Homer Alaska - Obituaries

Story last updated at 9:20 PM on Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Angelo John Hillas


Angelo John Hillas

Oct. 24, 1926 - April 20, 2011

Longtime Homer resident Angelo J. Hillas died bravely and with dignity on April 20, 2011. He was known by many as simply "Angelo."

The son of Greek immigrants, he was born in the coal mining town of Hiawatha, near Price, Utah. Largely to prevent him from becoming a coal miner, his family left Utah and moved to Modesto, Calif., in 1938. He graduated from Modesto High in 1944, and was then drafted and served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in the South Pacific. After WWII, he graduated from Modesto Junior College and then San Jose State University with a degree in accounting. He was called back to active duty in the U.S. Air Force in 1951, during the Korean War, and continued to serve in the USAF Reserve until 1964. He ultimately achieved the rank of captain.

On return to Modesto, he met and married Melva Moore, his wife for 52 years. They moved to Homer with children Marcia and John Hillas in 1964, where he was the first deputy assessor for the Homer area for the Kenai Peninsula Borough. When the borough wanted to consolidate local offices to Soldotna in 1969, he wanted to stay in Homer, so he quit and started Homer Bookkeeping Service. In the early years after quitting the borough, he worked as a construction laborer to help make ends meet. As one of the only persons in Alaska outside of Anchorage with appraisal experience, he began performing real estate appraisals in the early 1970s, and later sold Homer Bookkeeping and started Hillas Appraisal Company. He built the Hillas Building next to the Homer Theatre in 1973, and enlarged it to its present size in 1974. He continued to appraise real estate all over the peninsula until retirement at age 79 in 2005. Angelo and Melva also started a cinnamon roll restaurant on the Big Island of Hawaii, as well as the Liquor Cabinet liquor store at Pioneer and Bartlett. He was very active in community affairs, and was Homer's Citizen of the Year in 1969. He served as president of the chamber of commerce, and was very involved with the local Elks and Rotary. He was the Exalted Ruler of the Homer Elks for two years, and also served as the District Deputy to the Grand Exalted Ruler (National President) of the Elks. A highlight of his involvement with Rotary was a trip to Siberia. An avid hunter and fisherman, he loved the outdoors and boating on the bay. He and Melva traveled all over the world and loved seeing new places. He easily made friends everywhere and touched the lives of many. He was a master of many crafts, and could build or repair almost anything. He was preceded in death by his wife, Melva, in 2008, and their daughter, Marcia in 2011. Survivors include his son John and his wife Anne; loving grandchildren and great grandchildren; brother, Mike Hillas; and sisters Helen Baney, Connie Bird and Irene Briggs, all of Modesto, Calif.

He was buried next to Melva and many relatives at Lakewood Memorial Park in Hughson, Calif. following memorial services at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Modesto.