A resident of Apache Junction for the past 21 years, Fred is survived by his wife Cindy, of 52 years, sons Jon and Andy, daughter-in-law Melissa, and grandchildren Maya, Matthew, and Abel.
The son of Swedish immigrants, Fred grew up in Geneva, Illinois. Diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at age 7, doctors initially told him that his life would be short and limited. Despite this,Fred poured himself into life, exploring the woods and waterways around Geneva, volunteering for the Civil Air Patrol in college, and later finding a particular passion and talent for business.
As a young professional, Fred knew that his health condition could someday limit his ability to provide for his growing family. To save for the future, he poured all his energy into his work, becoming a top store manager, year after year, for Goodyear Tire and Rubber company.
After 20 years with Goodyear, Fred decided to follow his own path. He started Uni-Print, Inc., a small printing and copy shop near Arizona State University. He and Cindy moved their family across the country to start a new life. His small shop was an outlet for his vision of how business should be done: face-to-face, honest, and fair. Building relationships with his customers, suppliers and other small business owners in the neighborhood, Fred nurtured Uni-Print into a company that rivaled national competitors. Willing to do every job in the shop – including cleaning the restroom – he was an example, a mentor and a father figure to many of his employees, some of whom remain friends with the Hillquist family after more than 25 years. His years running Uni-Print were the happiest of his life.
Due to medical complications, Fred and Cindy eventually chose to sell Uni-Print and commit themselves to his health care. Over the coming years, Fred experienced kidney failure, a major heart attack, a kidney transplant, and many other serious medical procedures and illnesses.
Throughout it all, he refused to let go. He faced pain, weakness and countless setbacks with the same courage and determination he showed in business, teaching those close to him powerful lessons about how to conduct our own lives with dignity, commitment, and hope.
Fred’s relentless commitment to providing for his family was reciprocated in the later years of his life, as his wife Cindy devoted herself to his care. They celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary shortly before he passed. His family will remember him as quick to laugh, stern in his convictions, uncompromising in his work and endlessly proud of his Swedish heritage. He was the bravest person we have ever known.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Apache Junction Paws and Claws Care Center.