Katherine Hilgeford

A truly beautiful woman down to her laugh and voice Katherine Hilgeford was a fun person. In talking she had a unique way of answering her own questions, ending each with a “No, yes or not.” An example would be: “Is she there? Yes?”

Katherine’s marriage to Fred Hilgeford and family life though some times trying were never dull. Raising sons who were like their father, she worried about them drinking and riding horses. She helped in running the businesses and many times took in boarders and did laundry to supplement their in come.

Katherine was always sewing and according to son, Lee, was an excellent cook. She could make soup from anything and made butter which had a sweet taste. Grocery butter could never be as good. Months before Christmas she would start on the Springerle cookies. She used a roll ing pin with carved out designs which left imprints on the dough. After they were baked she put them in a crock and stored them in the attic. Lee said they tasted somewhat like licorice.

Katherine never remembered her mother, Mary Berning Drees, who died when she was a baby. Her father, Michael Drees later married Mary Wilkins and the family grew to include many brothers and sisters. In 1938, at the young age of 57, Katherine died of cancer. Determined until her death, she traveled from town to town looking for a cure. Lee bought her a radio to ease her discomfort during her illness. She is buried at St. Martin’s Cemetery in Darke County, Ohio.


  • Lee J. Hilgeford, son
  • St. Martin’s Cemetery

Children and grandchildren always remember Alma Hilgeford’ s (Mammy’s) Flat Pancakes. When asked where she got the recipe she said it was Lee’s mother, Katherine’s recipe.