Sept. 25, 1950-March 11, 2019
Lee Shilts, owner of Hilt Construction, passed away unexpectedly on March 11, 2019. Born in Oakland, CA on September 25, 1950, Lee was the second of five children born to parents Harold Shilts and Sadie Joseph. Not sure of what to do after graduating from Sunset H.S. in Hayward, Lee joined the Navy and became a gunners mate aboard the U.S.S. Floyd B. Parks destroyer during the Vietnam war. After his 4 years of service, he returned to Hayward and attended Chabot College. He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Construction Management from Cal State Sacramento and went to work. In 1978 he started his own small, but highly successful, construction business. His projects took him throughout the greater Bay Area, but he mostly worked in the Tri-Valley. With his fine attention to detail and utmost professionalism, Lee brought beauty and enjoyment into the lives of his lucky customers.
Although his first marriage to Elaine Dexter was not successful, they maintained a unique friendship over the years. Together they raised their daughter, Elida, while Elaine worked as Lee’s bookkeeper. Lee was a devoted father and loyal cheerleader as he attended Elida’s various dance recitals and volleyball matches. From her elementary school days through Amador Valley H.S. and into her adulthood, Lee could be seen in the bleachers supporting her through victories and defeats. No one could ask for a better father. They recently shared a special trip to Disneyland for Elida’s 36th birthday.
Lee decided to give love another chance when he met Susan Klas (retired Pleasanton teacher) in 1993. He hung on for dear life as the two embarked on a wonderful life for the next 25+ years! They traveled the world and spent many happy times with the extended Klas family. Lee’s own family gatherings were always a special occasion, with annual picnics, camping trips and holiday celebrations. He loved unconditionally and was generous beyond measure. Besides work, Lee enjoyed cooking, baking, reading, and woodworking. Everyone looked forward to receiving his annual Christmas cookies. His woodworking projects of cutting boards, toy boxes, lamps, clocks, chairs, mirrors, etc., adorn the houses of his family and friends.
Lee leaves behind a long list of broken hearts. His wife of 20 years, Susan Klas, daughter, Elida Shilts, sisters Connie Hickerson of Ukiah, Karen (Stan) Silva of Reno, NV, Anita Wasoski of Sacramento, brother Greg (Anna) Shilts of Paradise and step-brother Bill (Karen) Dengler of Pleasanton being joined by a multitude of nieces, nephews, cousins, aunt, in-laws, and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Florence Shilts, Sadie and Dick Shannon and step-brother, Ray Dengler.