Francois ??Leon?? Hilton was born on February 6, 1927, in Barry County, Missouri to Lester and Faye Hilton. He died on Tuesday January 18, 2022, at the age of 94.

Leon went to school until eighth grade at Osa School, southeast of Aurora, Missouri, and graduated from Aurora High School with the class of 1945. Before the start of the summer of the same year, Leon enlisted in the United States Navy. He was an air crewman and served his country honorably until 1946. At the time of his release, he was an aviation machinist. Back home, Leon went to work for his father at Hilton Implement Co. in Monett. He later bought the business from his father and soon after opened the John Deere dealership in Monett. He and his wife operated the business until it was sold in 1976 to Thurston Pratt of Louisiana.

Leon was rescued to Monett’s Free Will Baptist Church in 1947. Leon was a member of Monett’s First Baptist Church for many years and later transferred his membership to Arnhart Baptist Church. Leon was also a member of the Masonic Lodge and the American Legion.

He married Gladys Thomas in 1948 and they had two children, Marilyn and Steven. On June 30, 1957, Leon was married to Norma Negre Planchon at the home of Leon’s parents, Reverend Lester and Mrs. Hilton, in Springfield, Mo. They were blessed to live over 62 years of marriage.

Leon and Norma owned a farm southeast of Monett and farmed that land until 2011 when they sold the farm and moved to town.

Survivors include his sons, Steve Hilton, of Monett and Robert Hilton and his wife Wilma, of Shell Knob, Mo.; his daughter Marilyn Hilton, of Monett; plus seven grandchildren, Pat Witt and his wife Theresa, of Ozark, Matt Hilton of Monett, Adam Hilton (Julia) of Chesterfield, Maggie Patterson (Clint) of Nacogdoches, Texas, Stephanie Montez (Nathan) of St. Charles and Ashley Hancock (Adam) of Tulsa, Okla., Heather Witt of Virginia; 20 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild; as well as a host of extended family and friends.

Leon was preceded in death by his parents; his wife Norma; and one sister, Doris Weston.

Mr Hilton’s funeral will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 26, 2022 at Buchanan Funeral Home with the Reverend Tony Martin officiating. Interment and military honors will follow at IOOF Cemetery, Monett.

Visitation will be from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home with Masonic rites beginning at 7:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions have been suggested to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in care of the funeral home. Arrangements are under the personal direction and care of Buchanan Funeral Home, Monett, Mo.

Paid obituary

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