John Hittner went to Heaven on April 1, 2020. He had Parkinson’s and fluid in his lungs. After a week in the hospital with no improvement, he was sent home to hospice.
Born to Mildred and George Hittner on April 25, 1947 in Salt Lake City, John grew up loving trains where he was raised in Rawlins, Wyoming. He went to trade school to learn how to operate construction heavy equipment. He married, had a daughter, and moved to Southern California where he helped build a dam on the Grapevine.
They moved to student housing at Cal where he put his wife through law school. They later divorced, and John moved to Walnut Creek. John had an excellent reputation as a gifted blades man, getting the dirt level to 1/16”. He got a raise, company truck and was made a foreman, but he would rather drive a blade than manage the job and workers.
As a passionate rail fan, he snapped pictures of trains in motion and helped restore old trains. He met the love of his life, Marilyn Reeve of Pleasanton, in 1984 and was also the love of her life for 36 years. She provided him a big family of three stepdaughters, their husbands, and eight grandkids. They attended the weddings of her daughters and each birth of her grandkids. She and popular “Grandpa John” loved to babysit, attend all the grandkids’ athletic events, and take them on train rides all over the state.
John had a wry sense of humor and loved teasing Marilyn. She loved it and told him if he ever stopped, she’d be gone! He did stop, but she didn’t leave. She was with him until the end. John’s parents and brother Joe predeceased him. He is survived by his daughter Heather Hittner, granddaughters Elizabeth Bryant and Emma Marshall, nephew Cage, and sister-in-law Teresa Hittner.
He is mourned by Marilyn Reeve, stepdaughters Kris (Rob) Ruzich, Sandy (Peter) Goetz, Sue (Fabrizio) Balestri, step grandkids Bryan (Katie), Nikki, and Alyssa Ruzich; Trevor, Lauren, and Christian Goetz; Gianluca and Massimo Balestri. An outdoor celebration of life in John’s honor will be held at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 19 in a large backyard in Danville (vaccinations and masks required, light lunch served). Please RSVP to Marilyn at 925-462-3945. Those wishing to make a donation in John’s name, can do so at the charity of their choice, or to one of his favorites: Tunnel to Towers, Wounded Warriors Project or Feather River Railroad Museum.