John Archie Hillestad was born at home November 6th, 1930 in Ellisville township, south of Alamo, North Dakota. He was the 6th of 9 children born to Oscar & Marie Hillestad. He graduated from Alamo High School in 1948 and continued to farm. He served in the US Marine Corp from 1952-1954. He was stationed in California, South Carolina and then Japan in the Korean War. He returned to farming after his honorable discharge from the service.
September 2nd, 1958, he married Beverly Esterby in Hawthorne, Nevada. They lived in the Alamo area and farmed there until 1966. They bought a farm/ranch in the BC Peace River country, Sunset Prairie, located west and north of Dawson Creek. They took their family of 5, Jack, Teresa, Orlie, Becky & Louise, north to Canada and raised them in a “pioneer” atmosphere. Archie enjoyed hunting and trapping in the early years. Over the years they had horses, cows, pigs, chickens, rabbits. They raised a big garden every year and went to mostly livestock raising and hay as the weather was so unpredictable for grain production.
The family attended a Village Mission Church held in McLeod School while the family was at home and later began attending Bethel Pentecostal Tabernacle in Dawson Creek.
By the year 2000, age & health issues convinced them to retire to Alberta to be closer to more of their family. They bought a home in Donalda & son Orlie & daughter Teresa & her children made the move for them. There they enjoyed the fellowship at Sharon Lutheran Church as well as the friends and neighbours. During that time, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
In March 2008, Archie suffered a stroke and they decided to sell the Donalda house, buy a condo and move into Stettler, AB. At that time, they started attending Freedom Christian Fellowship a few blocks away. By 2018, it was time to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary with family & friends.
On June 11, 2019, Archie had another stroke and remained in acute care in Stettler Hospital for 6 weeks, waiting to move into the Heritage House Care Facility where he received wonderful care from the staff. Archie & Bev both enjoyed the socialization and Archie enjoyed & excelled at Friday morning table bowling.
Archie passed away peacefully in the morning hours of Friday, October 25 at Heritage House in Stettler just short of his 89th birthday.
Archie is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Bev and by his children; son Jack (Trina) Hillestad of Edmonton, AB; Teresa (Conrad) Quist of Red Deer, AB; Orlie (Corrinna Gray) Hillestad of Williams Lake, BC; Rebecca (Michael) Broemeling of rural Stettler, AB; and Louise (Lorne) Gudlaugson of Grande Prairie, AB. Archie & Bev were blessed with 26 grandkids: (Jack’s) Tony “Anthony”, Irene, Jon, Jerianne, Josh, & Janelle; (Teresa’s) Kara, Alayna, Ian, Rachel & Daniel; (Orlie’s) Sarah; (Becky’s) Luke, Jesse, Joe, Graeme, Jill, Walter, Sabrina, Tayler, Donna & Lincoln; (Louise’s) Sheena, Shane, Jared & Taneesha; and 20 great-grandkids: (Jack’s) Lumen & Maevyn; (Teresa’s) Kasen, Hadleigh, Sheaffer, Kayo, Naomi, Gideon, Davia, Sadie; (Becky’s) Miriam, Heidi, Keziah, Camelon & Ainsley; (Louise’s) AvaLeigh, Piper, Hadley, Landyn & Joan.
Archie is also survived by sisters & brothers-in-law; Shirley Torgerson; Helen (Ed) Halvorson; Harold Opsal, all of Spokane, Washington; and sister-in-law Lorraine Hillestad of Williston, North Dakota, as well as many nieces & nephews & families, and friends.
Archie was predeceased by his parents, Oscar & Marie Hillestad of Alamo, North Dakota; siblings, Laverne, Orlie (MaryAnn), Paul (Betty-Jane), Eleanor Opsal, Marjory (Olaf)Evenson, Blanche (Jim)Blair, Palmer Torgerson; mother-in-law Geri Miller Marshall; father-in-law Kermit Esterby.
On Wednesday, October 30, 2019, following a family viewing at Bashaw Funeral Home, Archie was laid to rest in the Lakeview Cemetery, Stettler, Alberta. Pallbearers were grandsons: Tony (Anthony)Gibbs, Luke Broemeling, Ian Stone and Josh Hillestad.
A memorial service & luncheon followed at 3 pm in the Freedom Christian Fellowship Church, 5502-51 Avenue, Stettler, Alberta with Pastor Sean UnKauf officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Gideons or Samaritan’s Purse.
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