July 22, 1946 – March 21, 2020
Survived by his wife, Cindy, of 52 years, sons Jon and Andy,
daughter-in-law Melissa, and grandchildren Maya, Mathew, 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.