« Back to Obituaries

Mark S. Hillestad

Mark S. Hillestad

June 6, 2018

Mark Stanley Hillestad, 61, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, June 6th 2018, surrounded by family and close friends. 

Mark was born to Stan and Yvonne Hillestad on November 6th, 1956. He spent his childhood in Eau Claire with his younger brother, Daniel, and many cousins.  

At Memorial High School, Mark was named Most Valuable Memorial Old Abe tennis player both his junior and senior year. Playing with his brother, Daniel, and under his dad, Stan, who coached the team, he served as team captain his senior year and received the Best Sportsmanship trophy. He got along well with others and had a great sense of humor. 

After graduating from Memorial, he went on to receive his accounting degree from the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire and his CPA. While there, he played three years varsity tennis. He worked at Ernst & Whinney in Minneapolis and in Milwaukee and Holiday Travel in Eau Claire before switching industries to work in customer accounts at Xcel Energy. 

In 1980 he met Karla Borgen at church, and married her on November 27th, 1982. They had two daughters, Kristi and Kelsey. Mark loved his family, and carved out special time with them. From couples bowling league to family game nights, building model cars, family trips, and scheduling father/daughter date nights, Mark showed his love for his family in many ways. As a father, he was unwaveringly supportive and quick to offer words of encouragement. Of his marriage, he once said that being married to Karla was paradise. 

Mark was active in all the churches he attended. He and his wife were involved in a puppet ministry for children, and he also drove the church van to pick up children who needed a ride to Wednesday night services. 

Mark was always involved in sports. He played on the church softball team at Evangel (Westridge) for many years. He often took local fishing trips in the summer and especially enjoyed fishing with his dad and brother. Mark joined a church bowling league and made news with his records, setting a new local record with an 837 series and one perfect game in 1995 after getting over chicken pox. 

Whenever interviewed on his successes, Mark made a point to give thanks to his Lord, Jesus Christ, for blessing him. It was important to him to share his faith, in the good times and the bad. 

In 2013, Mark was diagnosed with early-onset dementia. Quickly, the disease robbed him of his ability to participate in sports, to work at Xcel, and to enjoy many things in life.  

Still, he did not allow the disease to diminish his faith. With Karla at his side, lovingly caring for him as the disease progressed, Mark continued to give thanks for each day. He volunteered at the food pantry at Trinity Lutheran Church and helped his dad with Meals on Wheels until he was no longer able to do so. He lavished his granchildren, Jude, Archer, and Synnove with love. When he prayed, he thanked the Lord for the day that He had made, each one a blessing, and rejoiced in it. Despite all the losses, the frustration, fears, and pain, Mark fought the disease with expemlary bravery, ever leaning on the Lord for strength. 

In the spring of 2018, Mark's health declined abruptly as a result of dementia. On June 6th, 2018, Mark went peacefully home to his Lord. 

He is survived by his wife, Karla, his parents, Stan and Yvonne Hillestad, his brother Daniel (Robin), his daughters, Kristi (Eric), and Kelsey (Shane), and his grandchildren, Jude, Archer, and Synnove. 

Today, with great sorrow at his passing,  we give thanks. We give thanks for this tender-hearted, loving man who walked in God's love and gave it abundantly. We give thanks for the memories we will take with us and the ways he still inspires us. We give thanks that Mark's suffering is over, and that he is now healed and whole in heaven. We rejoice in the hope we have in Jesus Christ, that we, too, can be joined with our heavenly father by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for our sins.  

"In the same way let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." 

Matthew 5:16 

A visitation will be held at Harvestime Church in Eau Claire at 2 pm on Sunday, June 10th, followed by a memorial service at 3:30 pm. Burial will take place in the Northside Cemetery in Eau Claire immediately following the funeral service. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Lewey Body Dementia Association.

Friends may offer condolences online at www.hulkefamilyfh.com.  Hulke Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services is assisting the family with the arrangements.


Visitation will take place at the Harvestime Church in Eau Claire on Sunday, June 10, 2018 from 2 pm until the time of service.


Funeral service will take place at 3:30 pm on Sunday, June 10, 2018 at Harvestime Church with Pastor Scott Emerson, 3625 Southwind Drive, Eau Claire, WI 54701 with Pastor Scott Emerson officiating.