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 Steve Hogle on 15th November 2018
Our condolences and love from Steve and Cindy Hogle goes out to Gloria, Judith & Eric M, Eric, Trish and Lee and all of the wonderful Hildinger family. So much has been said about the amazing life that Jim lived and shared with so many of us. My first memories as a youngster go back to the early 60s when the folks would take us to this amazing spot called Angora. Jim was just a young buck back then, but had such passion for the Lake and surroundings that even as young as I was, I remember feeling something special. I remembered the first time hiking Echo Peak with Jim, all I wanted to do was to keep up with him (good luck there) and be like him. So many good memories, maybe one day we can all meet and take a couple of days to share our most cherished moments we have been blessed with. Jim, you will be missed. We will continue to protect the wilderness and the environment in your honor. Love to all!
Posted by Michele Carter on 15th November 2018
Jim was a great mentor, neighbor and friend. I cherish my childhood memories with Jim taking me sailing, letting me stay at Angora Lakes. When we were outside playing or walking and when he drove by in his truck he would ring his bell instead of using a horn. He would get so mad at us kids sledding down the roads in the winter when he was trying to make a running start to get up the roads due to the ice and snow. We would have to hide on the other side of the snow berms until he drove by. He was a great violinist. He would have our family come to to his house and preform for us on his violin. How lucky I was to have Jim in my life.
Posted by Joby Cefalu on 15th November 2018
On behalf of the entire Cefalu Family our sincere Condolonces as Angora as well Lake Tahoe will never be the same. I always had the utmost respect and fondest memories. Many great teachers I admire few as much as Mr. Hilldinger, he inspired me to never give up. First the drum, then the Alto Sax, I was a horrible musician something I accepted but no matter what he always inspired me. Although I turned to athletics of which I was also not that good it was his inspiration that taught to never give up! A tradition I carried through my years of coaching. Both a gentlemen and a scholar, forever missed
Posted by Anthony LaPine on 14th November 2018
Pam and I extend our deepest condolences. In 1959 after a weekend water skiing on Fallenleaf Lake i saw a sign that said Angora Lake Road. That lead to a parking lot with a glass enclosed show case with pictures of Angora Lake Resort (It is still in the garage there). That was the beginning of the Jim journey. Got married and three children later I called Angora and got on the famous waiting list. Soon Effie, Jim, and Gloria became part of my extended family. I remember when my 7 year old daughter broke her arm and Jim and I raced down the "old dirt" road to the hospital in the middle of the night. Jim and his mother Effie will always be in my heart and in the very fabric of Angora. His loss leaves a huge hole in the hearts of those that knew him but his legacy will live on for generations to come. We all should be so lucky.
Posted by Candida Gillis on 14th November 2018
I’ve known Jim almost every summer since I was a year old--that’s 74 years—so I have lots of memories: his waiting tables for Effie’s Sunday dinners of roast lamb with homemade mint sauce; his slide shows of Europe when he came back from the service (wearing a beret); his racing up the peak with Al to look for a lost hiker. I remember Jim playing the violin in the lodge accompanied by my father on the piano, and crying because the music was so beautiful and sad. I remember Jim and Al excavating the pond with a Cat, and I remember the many times I clung to the sides of the Green Mule or Blue Goose while Jim bounced us fast as he could up and down the road from the meadow. I remember Jim as the ultimate steward of the Angora Lakes--whether he was simply raking the beach or watering down dust behind the store, or in constant motion with a tool belt. I can’t count the times Jim gave me advice on how to fix this or that and how to be a good maintainer of our lower lake cabin. Once in late October after a bear ripped off siding and made a mess of our cabin, Jim hauled out trash, secured the place for winter, and even had the high school shop class mill boards to replace the originals no longer manufactured. Wow. Jim was my link to Angora’s history. He filled my memory’s spaces with recollections of the lower lake’s past on multiple occasions over a gin and tonic or lemonade. I will always be grateful for the history of the resort he put into writing, and for his love of the area he put into his enduring photographs. And I will miss Jim every summer—his wry humor, his straight-shooting conversation, his so-obvious love of all Angora. My heartfelt condolences to everyone in his immediate family, everyone in his extended summer family, and to the mountains he loved.
Posted by Louise Brandt on 14th November 2018
We are holding all of you close in our thoughts and prayers. So sorry to hear this news. We will miss his warm welcoming hugs and wry sense of humor. I remember the day we stumbled upon Upper Angora Lake. We brought a picnic, but locked all of our valuables in the car, not knowing there were boats to rent. Jim & Gloria were so gracious and let us use a rowboat, saying "Send us the money when you get home." Jim was driving out when we started walking down and offered us a ride. I admit I was a bit intimidated by this gruff fellow but recognized the best of his generation in him, and respected his get the job done attitude that didn't put up with foolishness. I am grateful that I got to know him a little better each year when we started renting Red Fir. The last time we left he ran down the list of the things people always forget... Cell charger? Got it. Other cell charger? Got it. Shoes under the bed? Got it. Suitcase stashed on shelf? Got it. We were feeling pretty smug... Ice cream in the freezer? Oh yeah! Our ice cream bars! He was tickled that he got one on us, and so we're we. Love, Louise & Roger
Posted by Sheri Freyre on 14th November 2018
Jim was a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My parents are dear friends with Gloria and Jim and we spent many summer days at Angora enjoying the magic that it brings. I had my first job with Gloria and Jim helping with the cabins and in the store when I was 14. I get to bring my children to this magical place now, but it will not be the same without him. Jim was an extraordinary man of great character and was loved by our family. I always respected and admired him and will always remember his kindness and strength.
Posted by Paula Foley on 14th November 2018
My earliest memories of the Hildingers are very dim but from when I was very young and Jim was the bachelor (I was fascinated by that word) who lived a couple of blocks away on Ormsby, and he had a brother named Al who I assumed Al Tahoe was named after. Of course they were both teachers because wasn't everyone? Later on I was very lucky to be in the 6th grade at Meyers in 1968-69 when Jim began teaching music at the elementary school level. It felt like it was something pretty special to be in the band that year. I don't know what he did to make it that way, but it's an experience I've always cherished. We gave a combined spring concert with one or two of the other schools in the little theater at the High School and that was a high point of my elementary school years. We worked really hard at it and had fun doing it and afterwards we felt good about ourselves and the job we did. What could be better than that? My deepest sympathies to all of the Hildinger family during this time of such great loss. ~ Paula Shirts
Posted by Peggy Fishman on 14th November 2018
Jim Hildinger became a part of my life when I chose the clarinet to play in 3rd grade at Tahoe Valley Elementary school. He was a stern, yet gentle man who obviously loved music and wanted to share it with us. I was a terrible music student, but the lack of talent or interest by his students did not diminish his passion or diligence. Many years later, I reconnected with Jim and met his lovely family when I hiked to Angora with a friend who knew him well. We signed up for the cabin wait list that year and were lucky enough to get in the following year. One of my fondest memories is of our third year at Angora. It started snowing while we were in the truck on the way up from the parking lot. It was the first time my children had ever seen snow falling. It snowed hard for 3 days straight. On day two, Jim & Gloria went down to town and brought back saucers and sleds and hats and gloves. Jim took the large group of kids staying that week down the road a bit to a place he had determined was a great sledding hill and handed out the goodies. The children came back to the cabins exhausted and wet and hungry - with the biggest smiles on their faces I’ve ever seen. It was a sweet slice of what my childhood was like, given as a gift to my children by a very kind and generous man and his kind and generous wife. I have so many wonderful memories of Jim through the many years of spending one week of my summer in the heaven of Angora. I will cherish each and every one. I will miss you dearly Jim.
Posted by Diane Norrby on 14th November 2018
My heart ached to read about Jims death. Jim represented all of the things that are good and right about our World. His foot print is large. He will be dearly missed. My fondest memories are when we arrived at Angora with way too much worldly belongings. We were always so nervous that Jim would give us a bad time. He did not do this, but privately, I am sure he had other thoughts. There are many special memories, I thank him for being a part of our life..
Posted by Steve Triano on 14th November 2018
So sorry to hear this news. He was such a great man. Gave me my first shot at playing multiple instruments. I still play today with what he taught me. For years I would head up to Angora & would always look for him to say hello. I'll definitely miss him.
Posted by K H on 14th November 2018
Condolences to all of the family. From my earliest memories as a child, Jim and the rest of the Hildingers were like a second family. Charades in the living room of the house in Echo View. Days at Angora, followed by dinner, and a late night ride down the hill in the back of the white Chevy Pickup. Walks up to the lake for lemonade and a tuna sandwich...and a row around the lake after. Sailing (I must have done OK because I was invited more than once!) on Lake Tahoe...but never in Summer. But it was the late Springs for a couple years in college when I was honored to be given the task of pre-opening caretaker at the resort for a couple of weeks...readying cabins and chopping firewood - Jim had it down to a science and all he asked is that I do it his way...tops down!! It’s many years ago, and many miles away, but I recall those times vividly. His presence in, and impact on, my life is treasured and cherished. He is missed, but well-remembered!
Posted by Joel Goldes on 14th November 2018
My fondest memory of Jim. The first time I stayed at Angora as an adult with my family, Jim let me take the Sunfish out for a sail. This is the same boat on which Judith taught me to sail, when we were about 15 years old. The original sail had just been replaced and Jim sternly warned me, “Don’t dip that sail in the water when you come back in“. I set sail with not a little trepidation. It was a perfect day, just after a thunderstorm had passed, so there were small whitecaps on the lake and the boat heeled over several times. I managed to hold it upright, with my feet in the cockpit, hanging out over the water, as Judith had taught me. Truly the best day’s sail I’d ever had. On my way back in, with Jim watching from the granite sand ramp down to the beach, I very nervously did my best to carefully drop the sail in substantial winds blowing me toward the mooring. I managed to keep the sail out of the water, and I looked up to Jim, who had a stern look on his face. In an instant (I’m laughing as I write this) he broke into a huge grin from ear to ear and gave me two thumbs up. When he inscribed his book for me a couple of years later, he wrote, “Keep sailing!” Rest In Peace, Jim. A life well lived.
Posted by Patrick Van Lieshout on 14th November 2018
Jim will never be forgotten.
Posted by Leanne Vollger on 14th November 2018
My family (the Wolf family) started going to Angora regularly when my brother and I were about 8 years old. Judith and Eric quickly became two of our favorite friends, and spending time with them was the highlight of our summers. I must admit, however, that my brother and I were, well, a bit terrified of “Mr. Hildinger.” It took a couple of years of maturing for us to begin to appreciate the loving person beneath the strong, tough surface. Jim has given me advice and helped my family many times over the years. There is one event that stands out in my mind. When I was a young teenager, too shy to talk to anyone, and harboring plenty of self-doubts, Jim came over to me and told me the kindest, most encouraging words. They were simple words, but with great impact. Those words were truly a gift to me. I carry that memory, those words, in my heart. At times of difficulty, I “unwrap Jim’s gift” and relive the memory. It always helps me to get a better perspective and allows me to carry on with a feeling of love in my heart.
Posted by Trisha Kett on 14th November 2018
Jim was a wonderful person, a true 'mountain' man and an environmentalist as well. He always made us feel welcomed to share his gorgeous Angora Lakes Resort. We have so many good memories of riding with him in his white Chevy truck up the winding sandy road to the upper lake. Our sincere condolences to you all. --Brandon and Trisha Kett
Posted by Alison Lord on 14th November 2018
Our family has so many fond memories of Jim from our summers at Angora… the warm hug he gave when greeting us in the parking lot, his amazing slide shows in the lodge, the music. I am thankful I got to see Jim during recent visits to Angora, and that his memory lives on in his family, his photos, and the places he helped preserve. I will always think of Jim anytime I see Keep Tahoe Blue sticker. My love and condolences to Gloria, Judith, Eric, and the whole family.
Posted by Denise Newman on 14th November 2018
My condolences to you all for the loss of your husband , father, father-in-law, & grandfather. Did not have the pleasure of knowing this remarkable man, having only just recently been fortunate to visit Angora, but enjoyed reading about what looks like a life well spent that impacted others! Hoping you all find comfort in the memories of both your own and here shared.
Posted by Doug Lord on 14th November 2018
One of the happiest days of the Summer for many, many years was when we would arrive at the parking lot to be met by Jim and be taken up to Angora. Jim would fill us in on the year’s stories, let us off at New House and we would begin a magical two weeks. My favorite Jim stories are when, after dinner Margaritas, Jim would put a couple of big speakers out in front of their cabin and play classical music out over the lake. Also, when he would call out “Get you dog out of the water”. Then I knew we were in safe hands. Our love and condolences to Gloria, Eric, Judith and the whole family.
Posted by Bridget Parsh on 14th November 2018
On our first trip to Angora, Jim gave us a tour of the library. Imagine he spent a whole winter at the Resort with his family! A true adventurer and environmentalist. Much love to all the Hildingers during this time.
Posted by Claudia Boulton on 14th November 2018
​I first met Jim when I was about 5 or 6 (when was it, Ken Wagstaff? we discovered that we first went to Angora the same year). In those first years, Jim taught me to row a boat and his brother Al thrilled me by allowing me to help set the tables in the Dining Room (later Jim and Gloria's House). When I rediscovered this treasure of a place in the 1970s, I asked the person who answered the phone(must have been Effie) whether she remembered the white-haired German lady with 3 little kids wearing miniature back packs and hiking to the peak with pebbles under our tongues, so we wouldn't get too thirsty. She replied "Oh, of course, we remember you!" The kids were our cousin Rick Dietz, my brother Bob Dietz and myself. After a couple of years on the waiting list, we achieved the third week of July as a treasured reservation. I think the only year I've missed was 2014 when my first grandchild was born in the middle of "our week." During all those years since, Jim was a constant - a gruff but loving guardian of this little piece of Paradise. "Get your dog out of the lake!" he'd holler, but he was all smiles to greet our return each year. He was ''johnny-on-the-spot" when the inevitable accidents happened to the cliff jumpers. I hope that Jim is sitting on a bench somewhere with John Muir, discussing their efforts to preserve the beauty and health of the Sierras, Lake Tahoe and, especially, Angora.
Posted by Richard Crone on 14th November 2018
Judith & Eric M, Eric, Trish and Lee and Gloria, Our prayers go out to you and the family. A truly great man and hardworking role model that filled all of our hearts with joy, purpose and peaceful mindfulness. We will forever miss him and carry his spirit and spunk in the makeup of our own character, that he indeed help to shape by sharing his life with us and the heavenly treasure we all cherish at Angora Lakes Resort. May he rest in peace. Love Richard, Heidi, Christina and Kenny
Posted by Jacob Bricca on 14th November 2018
Oh my gosh, I am so sad to hear this news. It will be very strange to head to Angora next year and not see Jim. His toothy grin and hearty chuckle is something I remember well from my childhood, and will always treasure into the future. I so respected his decisions about how to run Angora; it was and remains a place of simple, delicate, extraordinary pleasures. I am proud that I own a book of his photography, and I and my family send our most heartfelt wishes to his family.
Posted by Melissa Hendricks on 14th November 2018
The Spittler and Hendricks families are so sad to hear of Jim's passing. He lived life to the fullest and was a fierce advocate for the Angora area. I have many memories of riding up the hill in the back of his truck to our cabin, and hearing his voice coming by the cabin just to check on things. He will be missed...we are so glad that his family continues the Angora Lakes Resort legacy. Much love to the Hildinger family!
Posted by ALAN MILLER on 14th November 2018
I was blessed to see Jim the week before he died. He spoke of gratitude for all he had experienced in life, "No complaints, no complaints," he said. If I had seen him again I would have reminisced with him about a story he told me a long time ago. He said as a young man he and his friends used to like to drive down to Death Valley to camp. On one trip he and his friends had stopped their car for a train. After it passed they began to move and stopped abruptly again inches short of another train, previously unseen, passing at high speed on a second, parallel track. That train almost claimed him that day long, long ago. How fortunate for all of us he only went to camp and walk through the Valley of Death, not to stay; that was not his time or way to go. Let us honor that this was his time to go and his passing was in peace with family all around. How could it be better than that? In loving memory, Alan
Posted by Lynn Harriman on 13th November 2018
When I graduated from college and was waiting for my certification exam scores, I was at loose ends and so Jim took me hiking and photographing all around that autumn. He gave me sound advise and he always had a smile and a kind word. He gave me my best friend, Judith. Tahoe doesn't yet realize what we have lost. I'll miss his letters to the editor. Thank goodness for memories and the photographs. Jim will always be in my heart, a lifetime of knowing him, he is part of my "fabric". Be at peace now.

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