Darel L. Hilkin

Darel L. Hilkin, age 78 of Dubuque, Iowa, passed away on September 14, 2020, at home, surrounded by his loving family after a long battle with pulmonary hypertension. A private family service will be held at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Dubuque. Open Celebrations of Life will be held at a later date in both Dubuque, Iowa, and Ligurta Station, Arizona.

Darel was born on November 11, 1941, in Dubuque, Iowa, a son to Elmer and Marie (Steines) Hilkin. Darel’s early years were influenced by his father where he learned how to hunt, fish, work his hands, treat others with respect, and developed his strong work ethic as a child. Family, friends, work, and community quickly became the internal foundations he would carry throughout the rest of his years here on earth.  Family was always the number one priority in Darel’s life. Darel was always thankful for the day his beautiful bride, Ruth Gaul came into his life. They worked hand and hand together during their 56 wonderful years together. Their marriage was also blessed with 3 daughters, who would in-turn bring 4 amazing grandchildren into their lives.  Being a great husband, father and grandfather came natural to him.

Darel also enjoyed going camping with his family and going to Winston Cup races with his friends. He enjoyed snowmobiles for winter and boating at his dad’s cottage in the summer. Darel worked as a welder for 32 years at John Deere. The work was hard, the years were rewarding, and friends he made with so many co-workers over the years were undeniably another source of satisfaction in Darel’s life.  He would also use his career at Deere’s as a perfect launch pad to fulfill his drive to serve his friends and neighbors within the community.  Darel sat on the UAW Local #94 Executive Board, UAW Pension Committee, Iowa State CAP Board, the John Deere Volunteer Fire Department and other various committees which kept him busy a lot of nights and weekends. He also worked with the local 94 scout troop high adventure and was financial secretary. This is where he taught his children the importance of serving others.

After retirement, Darel and Ruth would spend 20 years wintering in Ligurta Station, Arizona with both local and newfound companions from across the US and Canada.  Once again, Darel continued making time to serve others a priority, by helping the VFW Auxiliary in Welton. He also enjoyed four-wheeling in the desert and in the mountains with his friends. Many times, you could find him gathering with friends and family at his site hosting happy hour.  Darel even trained a road runner to take meat off his nose. He will have some ashes spread at a spot in the desert as well as in Dubuque so his buddies can stop and have a beer with him.

Darel would say that he lived a full life with no regrets; that he did his absolute best to be a positive light in the world around him. But, for those who know and love Darel, they would say the world is a better place because of him.  His love, devotion, insights, personal drive and overall kind and forgiving heart are many of his gifts to his family and friends.  As much as our hearts break today due to the physical absence of Darel from our daily lives, we are comforted by the lessons and values he taught us.  Well done Darel.  We miss and love you. 


Those left behind to cherish the memory of Darel include,


his beautiful wife of 56 years,

Ruth Hilkin, Dubuque, Iowa;


his 3 adored daughters,

Dawn Marie Hilkin, Ossining, New York,

Sue Hahn, Dubuque, Iowa,

and Dana (Roger) Tippett, Galena, Illinois;


his 4 treasured grandchildren,

soon-to-be Dr. Alyssa Hahn (Jordan Wetzel), Coralville, Iowa,

Megan Hahn, Dubuque, Iowa,

Conner Tippett and Ryan Tippett, Galena, Illinois,


his 3 siblings,

Keith (Carol) Hilkin, Dubuque, Iowa,

Loren (Juanita) Hilkin, Dubuque, Iowa,

and Karen (Mark) Kuhle, Dubuque, Iowa;


along with numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.


Darel was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Orlen Hilkin.


A Darel L. Hilkin memorial fund has been established and donations in Darel’s name may be made to Hospice of Dubuque at HospiceOfDubuque.org, and to the Pulmonary Hypertension Association at PHAssociation.org/donate.


The Tri-State Cremation Center is humbly serving Darel’s family. The family would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff at U of Iowa clinic, Dr. Gerke, Unity Point Clinic, Dr. Powers, Tim and Sarah from Palliative Care and to Patrina Memne case worker, a special thanks to Michelle Lynch at UnitedHealth care  ( HUG )  for all of the professional and compassionate care and support they have provided to Darel, and his family.


Online condolences for Darel’s family may be left at www.tristatecremationcenter.com

A private family service will be held at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Dubuque. Open Celebrations of Life will be held at a later date in both Dubuque, Iowa, and Ligurta Station, Arizona.

6 comments on “Darel L. Hilkin
  1. John Abitz says:

    Darel will be in my rosary.

  2. Doris and Ron Schueller says:

    Dear Ruth and Family,
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. We remember Darel with his jolly personality and willingness to help wherever needed!
    May your memories carry you thru this sad time! We had so many good times at the union hall with you and Darel!
    Sincerely-Doris & Ron Schueller

  3. Mike Klein says:

    May God hold Darel gently in His hands and bless Ruth and their three daughters with pleasant memories of Darel’s many acts of love and kindness. And, I, wish to thank Darel for his personal kindness to me for so many years. Rest in peace Brother!

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