Roy Lynn Hildebrand was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, on July 30, 1949, to Clarence and Lucille Hildebrand of Woolstock. He joined brothers Fred, David, and James, and all of them worked with their parents on the farm from a young age.
Roy’s formal schooling began in Kindergarten in a one-room schoolhouse. The school closed after that year and Roy moved to Webster City Schools for first grade. He graduated from Webster City High School in 1967. Roy graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1971. During college, he was a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho social and professional fraternity. He loved to tell his daughters stories about early morning classes and fraternity antics. He later served on the fraternity’s alumni board and was recognized for his achievements in 1996 with the fraternity’s Twenty-Five Year Testimonial award.
While a student at ISU, Roy met Kathryn Frieden through a mutual friend. Roy and Kathy went dancing in Fort Dodge. The next day, Roy told his mom the date was the most fun he ever had in his life. Roy and Kathy married at West Bend United Methodist Church in West Bend, Iowa, on June 26, 1971, after both graduated from ISU. The couple began their life together at the River Farm owned by Clarence and Lucille, and Roy began farming with his dad. In 1973, Roy and Kathy moved a short distance east to the home they shared for the rest of their lives together.
Roy was a sixth generation Iowa farmer and a life-long learner. He will be remembered for his sense of humor, compassion, work ethic, and high standards. He often repeated a “joke” about his dad that went something like this: “It’s 6 o’clock Monday morning, the day after tomorrow is Wednesday. The week’s half shot, and we haven’t got a thing done yet!” He never stopped innovating and incorporating new technology and practices into the farming operation. In his 30s, Roy taught himself double-entry accounting to manage the finances of a growing business. He kept every check he wrote from the time he was a teenager and took great pride in keeping impeccable records of the farm’s finances. In December 2020, Roy took virtual classes to keep up with new farming practices. Roy was honored to receive the Outstanding Farmer Award from the Main Street Kiwanis in 2016. Roy served on the boards of the Woolstock Farmers’ Cooperative, the Woolstock Mutual Telephone Company, and the Cass Township Electric Company.
Roy grew up in the Lutheran Church and joined Asbury United Methodist Church as an adult. He was an active member of the church, serving on the Board of Trustees, the Endowment Committee, and numerous other committees. Roy and Kathy were active in the Pairs and Spares fellowship group, Sunday School, and Chancel Choir.
Roy was a proud and loving father to daughters Emily (b. 1975), Rachel (b. 1980), and Susan (b. 1985). Notably, his daughters never once heard him say he wanted a boy. He attended countless dance and piano recitals; band, orchestra, and choir concerts; and cross-country, track, and golf meets. Occasionally he commented that the composers missed several good stopping points during longer musical pieces. Concerts, recitals, and athletic events gradually gave way to graduations and weddings. Emily married Jason Pontius, Rachel married Dan Corron, and Susan married Danielle Carlson. Roy experienced the joy of being a grandfather to Andrew and Kathryn Pontius, Isla and Ainsley Corron, and Elliot Carlson, leading to more dance and piano recitals and sporting events. He never looked more peaceful than when he was cradling a grandbaby.
It was sometimes difficult to convince Roy to take time off work, but he threw himself into fun when the time was right. After a long day of work in the summer, if a few hours of daylight remained, Roy and family would take the boat to Lake Cornelia and take turns waterskiing until the sun went down. Roy liked to teach people to get up on waterskis and once in a while he liked to drive his boat so people fell off of inner tubes.
Summer weekends were often spent camping in the timber with the best friends anyone could ask for. During one holiday weekend, Roy and the other dads built a long waterslide, complete with a splash pool and recirculating pump. The group often canoed on the Boone River, mostly to engage in elaborate water fights, and spent many hours around the campfire, which was always way too big for roasting marshmallows. In the winter, friends gathered at the Hildebrand house to snowmobile. One group of families dubbed themselves the Fearsome Foursome and got together every holiday season beginning in 1977 for the Fearsome Foursome Family Christmas.
In recent years, Roy attempted to retire from active farming. This allowed for winters in Arizona with friends old and new, a few cruises to warm climates, and trips to enjoy the company of his wife, daughters, daughter-in-law, sons-in-law, and grandchildren. Roy and Kathy also enjoyed riding the Harley on afternoon jaunts and for several years took cycle trips to the Great Lakes with friends.
Roy died on New Year’s Eve, less than four weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He saw his entire family on Christmas Day and was surrounded by his wife and daughters in the days before he died. Roy was preceded in death by his parents and his brother James. He is survived by his wife, three daughters and their spouses, five grandchildren, and his brothers Fred and David and their families.
Roy’s family would like to thank all friends who have provided tireless support; the caring doctors, nurses, and staff who cared for Roy and his family at Van Diest Medical Center; and Asbury Pastor Phil Webb for providing comfort to Roy in his last days. A graveside service will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 5, at Graceland Cemetery in Webster City. Those attending in person must wear face coverings and observe social distancing. The service will also be live-streamed and accessible on Foster Funeral and Cremation Center’s Facebook page.
The family will direct memorial contributions to non-profit organizations Roy supported.