Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016 | 12:05 p.m.
Eric Michael Hilton, vice chairman emeritus of Hilton Hotels Corp. and founder of Three Square Food Bank, died this morning at his home in Las Vegas, according to his nephew Anders Hansen.
He was 83.
The youngest son of Hilton Hotels founder, Conrad Hilton, and his wife, Mary Adelaide Barron, Eric Hilton was born on July 1, 1933, in Dallas.
He began his career in 1949 and worked his way up in the company, retiring in 1997 as vice chairman emeritus. Before his election to vice chairman in 1993, Hilton served as executive vice president and as a director of Hilton Hotels Corp., as well as president of Conrad International Hotels.
Hilton and his wife, Bibi, lived in Hong Kong and Houston among other cities before settling permanently in Las Vegas in 2013.
“I’m just an ordinary man with a rich man’s name,” he often said to describe himself.
Eric Hilton carried forth the philanthropic legacy of his father by serving as a director for the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. He previously served on the seven-member international jury that selects the recipient of the annual $1.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize and as chairman of the board of the BEST Foundation for a Drug-Free Tomorrow. He also served as a director of the Little League Foundation of America for almost 45 years.
In 2007, with the support of his wife, Hilton founded Three Square Food Bank in Las Vegas which quickly has become a national model for hunger relief.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Mr. Hilton, who was not only an instrumental part of our organization's success, but a true friend, mentor and inspiration to our team members, partners and the community," said Brian Burton, president and CEO of Three Square Food Bank. “The conviction that he constantly demonstrated in helping others will endure and live on as we continue to carry out our mission of feeding hungry people. He will never be forgotten, and our hearts and prayers go out to all who loved him."
Burton said Hilton played a fundamental role in the organization’s daily operations and to ensure its mission to feed the hungry.
"Mr. Hilton was a man of integrity, wisdom and character and always lit up the room with his presence," Burton said. "His passion and commitment in feeding those less fortunate is instilled in everything we do at Three Square and he will be deeply missed."
He was also the founder of Nevada Medical Center, a nonprofit organization modeled after the Houston Medical Center.
He leaves behind a legacy of education in the hospitality industry through the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston, which was founded after a recommendation made by to his father in 1969.
Hilton received numerous awards, including the Alumni President's Award and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University of Houston, as well as the American Vocational Associatioon Award of Merit.
He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Bibi; his older brother Barron Hilton; four children; two stepchildren; and 11 grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, Mrs. Hilton encourages donations to be made to Three Square Food Bank (www.threesquare.org) in her husband’s honor. A celebration of his life will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, at Three Square, 4220 N. Pecos Road, in Las Vegas