Cover photo for Stephen Reinhold Hilding's Obituary
Stephen Reinhold Hilding Profile Photo
1936 Stephen 2019

Stephen Reinhold Hilding

August 5, 1936 — May 31, 2019

Stephen Reinhold Hilding died peacefully on Friday, May 31, 2019. Funeral service will be held at Christ Chapel, St. Peter on Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 11:00 a.m.

Stephen was born on August 5, 1936 to Inez and Anderson Hilding, he was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran faith. Stephen grew up in Duluth, Minnesota and participated enthusiastically in sailing, camping, skiing, tennis and musical activities. His family spent the academic year 1951-52 in Tenafly, New Jersey, allowing Stephen the opportunity to study cello at the Julliard School of Music, New York City. He graduated from Duluth East High School in 1954 and Gustavus Adolphus College in 1958. Stephen married Arlene Anderson of Duluth, a fellow musician in 1958. While pursuing graduate degrees in mathematics, Stephen continued studying cello, was an active chamber musician and performed in the university orchestra at Kansas State University. After receiving his Master’s degree from KSU in 1960, Stephen taught at North Dakota State University and Mankato State University. He earned his doctorate at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1965 and thereafter joined the mathematics faculty at Gustavus Adolphus College. While on sabbatical in 1983, Stephen taught at the Werner Heisenberg Gymnasium in Heide, Germany. He was a long-time member of First Lutheran Church and the Mankato Symphony Orchestra. Stephen was a member and officer of the North Central Section of the Mathematical Association of America. Upon retirement in 1998, Stephen volunteered at Linnaeus Arboretum and Habitat for Humanity, and following the St. Peter tornado, he assisted in the long-range restoration effort at the Resurrection Cemetery. He was an avid downhill skier and enjoyed the opportunity to ski locally, in the Alps and in the western mountains of the United States. Stephen was a man of faith who practiced generosity and kindness. He welcomed adventure, appreciated the challenges of mathematics and classical music, and cherished his family, friends and students.

Stephen was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Jean; and brothers, Wendell and David.

He will be fondly remembered by his wife of 60 years, Arlene; his four children, Elena, Mark (Laura), Gregory (Karen), and Jonathan (Juli); ten grandchildren, Benjamin (Alicia), Stephen (Anne), Derek (Alison), Kyle, Austen, Chelsea, Jake, Kathryn, Victoria, Sam; 3 great-grandchildren, Miriam, Joanna, Molly; sister, Cecile (Richard) Swenson; sisters-in-law, Camillla (Jim) Weinstock and Sonja; brothers-in-law, Erland (Gloria) Anderson, Fred (Sandra) Anderson; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and former students and colleagues.  

The family offers heartfelt gratitude to all who cared for Stephen, especially members of the Mayo Hospice team. Memorials may be made to Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Stephen Reinhold Hilding, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

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