and his friend Bill Reynolds founded Signature Research, which grew to as many as fifty-five employees with contracts from top research labs in the US Department of Defense.
John volunteered with Copper Country Habitat for Humanity and Relay for Life. His hobbies included reading, astrophysics, crossword puzzles, and movies. He participated in running, biking and triathlons into his sixties. He was a big fan of Wisconsin Badger football, Michigan Tech athletics and the MTU Pep Band. He celebrated and endured through six decades of following the Packers.
John is survived by his wife Christy, brother Tom (Paula) Hilgers of Salem, Oregon, niece Mindy Hilgers of Salem, Oregon, aunt Caryl Bremer of Middleton, Wisconsin and numerous cousins.
John cherished his dog Lucy and the three cats who brightened his life. He would encourage people to consider adopting a pet, and the family suggests memorials in his name to the Copper Country Humane Society and Keweenaw Spay and Neuter Group.
A celebration of John’s life is planned for a future date.
To view John’s obituary or to send condolences to the family please visit memorialchapel.net.
The Memorial Chapel & Plowe Funeral Homes are assisting the family with arrangements.