Paul W. Hilts


Last updated 2/22/2023 at 4:27pm | View PDF

Paul Hilts, 71, of Tucson, Ariz. passed away in Naperville on Feb. 13, 2023, after a brief and unexpected illness.

Paul grew up in Hinsdale and attended Hinsdale Central High School, where he served as an editor of the Courier, the school newspaper, and developed many of the skills that he would put to good use throughout his professional life.

During his high school years, Paul became an avid fan of the Chicago White Sox, and, true to his nature, dove in to learn the team's history in detail, collected memorabilia and gained knowledge permitting him to tell tales of the team's greatest players and recite facts dating back to the team's origins in 1900.

Paul attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where he earned a bachelor's in philosophy in 1973 before embarking on his career, a path that included several years on the editorial staff at Hearst Magazines Book Division; 10 years as managing editor for Omni Magazine, the science journal founded by Bob Guccione, in addition to serving as contributing editor to Omni Future Almanac. He followed that with another decade-long run as the manufacturing/technology editor at Publisher's Weekly, where he was a respected and recognized expert in e-books and digital publishing. Paul was frequently quoted in the trade press on topics related to the book publishing industry's first steps into the digital world. He contributed to reports and recommendations to the Library of Congress when it began strategic planning for digitizing its vital and enormous repository serving legislatures and the nation. Paul also served on the adjunct faculty of the University of Virginia's Publishing Institute.

Paul loved spending time with family and cherished telling stories and reading early 20th century fiction to his parents, siblings and other relatives at holiday gatherings.

A history buff who especially loved researching the U.S. Civil War, Paul spent much of his spare time as a re-enactor, often venturing out from his residence in New York City to fields in Pennsylvania to do battle. He was a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, where he delved into the arts, culture and combat of the Middle Ages in 16th century Europe. Paul relished doing the research many considered tedious in order to personally fabricate the most authentic battlefield armor he could - then wearing the uncomfortable woolen garb, chain mail mesh vests and heavy steel shields and helmets that weighed almost as much as he did.

He is survived by his wife, Sharon Berger; his siblings, Jeanne (Randy) Young, Michael (Jill) Hilts, Mark (Andrea) Hilts and Elizabeth Hilts Sanderson; his nine nieces and nephews; and his six great-nieces and -nephews.

He was preceded in death by his brother, Philip.

A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church, 306 W. Fourth St., Hinsdale.

Sullivan Funeral Home in Hinsdale handled the arrangements.


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