Paul Julius Hilgenberg was born September 11, 1924, in his parents' farmhouse on the west side of Artesian SD to Julius and Clara (Walker) Hilgenberg. He grew up with his two older brothers, Ronald and Gail, on the family farm. The family also had 22 milk cows and operated the West Side Dairy of Artesian.
Paul attended Artesian High School and was active in band, chorus, basketball and track. He graduated from high school in 1942 and went to college at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell with hopes of becoming a radio sports announcer. When his father was unable to physically do all the work of the farm, Paul came home to work. On June 17, 1945, he married Daisy Kramer at the Glenview Church north of Fedora, SD. They lived in a house next to his parents' house, and he continued working on the farm. Their family grew to include six children: Paula, Darla, Dan, James, Steven, and Lisa.
Paul was active in the community as a school board member and as a school bus driver. In addition, he also agreed to be the half-time band director at the Artesian School when a qualified band teacher could not be found. He was very talented in music and especially enthusiastic about instrumental music. During this time Paul and Daisy sang together for many funerals at many different churches. Despite the hard life as a farmer, Paul always made time to have fun. His entertainment was simple: hunting, dancing, bowling, horseshoes, playing cards with neighbors, and singing and playing horns with his brothers and other relatives.
After the death of his first wife Daisy, Paul married Helen Determan on July 19, 1991, in Mitchell. They made their home in Mitchell and continued dancing, camping and boating as well as spending winters in Mesa, AZ. Paul and Helen had great times camping at Oakwood Lake on the Fourth of July with members of their combined families. In time it was a good move to go to Sioux Falls to a nice apartment at Sunnycrest where they continued their activities and met new friends.
Paul is survived by his wife, Helen; his children: Paula (David) Larson, Artesian, Darla (Jack) Schooler, Long Beach, CA, Dan (Karen) Hilgenberg, Milbank, Jim (Karen) Hilgenberg, Hemet, CA, Lisa Holleran, Phoenix, AZ; his step-children: Jerry Determan, San Diego, CA, Carol (Tom) Schulte, Nancy (Bill) Winans, Marilyn (Terry) Kewley and Don Determan, all of Sioux Falls, Sharon Determan, Huron; thirteen grandchildren, nine step-grandchildren; twenty-two great-grandchildren, seventeen step-great-grandchildren; his sister-in-law, Frances Hilgenberg, Colorado and brothers-in-law, Lyle Kramer, California and Dale Kramer, Oregon.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers, Ronald and Gail, his first wife, Daisy, his son, Steven and his sister-in-law, Ruth Hilgenberg.