Keith E. Hillsbery, 70, of Grays River, Wash., died Sunday, April 11, 2010, in Portland.

He was born Dec. 2, 1939, in Astoria, to Edward and Delores (Lawson) Hillsbery. His parents preceded him in death. His father was a commercial fisherman; his mother was a member of the Chinook Tribal Nation.

Raised on the banks of the Columbia River at Altoona, Wash., his father taught him essential fishing skills. Even as a youngster he pursued his family heritage on the water. 

He attended Naselle High School, where he enjoyed all sports, especially basketball, and graduated in 1959.

He married Kathy Hillsbery. She survives, residing in Grays River.

After high school, Mr. Hillsbery fished commercially on the Columbia River, Willapa Bay and in Alaska. His first fishing vessel was "Lady," and his second was the "Altoona Kid." During the off-season he was employed in the logging industry.

He was a proud member of the Chinook Tribal Nation and a former member of Long Beach Elks Lodge No. 1937.

Family members said he enjoyed hunting of all kinds, sport salmon and sturgeon fishing, and was famous for his smoked fish. He tied and mended nets for fellow fishermen and was very proud of his gardening and landscaping skills at his residence. 

In addition to his wife, he is survived by three sons, Keith "Skip" Hillsbery Jr. of Kansas City, Mo., Kevin Hillsbery of Chicago and Richard "Rickie" VanStane of Portland; a daughter, Heather Bilyeu of Moses Lake, Wash.; a brother, Ed Hillsbery of Rosburg, Wash.; eight grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and numerous other members of his extended family. 

He was preceded in death by three sisters.

A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, April 16 at Grays River Grange Cemetery. Pastor Rick Ballif of Valley Bible Church will officiate.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association, in care of Penttila's Chapel by The Sea, P.O. Box 417, Long Beach, WA 98631. 

An online guest book is available at (

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