Marjorie Carol Ogsbury Hilton

Marjorie Carol Ogsbury Hilton

One word describes Marjorie Carol Ogsbury Hilton: “That word is love,” says her husband.

He knows because they were married for 67 years, their union ending only with her death on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. She was 88. She died at the Syracuse Home Association in Baldwinsville, New York. After spending most of their lives in Altamont, the Hiltons moved 10 years ago to Baldwinsville to be near their daughter.

“She spent her life loving people,” wrote her husband, Rev. James K. Hilton, in a tribute. “She loved her husband, she loved her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren.  That love just kept spreading all around her all through her life.

“Even after dementia came into her life, she still spread love around her.  She kept telling people, ‘I love you!’  And even strangers would reply, ‘I love you too.’ They could not help themselves, they could feel the love.”

Mrs. Hilton was born in Albany and raised in Altamont. She had one sibling, Jane, who was 12 years older than she. Her father, DeWitt Ogsbury, was an engineer for the state. “He designed a lot of bridges when the Thruway was put in, and later was in charge of waterways and canals,” said Rev. Hilton. “He was a great guy.”

Her mother, Elizabeth (née Schlieper) Ogsbury, was a talented musician. “She was an excellent pianist and organist and had three choirs at St. Luke’s Methodist Church in Albany,” said Rev. Hilton. “She was also a schizophrene. She heard voices. They would say terrible things. She would put on a refined accent to speak to them.”

Mrs. Hilton, growing up, had a “tough time” because of worry over her mother, said Rev. Hilton.

But, he went on, “She loved school and everybody always loved her...Our son said, ‘Mom didn’t have a mean bone in her body.’ That’s true.”

Both Rev. Hilton and Mrs. Hilton went to Altamont High School, from which she graduated before attending Syracuse University.  “She was three years younger than me,” he said. “When I left for the Army, she was 15 years old, just a kid.”

After he got back from serving in World War II, Rev. Hilton came home and discovered, “She was this beautiful 18-year-old senior about to graduate.”

Rev. Hilton vividly remembers the moment when he was first awestruck by this beautiful young woman. He was attending a church service in Altamont and she was singing in the choir. “She sang beautifully,” he said. She was a soprano and later became an alto. “I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.”

He can’t remember what the minister preached on that Sunday but he remembers every word he exchanged with the woman who would become his wife. She was dating his buddy, who brought her up to meet him. “I told him, ‘Don’t worry about Margie. I’ll take care of her.’”

After that, he would time his trips to retrieve mail for the hour she was walking home from Altamont High School. “I got up my guts to ask her on a date,” he recalled. She accepted.

He had no car so they rode the bus into Albany where they dined at Jack’s. “She ate everything on the plate, my kind of gal,” he said of her roast beef dinner. Then they held hands at the movies.

“We fell in love,” he said. “She was gorgeous and she stayed beautiful her whole life.” He last saw her the day before she died. “She was still beautiful,” he said.

She had an inner beauty, too, he said. “Everybody loved her.”  Rev. Hilton was first a parson in Central Bridge. Elderly women would call, using endless hours of his time. “She would answer the phone and talk with the old gals...If I wasn’t there and someone was troubled, they’d talk to her,” he said.

She kept up this supportive role throughout the many years that Rev. Hilton was the pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Altamont. At the same time, he said, she was a devoted mother. “She was very loving but didn’t take any crap from the kids,” he said. “She made it possible for me to be free to go and do what I had to do.”

Mrs. Hilton was also a talented painter, he said, taking lessons Saturday mornings at the parish hall.  He described with fondness some of the country scenes she had painted.

“I’m looking at a winter scene now with a big barn,” he said.

“Being her husband for 67 years, I had to know her better than anyone, and, believe me, knowing myself — if she could love me all that time, she could love anyone,” Rev. Hilton wrote in his tribute. “God must have put her in my life to test her capacity to love; she passed with flying colors.

“I guess this is not a typical obituary where you list all the amazing accomplishments of the person — this degree and that degree, this high position and that.  She was my wife and our children’s mother and content with that.  You want to know what she accomplished? Ask anyone who knew her.

“We were not mushy, gushy people but we always let each other know how much we loved each other.

“She was everything I ever wanted in a wife and lover.  I shall miss her terribly till we are together again on the other side.  Thank you, God, for my little Maggie.


Marjorie Carol Ogsbury Hilton is survived by her husband, Rev. James K. Hilton Sr., of Baldwinsville, New York; her son, James K. Hilton Jr. and his wife, Kim, of McDonald, Pennsylvania; her daughter, Lori Crawford and her husband, Doug, of Baldwinsville, New York; her six grandchildren — Kimberly Rubino and her husband, Andrew, Michael Cronin, Andrew Crawford and his wife, Alexa, Heather Crawford, Nicole Hilton, and Natalie Hilton; her five great-grandchildren — AJ and Sophia Rubino, and Owen, Wyatt, and Ethan Crawford; and several nieces and nephews.

Her daughter Susan Hilton died before her, as did her sister Jane Ogsbury.

Funeral services will be held in St. John’s Lutheran Church in Altamont at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. John’s Lutheran Church, 140 Maple Ave, Altamont, NY 12009.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer


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