Jim took Muir's advice.....
"The mountains are calling, and I must go"
  • Passed away on November 11, 2018 in South Lake Tahoe, California, United States.

Karl James Hildinger was born in Danville, California in 1931. He passed away at home, surrounded by family, in South Lake Tahoe on November 11, 2018.

Three weeks after he was born, Jim was carried into Angora Lakes Resort in a Washoe papoose basket.He was a staunch environmentalist and spent his lifetime protecting and preserving Angora and the greater Lake Tahoe Basin.The Angora Lakes Resort remains in the family.

Jim served in the Army from 1956-1958, playing 1st violin in the 7th Army Symphony in Germany. He taught instrumental music in the Lake Tahoe Unified School District for 29 years to hundreds of high school, middle school and elementary school students.He also performed as a violinist in the Reno area.

He was a self-taught black and white photographer.Many of his photographs are in private collections throughout Lake Tahoe and in his book, Tahoe in Black & White.He gave his thousands of negatives and proofs to the University of Nevada, Reno, for posterity.

Jim was an avid wintertime sailor on Lake Tahoe and spent many delightful hours in Emerald Bay surrounded by good friends. He was a lifetime member of the Windjammers Yacht Club, which he helped to found in 1974. He participated in many sailing races on Lake Tahoe.

He is survived by his wife, Gloria Hildinger, his son Eric & daughter-in-law Trish Hildinger, his grandson Lee Hildinger, and his daughter Judith Hildinger & son-in-law Eric Meader.To all those he leaves behind, he says “thank you”. There will be no memorial service at this time.

Posted by Jami Layne on 8th February 2019
Mr. Hildinger was my music teacher when I was in elementary school! I still remember his original piece he wrote for our winter concert called "Machine Shop." He was a wonderful instructor and mentor. I will never forget him! Rest in Peace Mr. Hildinger!
Posted by Roslyn Schlenker on 20th January 2019
Jim was always so funny and kind whenever we arrived or left Angora. I was obvious how much he loved the Tahoe area and how happy he was as a person. How wonderful to have been able to live out his life's passion as a caretaker of nature. He will be missed.
Posted by Scott Humes on 18th January 2019
My condolences to Jims Family. It was an honor and pleasure to know Him. I met him on Lake Tahoe and ended up having many lunches aboard Cadenza in Emerald bay. Good Memorys !
Posted by Julie Castillo on 7th December 2018
He took me sailing on Lake Tahoe on a winters day. I feel grateful to have had that time with him. I watched him fill up the biggest water gun ever and squirt all of us on a crazy September day on Angora Lake. What a life. What a man. Your whole family is connected to the center of my year. May you find peace in knowing he lived a full life.
Posted by Francie Kelley on 7th December 2018
Jim always called my Marcy. Not sure why, but it stuck. We would correct him every year, but it didn’t matter. I was Marcy to Jim, and after a while, it was fine with me. I was 5 when my family started going to Angora. I wanted to please Jim from an early age, wanted him to really like me, but I knew it would have to be earned. He was strict with all the kids, and he trusted that we’d live by the rules carefully set to make our time at Angora perfect, and it always was. Each year we were greeted with Jim’s open arms, welcoming us back into the place of our childhood where nothing ever changed. I had the joy of placing a number of his superb mountain photographs in a couple of hotel projects, and I am also grateful to own two photographs myself, “Mermaid Rock” and “Echo Peak”. They are a beautiful reminder of him. He kept the wood boats up until there was only one left, the Cadillac, which he allowed me when it was no longer kept on the beach. I coveted that privilege and also knew that if I even touched a rock with the boat, it would be all over. I think he enjoyed watching me row, though he couldn’t understand why I was in such a hurry to get across the lake. Jim’s passion for what mattered to him was evident and deeply inspiring and the impact that he has had on our lives is immense. I am full of gratitude for knowing Jim and the gifts he has given all of us by the example of living a good, good life. He will live in my heart always.
Posted by Kel Gennert on 29th November 2018
Being a late bloomer, I waited until middle age to find my job at Angora this past summer. 2017 was a tough year for me, and the antidote of Angora's magic was a balm to my spirit. I loved being part of providing its simple pleasures to the day public and long-time guests, and getting to know the Hildingers a little better. It's difficult to articulate how beautiful the simple act of making the lemonade is: measure the sugar syrup, squeeze the lemons, add ice and the best spring water in the world, stir. I wish I could time travel back a bunch of decades, when such simplicity was a way of life everywhere; a window on those times is visiting Angora in the summer. Such a splendid legacy. I was a little intimidated by Jim at the resort; some have called him "salty," an apt description. But I didn't shy from him and wanted him to know how good Angora was for me. One day, I stopped to tell him how grateful I was to be working there, while he relaxed in his chair on the back deck of his cabin. "I'll be sure to send you a bill," he said. Made me laugh. I would have liked to be there when he was playing violin. I always seem to be late to the party, but am so glad I caught the tail end of the one that was Jim's life. My thoughts and love go out to his wonderful family.
Posted by Cheryl Bly-Chester on 29th November 2018
I am so sad to hear of Jim's passing and my heart goes out to Gloria, Judith & Eric M, Eric, Trish and Lee - all of whom have welcomed me at one summer or another as one of the Gillis cousins. I cherish my signed B&W photo book and will always remember Jim for his mentoring on the environment and sound advice after the Angora fires. He is missed.
Posted by Lori Hanson on 29th November 2018
Condolences and all my best wishes to the Hildinger Family! It was with pleasure that I spent some fond moments at the Hildinger dinner table up at Angora Lakes with Jim and other members of his family. There I appreciated his knowledge of photography and enjoyed listening to his salty opinions. He was also generous in taking me out on the lake in his sail boat, some years ago. It was a beautiful sunny late winter/early spring day and I had much fun! Rest In Peace Jim Hildinger and lots of Love to you Gloria McNutt Hildinger!!
Posted by Dodd Carter on 29th November 2018
I met Jim with my wife Michele (Branchini) Carter a few times at Angora Lake and those few times were great. You could see the sparkle in his eyes when he talked about the lake and his families times there. He will be missed by his friends, family and community. Rest in peace Jim.
Posted by Babak Sani on 25th November 2018
Sofia lifted her head up from her phone and looked at me with sad eyes: "it's Lee ... Jim has passed away." My mind's eye immediately saw Jim walking over to welcome us on arrival, wearing Jim's smile and helping with unloading the truck; and Jim standing next to the rocks in front of the lodge, thumbs wrapped around suspenders, breathing as one with the lake and the mountains; and Jim sitting next to Gloria basking in the late afternoon sun outside their Angora home waiving as we walked by; and Jim coming over to help with loading up the truck, wearing Jim's smile and counting with his fingers: "your car keys, your wallet and your wedding ring?" Thank you Jim .... we will miss you.
Posted by Karen Ostrow on 25th November 2018
A Tahoe legend has passed on and will be sorely missed. Fortunately, there will be Hildingers at Angora to carry on the resort that he loved so much. My most recent memories are of hiking up to the lake and coming across Jim fixing something or other but always taking time out to chat (not for long, though). My thoughts are with Gloria, Eric and Judith --- what a history they share.
Posted by Mischel Twining on 23rd November 2018
Dear Gloria, Judith, Eric, Eric, Trish and Lee - Jim was a giver and I will remember him fondly. If I think of our neighborhood Echo View – I think of Jim. It is the little things - his white trucks with the funny horn, he always took the time to say hello, after a big snow storm checking in to see if all was ok, and his phone calls letting me know I left my car lights on. Of course ,I will always smile when I think of Jim getting out of bed in the middle of the night and coming down to our house to tie up Echo to a tree because of her night time barking. Classic Jim! Jim’s generous and determined character demonstrated to myself and others to stand up for our beliefs and principles and it is entirely ok not to back down. XOXOXOXOXO
Posted by Ken McNutt on 23rd November 2018
Brother-in-laws don't have much of a choice, but in this case, sister Gloria selected well. Sometimes, or always, brother-in-laws have some things to work out, drawn into a special family relationship. That was true in our case. Though a native Californian, living and working in New York City for over 35 years ("city slicker") may have added a special ingredient to the friendship journey. It's clear to me that those of you who added to these stories knew Jim pretty well. But the one story that sticks with me was the following: When my wife, Eileen died of cancer in 1979, I came west with my young daughters and took refuge for a brief time at Angora. One night at dusk, Jim instructed (yes, he could do that) me to get aboard his classic wooden row boat and go out to the deep. I did that, and soon the space all around me was filled with the appropriate music, issuing from the speakers he had placed so that the sound filled the basin and bounced off the cliffs. A memory I will not forget.
Posted by Lili Shaw on 22nd November 2018
Dear Gloria, Carla, Reed and I are thinking of you and hoping that you will find comfort in knowing that our prayers and thoughts are with you. Call me anytime you feel the need to talk. Love Lili, Carla and Reed
Posted by Tami Boudreau on 21st November 2018
I am ever so grateful for that day in February 2004 that I met Jim on the dock at Camp Richardson and he invited me to go sailing. I sailed with him every winter until he sold the boat. I have a couple thousand pictures over the past 14 years. I am every so grateful for Jim and the special times we had on the lake, in Emerald Bay for "lunch at noon" and for including me in the Hildinger family when I was in town over the winter. Thank you to Gloria, Eric and Judith for sharing Jim with me. I will post some pictures.
Posted by Joanne Bender Pipkin on 20th November 2018
Our thoughts are with all the Hildinger’s at this very sad time . As so many have said it was an honor to meet and learn from Jim. I truly believe that both our son’s deep love and respect for the wilderness and environment were influenced by conversations with Jim at the campfire, his beautiful photography and in many other ways. He definitely was no nonsense and always willing to help: with moving in and out, teaching how to use the old toilets, and in any emergency. We all feel fortunate to have known him over many years and send our deepest love and condolences to all of you.
Posted by Carol Crigler on 19th November 2018
Dear Gloria, Judith and Eric, and Eric, Trish and Lee, I will dearly miss Jim, and I’m so saddened that he will no longer bring his wise guidance and fine example to our confused and unruly world. Two Jim stories stand out in my mind: #1 was when I was a teenager, one of the few times my father managed to talk me into a trek up to Echo Peak. It probably took us a couple of hours to finally get to the top. Once there, we discovered that the flat ground was on fire! A small bit of smoldering and few flames, but obviously extending underground. We started yelling “fire!” to the folks down on the beach, who, not understanding, waved and cheered. But Jim got it, and I swear he was at the top about 10 minutes later, shovels in hand. We dug until we were sure the fire was out. Story #2: fast forward a few decades, and I started bringing my cello up (from New York, on a plane, along with my golden retriever) for several weeks of some uninterrupted practicing at our lower lake cabin. Jim brought a pianist friend from Reno up to visit so we could play trios in the lodge one night. With all the guests seated, Jim escorted Effie to her reserved seat of honor, and we then shared a gloriously beautiful night of music. I remember carrying my cello back down to our cabin, the pathway lit by the moonlight and stars. Sublime. Much love to you all, Carol (Gillis).
Posted by R McHugh on 20th November 2018
Jim Hildinger, Rest in peace. Our deep sympathy to Gloria and their whole family. We are so sad about Jim's passing, there was so much to treasure about Jim. We admire how he followed his creative passion photography, and we loved the magic of his slide shows in the Lodge. He was a tireless role model who showed us what a true conservationist is and taught us about the mountain. We remember the strains of 'Thus spake Zarathustra' spinning across the water as Jim played the music sometimes in the early morning. A quiet person with a big heart, humor, and an eye for beauty. We are forever grateful to him for sharing his family's place with us and protecting it for the world. From all the McHughs, Robin, Katie, Doug and Barbara and our families.
Posted by Diane Pedersen on 19th November 2018
It was off-season, late November, and I sat behind Jim on his snowmobile—a new blanket of snow, a full moon—and we were in the meadow on the road to the Angora lookout. “Take her for a spin,” he said. I was reluctant, but then coaxed into having one of the most exhilarating and memorable experiences of my life. I still think of speeding across the meadow in the snow every time I arrive at the rocky Angora road on the way to the lake. We rode, in tandem up to the lookout, and sat looking out over the stillness of the valley at night under the full moon. It didn’t seem cold, and time seemed to stop. This was an era before cell phones, and I had little clue as to how much danger we could have been in—although Gloria was back home, tending the hearth, and no doubt waiting to welcome us back with hot toddies. Our meditation ended, and we powered back down the mountain to the waiting truck at the Fallen Leaf turnoff. (Every summer I tell myself, “This is where we left the truck...”) The starter on the snowmobile (Or clutch, or first gear I don’t know which) wouldn’t engage. No way to lift that sucker into the truck. Perhaps two people had been too much for it. (What if the snowmobile had stopped at the lookout ridge?) With some rope, Jim tied the snowmobile behind the truck. He told me to get in the truck and start driving. (I’d never driven a truck before! In the snow!) I stepped on the gas. “Stop! Stop!” Jim was waving and yelling. I was pulling him behind me in a wild ride he wouldn’t ever forget. The snowmobile had started up and he drove it up into the truck. I will never forget the beauty of those moments on the ridge and the exhilaration of going full throttle in the meadow—the brush with the risky side of life. It was how Jim lived and his legacy to me forever. P.S. The only time I ever dumped a sailboat was Jim’s sunfish. After I stood on the board and got back up, everyone on the beach clapped… Memorable!
Posted by Barbara Seavey Grigsby on 19th November 2018
My morning meditations have been filled with memories of Jim and the Hildinger's. Our family met theirs in 1971 when we first moved to South Lake Tahoe. James and David went to Tahoe Parents Nursery School with Judith and Eric and for the next 20 years we were influenced by the values and beauty of Tahoe. Angora, skiing, sailing, hiking, photography, and music. Jim's exquisite touch on life will always be remembered and cherished as he was a romanticist and a perfectionist with an all consuming love of beauty. The world is a far better place because of Jim and his values and the wonderful family he leaves us. Thank you for sharing your life with us!
Posted by Robin Twining on 18th November 2018
Dear Gloria, Judith, and Eric, When the Twining’s think of the Hildinger’s we are reminded of the ways Jim has touched our lives. Rosmarie remembers lovely days sailing to Fannette Island and sharing a brandy. Robin’s fond memories include Jim complimenting her after a piano recital and the many sleepovers at Echo View and Angora. Wilbur remembers “Jim Dinger” for his profuse letters to the editor on environmental issues. He recalls days spent taking photos Jim with his Hasselblad and Will with his Mamiyaflex. Jim’s images always had a way of developing into sharper superior prints. Jim’s wonderful photographs hang in the living rooms at Stonehenge, Cascade and above Mischel’s fireplace. They remind us of his talent, inspiration and friendship. With Love, Wilbur, Rosmarie Mischel and Robin
Posted by Katherine Wood on 18th November 2018
Dear Angora Family - we were so sorry to hear of Jim's passing. We will sorely miss him showing us all up with his ability to handle enormous suitcases and coolers without breaking a sweat! He was truly the essence of Angora in so many ways. We are blessed to have known him. Much love from the Berksons - Steve, Katherine, Ted & Toby
Posted by Tricia Bland on 18th November 2018
Dear Gloria, Eric, Trish, Lee, Judith and Eric, Our hearts are ache with all of yours, for the passing of Jim. Angora has been our summer vacation home for the past 46 years. Our family has so many fond memories of Jim, from hugs upon arrival, marshmallow campfires, incredible slide shows to 4th of July potlucks and Jim requesting my cocktail rye-cheese-scallion squares. I feel so blessed to have purchased three of Jim’s black and white photos of Angora over 20 years ago. They have always hung in our bedroom and I have always cherished seeing our cabin every day. Now I feel like I have Jim with us as well. Our family is lifting up tours in prayer during this difficult time. We love you all. ❤️
Posted by Alice Grulich-Jones on 18th November 2018
After reading some of the tributes I feel like a newbie only having met Jim and Gloria 15 years ago. Yet my history in Tahoe goes back to 1978 and one of the first (and favorite) hikes I did was to Angora Resort. Jim. like the resort is such a huge part of Tahoe history and my history in Tahoe. Jim shared his family's history willingly and was always generous with his time. Gary and I enjoyed our visits with him and sailing and even getting him to occasionally come to our home for a social visit! We will miss this icon of Tahoe and dear friend and our love goes out to Gloria, Judith and Eric. Alice and Gary Jones
Posted by Janet Laurain on 18th November 2018
Heartfelt sympathies to Gloria, Judith, Eric, and the family. Jim was such an inspiration. Reading his obituary, I’m not surprised that he played a musical instrument or that he was an avid sailor. On meeting him, you could just feel that he was a part of landscape and the symphony of life around him. I remember my second trip to Angora Lakes. I was trying to open the cabin where the movies are shown and the books are stored. I was working on getting the key in the lock when I saw Jim walking toward me. Uh oh, busted at being a clueless guest. Jim asked if I needed help. As is my habit, I said no, even though I didn’t really know what I was doing wrong. He just calmly said there is a trick to it, told me to turn it a certain way, then left me at it, apparently knowing that I would figure it out, eventually. He will be sorely missed.
Posted by Marilyn Larkin on 17th November 2018
Dear Gloria, Judith, Eric and Families, It is with great sadness that we heard of Jim's passing. His spirit and stewardship is part of what makes Angora the precious place it is. Listening to his beloved Brahms as I write. With deepest sympathy, Marilyn L.
Posted by Kim Bondarenko on 17th November 2018
Our hearts go out to the entire Hildinger Family. May Jim's character and spirit live on in the hearts of his family and the many generations he inspired, and his presence remain in the beauty that is Angora and Lake Tahoe. Fondly, Alex, Kim, Alexis and Brooke
Posted by Kristine Metzker on 17th November 2018
Gloria, Judith, Eric, Eric, Trish, and Lee we are so sorry for your loss. Jim was such a great and gentle man, someone we looked forward to seeing on our visits to Angora. He's such an integral part of our memories there and he will always have a place in our hearts. Cherish your happy memories of him as you adjust to your loss. I sure hope he went through the checklist as he moved on to his next stop. We missed him this fall and it was also the first year we forgot something in the cabin! I know we will all miss seeing him in the coming years.
Posted by Jon Hosmer on 17th November 2018
Having moved from Lake Tahoe, the news of Jim's passing took awhile to arrive. I am sorry to learn of Jim leaving us and send hugs to Gloria, Eric, and Judy. Jim was a passionate man in many categories including photography, sailing, proprietorship and steward, resort host, carpentry, music, and probably more that I am not aware of. The Angora resort always was lovely to visit, saying, "Hello," to Jim and his family, and getting that freshly squeezed lemonade was always fun after the hike uphill to upper Angora Lake. Jim was recognized for his black and white photography, but deserved more applause for his imagery both for the final print and for the hiking with a 4X5 camera, and later, a Hasselblad, tripod, and other pieces of photo gear. Later Eric joined his Dad to help carry the equipment letting Jim find the perfect spot to set-up and wait for the light to be just right for him to acquire the image. Jim captured some great scenes of the Lake Tahoe area. Sailing in the winter was often a solo adventure, and I'm guessing that it was akin to standing on a mountain top enjoying the 360 degree view of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains, often topped with white snow. I feel fortunate for our conversations and mutual interests. Some people never find a passion; some are fortunate to have one, but Jim enjoyed many. I will remember and miss Jim Hildinger .
Posted by Gail Ervin on 17th November 2018
My heart goes out to you, Gloria, Judith, Eric and families - and all the many, many people Jim has touched through the years. I remember our long conversations about protecting the Lake and the Mountains that Jim so loved, and my almost 50 years of annual hugs which I dearly missed this year. He lives on in so many hearts, and in every facet of our beloved Angora.
Posted by Peter Meserve on 17th November 2018
Jim will always be with me as I sail across Angora. From the earliest days I knew him while a boy up at the lake in the 1950’s to just last summer when he gave me a book on the Ticonderoga yacht to look at, he symbolized sincerity and honesty as we shared out mutual love of sailing and photography. It will be hard not to see him up at the lake next year, but his spirit will live on with both of us. Perhaps our most memorable time was when he brought us up to Our House a week before the resort opened for our honeymoon in 1969. Surrounded by snow and ice reaching down to the lake near Frog and Elephant Rocks, we spent a memorable two weeks that will stay with us forever. Sail on Jim!
Posted by Dawn Armstrong on 16th November 2018
Flooding? Jim’s on your doorstep before you think to ask for help. Just home with a new hip? Jim’s already in your driveway with home medical equipment. Practical and no nonsense, still Jim had a twinkle in his eye and was ready for fun. I’ll remember and miss the holiday toasts, Angora potlucks, and caring generosity of Jim Hildinger. I extend my sympathy and love to all the family,
Posted by Richard Smiley on 16th November 2018
I am in my 31st year of teaching music and my primary inspiration for my career choice is Mr. Hildinger. I looked forward to every lesson, every rehearsal, and every concert. Several years ago I saw him coming out of the grocery store and I told him that I had become a music teacher and his response, with a wry smile, was "didn't I teach you anything?" He taught me that music matters and I can only hope that I have inspired as many kids as he did.
Posted by Robert Millar on 16th November 2018
Our family was so sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. Like the granite mountains that surround Angora, I guess we just all assumed he’d be around forever, an indispensable part of the place. When I think of Jim, I always think of granite, somehow. He could be tough and gritty like that. But in the early days of our yearly stays at Angora, I was lucky enough to be able to share making music with him, and that experience was a revelation. Under the friendly, often humorous, but always no-nonsense façade, I was to discover a musician of uncommon sensitivity, talent, and emotional depth. It was a privilege to play music with him and to get to know a little of the range of the man. This is a sad day for all of us. We’ll miss him greatly. We send our deepest sympathies to Gloria, Judith, Eric, and the rest of the family. To Jim, we can only say thanks for providing us with so many wonderful years and memories at Angora and wish him Godspeed in wherever his journey takes him next. Bob, Jeanne, Alex, and Peter Millar
Posted by Parry Annis on 16th November 2018
Jim you will be sadly missed and forever remembered. Every summer we would see you for my whole life. I saw you as a combination of the hardest working, most artistic, firmest fist and nicest man I have had the pleasure of knowing. I will think of you often and my mind will hear "Get that dog out of the lake on on a leash". You will be missed! I am blessed to have had the pleasure to know you. My heart goes out to your family.
Posted by Suzanne Stone on 16th November 2018
My favorite memory of Jim involves sailing and tea. As a group of us hiked down the Rubicon trail toward the end of the peninsula, we saw Jim's colorful sailboat, the Cadenza, enter Emerald Bay. To our surprise, he anchored on the beach just ahead of us and set up a table in the sand. With a flourish he produced linens and a China teapot, inviting us to join him. In my memory, there were chocolates and champagne too -- a beautiful winter day.
Posted by Lisa Yeager on 16th November 2018
I was introduced to Angora Lakes and the Hildinger family by a dear woman named Clarice, who had been a tutor for Jim and his brother one summer at Angora. She planted the seeds for an adventure and a few years later I experienced the magic of Angora and welcoming Hildinger family. This became a yearly tradition for a few years. I treasure the memories of being greeted by Jim and Eric for the ride in the truck to the cabin. Jim was always busy working on projects and always willing to stop to say hello. One my fondest memories is bringing my now 93 year old father from Virginia to Angora Lakes for a week. It was fun to see two gentlemen from that era interact. My most treasured memory is of Jim telling my then husband and I about taking his beloved Gloria for a spin out on the lake in the wooden boat, and then offering to let us take it out for a spin! Magical, beautiful place stewarded by Jim and family. Thank you for sharing this place with all of us and for sharing Jim with all of us. So many lives forever touched. Sending love to you all, Lisa Yeager, Bellingham WA (formerly Point Roberts WA)
Posted by Claude Shirts on 16th November 2018
Where do I start? I owe so much to Mr. Hildinger. Much more than he probably ever knew. I first met him probably before I remember either when he was involved with a Children's Theater production or up at Angora Lakes. My first strong memory of him however was when I decided to take music lessons while at Myers Elementary school. I am not sure which grade I started in but I'm guessing it was 3rd or 4th. I wanted to play the drums but for some reason it did not work out ( I don't remember why) and I wound up playing the Clarinet. By the time I finished 6th grade I was first chair Clarinet at Meyers and I had started my journey with learning music. I later took would learn to play the piano to an extent and would learn to play other woodwinds in Jr. High and High school including the oboe, alto sax and Eflat Clarinet in High school. Music for me was learning another language. One that was universal and crossed cultures and the artificial borders humans have created around our countries. I thought for many years I would be a musician when I grew up but I found later in life a different language that probably seems unrelated to many people. I work now as a sign language interpreter and have for most of my adult life. One time I had the opportunity to meet a very well known Deaf man who was the first Deaf president of Gallaudet University. He asked me how I became interested in learning sign language. I told him I was not sure really but then he asked me an unexpected question. Was I either a musician growing up or a dancer ? I said well yes I grew up learning music and also studied dance while in college. He told me that he had been involved in research about what made students of American Sign Language successful in becoming fluent in the language when they did not grow up with Deaf Parents or relatives. He said the overwhelming common thread they found was that students who either studied music or dance had a much higher success rate and aptitude for learning sign language. It made complete sense to me. As Jim was my first music teacher I have to thank him for my career as an American Sign Language interpreter. That is just one of the gifts he gave me, but I remember also as a very young kid going up to Angora Lake. There was one particular occasion when I was there and night was falling and he was playing the violin. The music enchanted me and I remember being taken in with the sound of the music and practically seeing it float across the lake and echo off the beautiful rocks and mountainside. As a teenager and adult and over and over during my life I have gone up to Angora with friends and family and every time I would go I would hear that violin in the back of my mind. I do believe that somehow on that first time I heard him I gained an appreciation of music in a way I can't explain but will forever remain part of me. That violin playing has always been present when I go to Angora. The Christmas before my father passed away my parents gave me a copy of Jim's book "Tahoe in Black and White" When I look at the book I see the many pictures of the place I still consider "home" above any other place on the planet. He managed to capture the Tahoe area in such a way that I although the pictures are black and white, the memories come back in vivid color, along with the sound of the wind in the trees, the motion of the waves in the water and the memory of "home". I am so grateful he was part of my life.
Posted by Mauricio Vazquez on 15th November 2018
We'll miss you, Jim. My fondest memories of you are talking about the history of Angora, and our mutual love of Trader Joe's pound plus dark chocolate with almonds. The kids loved buying a couple of big blocks, and how they looked forward to giving them to you on our annual trip to the lake. You had an epic life, and you are deeply connected to something very precious in Angora, and that will last forever. Love and prayers, Uncle Mojo
Posted by Ken Wagstaff on 15th November 2018
The Wagstaff family has known Jim Hildinger since our parents’ initial visit to Angora in 1946. They brought us along on return in ’47, and a Wagstaff contingent has visited Angora every year since. Recalling those early days, we can see Jim sitting on the back of the old Model T as his dad Bill drove it through the Lake shallows to the old beach cabin; later, among his duties at the Dining Room, Jim required us to check our “cowboy six-shooters” at the door. Over the years, as he helped transfer our vacation stuff from the truck to the cabin, his “Welcome back, Wagstaffs” marked the continuation of a deeply appreciated family tradition. Of course, no visit to Angora was complete without Jim’s commanding shout, “Get your dog out of the Lake!” We have have many Angora stories and memories that connect to Jim. We will always have them, along with several of his photographs, including the iconic view of the Angora Lakes taken from the ridge up to Echo Peak and the many images he preserved from around the Tahoe basin he loved. Angora will never be the same without Jim. We send our affection and condolences to the entire Hildinger Family. Ken Wagstaff
Posted by Willem Maas on 15th November 2018
Jim was an ardent and inspiring steward of Angora Resort and the land it occupies, and a welcoming proprietor. He ceded the parking lot hauls in the truck to Eric but not the welcome. He was almost always the first to greet us at the cabin and lend a hand with unloading the truck. I’ll miss him.
Posted by Karen Iyer on 15th November 2018
Angora will always be Jim. From the moment of arrival until the moment of departure, Jim, you have always been there sporting a warm smile, leaning out the window of the truck, reminding us not to forget our car keys, or just standing alongside us as together we marvelled at the magic of the mountainside. The Iyer family will miss you deeply, and we wish you blessings on your next adventure and peace/comfort to your family and friends.
Posted by Audrey Shirts on 15th November 2018
Gordon and I met Jim in 1959. Gordon and Jim were teachers in the school district and the three of us active in Children's Theater. My daughter, Paula, and, son, Claude were fortunate to study music with Jim when he taught at the elementary schools in the district. His amazing accomplishment of bringing the music students from all elementary schools together for a performance at the end of a school year is remembered by my family to this day. Jim was a very kind person. Many years ago, he drove down the dirt road from Angora Lake to the parking lot, more than once, to pick up my mother-in-law, Ida Shirts, who could not make the hike to the lake. One late afternoon she and our family were seated on the sand--the only people on the beach, when beautiful music filled the air. It was jim playing the violin. Ida was entranced and talked about that magic afternoon for years after. When our family first hiked to Angora Lake, Jim and his wife Gloria, his mother, and his brother Al and wife Flo were running the Angora Lake Resort. We returned year after year for lemonade with our picnic lunch, a rowboat ride on the lake and swimming. We brought many friends and family there as the years rolled by. I cannot imagine Angora or the Lake Tahoe area without him.
Posted by Carol Larsen on 15th November 2018
We were sad to learn of Jim's death. We remember all his hard work and constant motion up at Angora. In a simpler time, before the road was paved and the internet arose, a busy day at Angora was when the kids from Camp Concord came up. On a slower day Jim took the four of us on a hike to find Lost Lake. We certainly couldn't have done it without him! He showed us how to avoid stepping on any new plants. He had such respect for nature. We enjoyed many good political environmental discussions with Jim. He was passionate about the Tahoe Sierra. We also remember the story of his father's advice about keeping a job-- "Show up on time, bring your tools, and don't sass the boss". He liked a good laugh and we will miss him. Our hearts are with all the Hildingers.
Posted by Marjorie Larson Ormsby on 15th November 2018
What a legend for Tahoe Judith. I will ALWAYS cherish him for his persuasion for me to play the violin (and you, the cello, and Reese the bass violin). May he be playing multiple strings in heaven! Also remember his educational series of Tahoe and its challenges with progress. And of course, lemonade in Angora. He was and will always be everything Tahoe!
Posted by Janine Kirk on 15th November 2018
Such great memories are in my heart for Jim. He will be missed greatly as he was part of the "Angora experience". Personally I will always remember my families first stay in 1969, I was seven years old. I was so excited to see all the beautiful wildflowers and though it would be nice to pick a bunch and give them to Jim and Gloria. As all who know him can guess my gift was not well received. I got an earful about never picking the wildflowers and I have passed it along to friends and family ever since. Thankfully he did not hold it against me and always welcomed me with a warm hug. We used to comment that the dirt road then leading to the lake seemed to have more boulders then the prior year only to be greeted by Jim in the parking lot and being asked how we liked the new boulders.. Our thanks, thoughts and prayers go out to the whole Hildinger family in this time and we will always keep the candle lit in our hearts for Jim. He will be greatly missed.
Posted by Jackson Ludwig on 15th November 2018
I am very sad to hear about this. Jim was ingrained in my childhood memories of Angora. I remember him pulling up in his white pickup truck in the dusty pine filled air, me in the back as I bounced around eagerly listening to his and my mother's conversations through the back window. As I got older I admired him for his grit, his kindness, and his tireless efforts in keeping Angora a great place to be. Jim will be missed, but will stay alive in my memories the rest of my days. Sending love to you all.
Posted by Cindy Dopf on 15th November 2018
Mr. Hildinger taught me to play the flute at Tahoe Valley Elementary. He has inspired thousands with the gift of music. When I saw his picture, a flood of magical music memories came flooding back. Thank you for being patient, kind, and nurturing. You made a lasting impression on so many people.
Posted by Tim Griffin on 15th November 2018
Jim was my best friend an neighbor.I will miss him so much such a great an true.Friend he was we hanged out together at Angora.Resort had drank lemon-aid.We also had beers together at his house an talked about.Trains an Harley's was good having him a my neighbor.
Posted by Nancy Holzhauser on 15th November 2018
Dear Gloria, Judith, Eric, Eric, Trish, and Lee Jim has always been embedded in my heart. I knew him probably at least 60 years, he was so special to me. I don't know how old I was when I remember we were staying at the resort and Jim brought up this beautiful woman named Gloria, took her out on the sunfish and they just glowed---we were all rooting for him to marry her! That was probably my first real memory. Then they just pile up from there...his dedication to try to preserve the sanctity of Tahoe, and his strength in putting up with all the flack a vocal part of the community gave him---I remember him being a legend way back when I started working for the Forest Service in South Tahoe in 1976. His passion for gorgeous photographs, his energetic pursuit of beauty in nature, and also his energetic adoration of the mountains. The beauty of Tahoe = Jim Hildinger in my opinion. He has been a huge chapter of my life, almost all of it, and his passing takes a piece of me with it. But when we are up in the mountains I am sure we will hear him whispering "live your life to the fullest", he will always be there in that perfectly twisted juniper, that white snag against the cerulean blue sky, that perfect calm lake, those cliffs highlighted with a dusting of snow, that perfect reflection of the rock in the lake....I will feel him everywhere I look when I am out there. Love always, Nancy Holzhauser and Alan Work

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