William ‘Red’ Hilburn

William ‘Red’ Hilburn entered his eternal rest January 16, 2020. Beloved husband of Carmen, who predeceased him, beloved father of Rus, Shaun, Kathy, Karen and Kelly, he will be dearly missed. Among his many talents were that of guitarist, fiddler, singer, woodworker, carpenter, tile layer and household repairman. Red was actively engaged in playing with bands as late as 3 years ago. He was employed at the Music Factory as salesman, music instructor and instrument repairman until recently forced to leave due to illness.
Red was born on his family’s farm in Pleasanton, TX, 1931. He served honorably in the U.S. Army. His rank upon discharge was SP4. Afterward, Red was employed as a musician, radio host and telecommunications specialist for a Corpus Christi TV station. Upon moving to Houston with his beloved bride, Carmen, the love of his life, Red found employment with NASA in their telecommunications division. He was part of the team who broadcast the first moon landing in 1969.
Not one to consider himself ‘too old’ to experience new adventures, Red took flying lessons, though he was well into his eighties. Learning to fly had always been a dream of his. He considered this a milestone in his life, for it brought him unspeakable joy and pleasure.
Red will always be remembered for his soft and gentle persona, his subtle wit and Texas wisdom. Though he is gone in body, his spirit will always live on in the memories and hearts of those who knew and loved him.


  1. Although I did not personally know Red, I feel like I did through the wonderful stories from his daughter Karen. My sincerest condolences to his family and friends. May the Angels wrap you in comfort.

    Kirsten (Kris) Wirth
  2. I am very sorry to hear of Red’s passing. He was a really good guy. My sincere condolences to Rus and the rest of his family. RIP

    Phil Hamm
  3. I’m deeply sorry for the loss of your dad. May God bless you during this time of loss. My prayers and condolences for you and your family karen thomas Philips.

    Teresa Cormier
  4. I was very honored to have Red play on my first record…He was working with Frank Preston at The Breezeway on the Gulf Freeway…He was a very good friend who I will miss dearly..Occasionally I would get to the Music Factory to see him…Although it has been awhile…I am so happy he is reunited with the love of his life Carmen…RIP Red!!…

    Penny Lea
  5. 🙏🏻It is with a heavy heart 💔 that tomorrow we will have my precious grandpa’s funeral Red Hilburn (my mom’s dad). Although he lived a very fulfilled life of 86 years, raised 5 incredible children, a heart of gold , Retired from NASA, US Army Veteran, and as a hobby he had so much musical talent, we have Supernatural Peace knowing that he’s not suffering. He is now with our Heavenly Father and with so many of my other family members who have also gained their angel wings, my dad, my grandma/Grancie, my cousin/Cory, my bff/Care-Bear & my fur baby Tuffy! Your Legacies live on and you will never be forgotten! I love you from the brightest star and back! Always & Forever in my heart! 💝👑🙏🏻 😇#heavengainedanangel2020 #wesaluteyou #weloveyougrandpa


    Autumn Jackson & Tim Jackson
  6. Dearest Karen and family,
    I will be thinking of you all tomorrow as you lay your dad to rest. What a wonderful life story he has. What a neat guy. I love his enthusiasm for living life. It’s great he went after learning to fly. I want to be like him when it comes to my attitude about life, that I’m never too old to experience new things and be a bit spontaneous.
    I know y’all already miss him so much. I believe I will always miss my parents. Even though it’s gotten easier, I still miss them. I take comfort though in the afterlife and and believe they are still alive like my God promises. I will see them again someday.
    Prayers are coming your way for your own rest and peace in your souls.
    My sincere condolences,
    Libby Bremer

    Libby Bremer
  7. Karen~ I am so sorry for your loss. Your Father was a Very Special Man! I know this because of how fondly you spoke of him & how Much he loved his Family & Music! ❤️
    Prayers to You & Your Family❤️
    I Love You ~ Georgia M 😘

    Georgia Miller
  8. Karen,
    I am so sorry for the loss of your father. I know you loved very much and took great care of him. It is hard to let go of those we love butt at least we have the comfort of knowing he will be in a special space and out of pain.
    I’m praying for you and your family.
    Lots of love
    Marcela Swanson

  9. We were saddened to hear about Reds passing. He became a friend to our family when our first granddaughter was born and Carmen became her caregiver in 1986.
    What a wonderful family. The Hilburn family remains in our hearts and prayers.
    We enjoyed dancing to Reds band in Galveston too.
    Judy and Mike

    Judy Hodges
  10. I spent so much of my childhood with Carmen and Red. I loved listening to him play the fiddle and he would always push us on the swing set in the back. Carmen and Red were like grandparents to myself and my siblings who all spent their preschool days at that house on Barcelona. We loved the many Christmas trees, western home decor and fiesta ware.

    I’m so sad he’s gone, but take solace in the fact that him and Carmen are dancing the days away in heaven. Much love to family during this difficult time.

    Katie Lamb (Berry)
  11. So sorry to hear about Red! He and Carmen took such great care of our four kids, and treated us like family! Love and prayers to all of his family!

    Jim and Karen Berry and children – Katie, Brittany, Jamie & Joseph

    Karen Berry
  12. Red and Carmen were both amazing people. Such a talented, loving, fun couple who spread their love from their own family to all the children they took under their care. Jim and I always said Carmen and Red were instrumental in raising our two boys from the time they were six weeks old until they started school. I can still remember after a tiresome day at work Red would always find the energy to push the little ones on the swing set in the back yard. With them yelling for him to go “higher Red higher”. Thank you to ALL the Hilburn children for sharing your parents with us.

    Jim, Diane, Jake and Cutter Runte

    Diane Runte
  13. I spent a lot of my childhood with Red and Carmen and I have nothing but amazing memories with them. They were such warm and comforting people, and Red will be greatly missed. Condolences to the entire family and I’m sending good thoughts to get you through this tough time. Thank you for sharing your parents with all of us who spent our childhoods there.

    Jamie Berry
  14. I am so sorry for the loss of Red in the fifties Red was a radio announcer on Pleasanton Texas KBOP. Myself Carolyn Harrison and Red became a singing duet. We became a regular part every Sat night on Kallisons Barn Dance on San Antonio TV WOAI. We were on the first color broadcast out of Sa Antonio. red did an interview with Elvis Presley backstage for the radio station. As members of the Musicians Union we got to meet every star that came to SA. I have some good pictures of all this if you would be interested. I am on Facebook as Carolyn Harrison Morris

    Carolyn Harrison Morris
  15. I just now see this and am saddened. I was Red and Carmen’s neighbor for years in Friendswood. I was crazy about Red, he was the sweetest man ever. He is one of my fondest memories! I know he is thrilled to his soul to be reunited with Carmen. My best to Rusty, Shaun, Kathy, Kelly, and Karen.

    Janet Meadows Kirklin

    Janet Kirklin

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