RIP: Charles Hillson, Crossing Guard

East Falls feels the loss of a friendly face on Ainslie Street. 

EastFallsLocal Mr Hillson post image

When school starts this September, the corner of Cresson and Calumet will be missing a helpful, friendly fixture who’s been watching over East Falls’ kids for decades. Long-time crossing guard “Meester Heelson” passed away earlier this month of unstated causes.

EastFallsLocal collage crossing guard

Mr. Hillson would chat up kids and grown-ups, both — he was in our direct route to Epicure for coffee every morning, and we grew to know him well. He was terrifically proud of his two houses on Ainslie (the first purchased for a song back in the day!), and of his family, of course: “My daughter the doctor says…” often prefaced an interesting tidbit of information we’d google later to find surprisingly cutting-edge.

Another piece of advice we’ll never forget from Mr. Hillson:  “Keep a small waistline to have a long lifeline.”  Mr. Hillson seemed his spry, sprightly self when we last saw him over the winter, we are surprised and saddened by his loss even at 90 years old.

RIP, Mr. Hillson. Cresson & Calumet will always be your corner to us.

(Full obituary at

HILLSON, CHARLES E., of East Falls. (Born Sadowski, Helmut A., in East Prussia, Germany on July 4, 1926.). Died July 14, 2016 at home. Survived by his wife Ingeborg; 5 children Carsten, Franklin, Gloria, Larry and Terry; 9 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. Retired from both the Phila. Navy Yard and the Phila. Crossing Guards.

Relatives and friends are invited to greet the family on Saturday, July 23rd 9:30 to 10:30 A.M. at the McILVAINE FUNERAL HOME, 3711 Midvale Ave., followed by a short service at 10:30 A.M. Interment private.

EastFallsLocal resize Mr Hillson crosses street kid waves calumet cresson txt

Thank you for your comments & memories of Mr. Hillson below and on Facebook.


  • Paul

    When I used to walk to PhilaU for work, he’d always greet me with a smile, and, if it were below 60 degrees, admonish me for not wearing a coat. Such a nice man and definitely a morning ritual to greet him. R.I.P.

  • Larry Benjamin

    Oh no. He was quite the character. We met him when we first moved here in 1999. He was good friends with our neighbor Bob. He held a special place in my heart because he always called me “YungGGGGHH Mann”

  • David McGruddy

    Mr. Hillson was such a nice man, back in my running days i used to Jog by that corner on my way home and he’d always shout out Sportsman!!! RIP Mr. Hillson!!!

  • Dené M.

    Such a bummer! My kids were asking about him toward the end of the school year. We made up all types of scenarios regarding his whereabouts. Now we know. We will miss his friendly face.

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