US Navy

Dr Ronald Edward Hillenbrand


Dr. Ronald Edward Hillenbrand, CAPTAIN USN (Ret) 87, originally of Chicago, Illinois, passed away peacefully on March 8, 2022 near his home in Lake Oswego, Oregon.  

Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1934, Dr. Hillenbrand graduated from Loyola University (Chicago) Dental School in 1958.  He was Commissioned a Dental Officer in the United States Navy and served over 27 years, retiring as a CAPTAIN in Alameda, CA.  Dr. Hillenbrand completed specialty education and was board certified in Oral and Maxillofacial surgery.  While in the Navy Dr. Hillenbrand served on USS HANCOCK (CVS-19), USS YORKTOWN (CVS-10) and USS CORAL SEA (CV-43), completing numerous deployments to the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans.  Ashore, Dr. Hillenbrand served at Dental Clinics in Hawaii, Illinois and numerous locations in California where he improved the health of every sailor he met.   

While a resident of Alameda in his beloved San Francisco Bay area, Dr. Hillenbrand retired from the Navy and transitioned to private practice.  He led a successful practice for over 14 years with offices in Pinole and Lafayette, CA and was an active, respected leader among his colleagues in regional dental societies and professional associations.  He retired in 1999 eventually relocating to Oregon in 2006. 

Ron Hillenbrand was an avid sailor who truly enjoyed being on the ocean.  He enjoyed equally the challenge of sailing sloop rigged boats across the mouth of San Francisco Bay or the more relaxed comradery of sailing the British Virgin Islands with his extended family.  He was a skilled botanist who enjoyed the precision, creativity and patience required to master Bonsai.  He was in his element when he could share his knowledge and accomplishments with family and colleagues.    

In all his adventures Ron Hillenbrand partnered with his wife of 63 years, Elaine (Stefan) Hillenbrand, together they met every challenge of life and enjoyed a warm beautiful home, genial social events and memorable family gatherings.  They traveled the world together. 

Dr. Hillenbrand was active in the Catholic Church.  From Jesuit training in his early years to his last parish at Our Lady of the Lake in Lake Oswego, Oregon, he was aware, engaged and supportive.  He was a thoughtful Catholic.

Whether it was travel, hobbies, his profession or his extended family, Ron Hillenbrand was a consistent, optimistic, enthusiast.  He will be remembered for his dazzling smile, strong hands and steady, measured confidence.  JOHN 15:1 says, “I am the vine, you are the branches”.  For the family he was truly the Vine, and it was through him that we grew to be strong, independent, faith-filled and family centered.  To say he will be dearly missed is an understatement.

Ronald Hillenbrand is preceded in death by his parents: George and Mary (Traut) Hillenbrand and three of his four siblings: George, Denny and Nancy.  He is survived by his remaining sibling, Barry Hillenbrand, his wife Elaine and four children: sons Mark, Paul, John and daughter Jennifer (Biever).  He leaves behind 13 grandchildren: John, Blaire, Daniel, Emily, Sarah, Thomas, Steven, Brian, Danielle, Joseph, Abigail, Mary and Benjamin as well as five great grandchildren: William, John, Emma, Cara and Leah. 

 A private family memorial was held.  

Remembrances may be made to Bonsai Society of Portland: ( or Sisters of St Mary of Oregon: 

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Sisters of St Mary of Oregon
Portland OR

Bonsai Society of Portland
Portland OR

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