Thanksgiving this year was special. We went down to LA and stayed with cousins Jenine and her husband Greg. It was a small and intimate dinner with much warmth and abundant hospitality, not to mention the most delicious dinner. Gregory reminisced about his early days as a lawyer; how he joined the Hilton Corporation as an assistant to Conrad Hilton.
He traveled around the world to negotiate Hilton contracts and established a corporate properties division that oversaw planning, financing and construction of Hilton projects. He later held other executive posts and in 1977 was elected to the corporation’s board of directors. He was named vice chairman and director emeritus in 1996; and in his retirement years worked with the Hilton Foundation.
He married my cousin over ten years ago and they lived together in Los Angeles devoted to their two dogs; just before Thanksgiving a woman, with a mixed breed hound in tow, knocked at their front door, declaring that she had heard of the Dillon’s reputation for taking in homeless dogs and of course they did not hesitate at the idea. By the time we got there for TG doggie #3 was firmly entrenched, jumping on beds and couches with the fervor of a dog with tenure.
Gregory’s dedication to the Hilton Hotel Group was insurmountable and I thought how fortunate the company was to have someone so dedicated and trustworthy, for so many decades, especially in this most extraordinary milieu of the so called ‘honorable’ turning out to be not so honorable (say I politely.) Undoubtedly his legacy will reflect not only his brilliance but his unwavering devotion.
Next week I will be going back to their LA home, but this time for Gregory’s funeral.
Greg, may you rest in peace- and my dear ‘Cuzzie Ninsky’ may you find your solace in knowing that no one could have ever been there more for their spouse than you. You had so much on your shoulders and you did such an extraordinary job taking care of Gregory’s every need. G-d Bless during this difficult time- yo cuz.
QUOTE “”His warmth and sincerity, and his irrepressible Irish charm, will long be remembered by our family, and by our extended hotel family around the world. He is an irreplaceable friend that I’ll sorely miss.” Barron Hilton
A rosary will be held at 5 p.m. Sunday at Gates, Kingsley & Gates Funeral Chapel, 1925 Arizona Ave. in Santa Monica. A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Monday at Saint Paul the Apostle Church, Ohio and Selby Avenues in Westwood. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to either Saint John’s Health Center Foundation, 1328 22nd St., Santa Monica, CA 90404-2091, or Las Floristas, Inc., c/o Maggie Simms, 10071 Valley Spring Lane, Toluca Lake, CA 91602.