Tombstone Tuesday–Louise W. Hileman

Louise W. Hileman, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

Louise W. Hileman, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Louise W. Hileman, located in row 6 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:


According to Zion Chatt’s records, Louisa Wilhelmina Becher was born in Mercer County, Ohio, on 11 May 1904, the daughter of Johann F. and Friedericke (Mamber) Becher. She was baptized 12 June 1904, with Louisa Laesch and Wilhelmina Volz as sponsors. Louise was confirmed at Zion Chatt on 27 May 1917 by Rev. W.F.H. Heuer. Her confirmation verse was Ephesians 4:5.

Zion Lutheran Chatt 1917 Confirmation Class. Louise Becher: front row, middle. [1]

Zion Lutheran Chatt 1917 Confirmation Class. Louise Becher: front row, middle. [1]

Louise Becher married Orville L. Hileman on 4 October 1922 at Zion. He was 21 years old and from Van Wert County. She was 18 years of age and from Mercer County. Witnesses to the marriage were Walter Becher and Alma Wall. Orville and Louise lived in or near Ohio City after their marriage.

On 8 September 1924 Louise and her brother Walter Becher were sponsors at the baptism of their niece Wilma Grace Becher, daughter of Albert and Mary (Meriman) [Merinar] Becher.

Louise died in Van Wert County on 23 January 1926 at the age of 21 years, 8 months and 12 days. According to the church records she died of blood poisoning, but according to her death certificate she died of postpartum eclampsia the day after the birth her daughter Helen Jean. [2] Louise was buried on 26 January, the same day her baby daughter Helen Jean was baptized. Survivors included her parents, her husband, her one day old daughter, and six brothers. The funeral was conducted by Rev. Jacob E. Albrecht. Helen Jean was raised by her grandmother Friedericke (Mamber) Becher.

Louise Hileman death certificate, Van Wert, Ohio. 1926.

Louise Hileman death certificate, Van Wert, Ohio. 1926.

Back in the early decades of 1900 Zion had a pump organ and someone would have to run the bellows to make the organ work. That job usually fell to young boys from the congregation. The access opening to the bellows was small and it was easier for a young person to squeeze through it. Louise (Becher) Hileman used to play the organ for services at Zion and her brothers would pump the bellows for her. One Sunday she tried to play the organ after the sermon but no sound came out because her brother had fallen asleep by the bellows.


[1] 1917 Zion Lutheran Chattanooga confirmation photo, left to right. Front: Luetta Baker, Lucile Becher, ?, Louise Becher, ?, Matilda Becher, Anna Ruth McGough. Middle: Clarence Kuhn, Walter Becher, ?, Charles Andrews. Back: ?, ?, Rev. Heuer, ?, Vera Heffner. Others in class, unidentified in photo: Frieda Louisa Hoehammer, Harold Roman Bender, Ralph Huffman, Lee Kuhn, Florence Kuhn, Clara Linn.

[2] “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 08 Apr 2013), Louise Whilime Hileman, 23 January 1926; citing Willshire Twp., Van Wert, Ohio, Regis. Dist. no. 1297, Primary Regis. Dist. no. 5993, File no. 79,



Skip to comment form

  1. The one powerful fact that emerges over and over from these family histories is that childbirth was a deadly and dreadful risk to the women of ages past. While most of the tragic losses would appear easily prevented today, the record carved in tombstones across this land and most of the world reveals that almost no family was untouched by this devastation. While two of my own great grandfathers appear to have lost their first wives, the real human toll is not adequately understood or revealed from the record.

    1. You are right. Back then childbirth could be deadly when things went wrong. They just did not have the knowledge or the skills to deal with those problems when they arose. We are more fortunate today in that respect.

    • Phyllis Goodwin Brockmyer on May 19, 2013 at 10:43 pm
    • Reply

    Did Orville Hileman Sr., marry two Louise’s? Was Helen Jean White a half-sister to Orville (Sonny) and Waldo? I’m discussing this with a friend who’s mother was a Hileman and related. Thank you. I enjoy your blog.

    1. Yes, Helen Jean’s half brothers were Orville Jr and Waldo. I am not sure who her father Orville remarried, but I can find out and get back with you.

    • Patricia Collins on June 1, 2013 at 9:58 pm
    • Reply

    Just a quick note – Wilma Grace Becher is my mother. My grandmother’s maiden name is spelled Merinar rather than “Meriman” as is listed in the text above. Her grandchildren called her “Nanny”. I lived with her and “Papa” for a year when they were in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

    I have Mom’s Certificate of Baptism with signatures of her Uncle Walt and Aunt Louise. Her mother’s maiden name on the certificate is spelled Marinar rather than Merinar.

    Thanks so much for providing the information of Louise!

    1. Thank you for the correction and for the information. Our church records have her name spelled incorrectly but I have inserted the correct spelling in the blog post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.