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Jimmy Preston Hilton was born June 24, 1959 to JP “Pete” and Hester Hilton in Pampa, TX. In 1962 the family moved to Beaver, OK where they made their home. He attended Beaver Schools, helped his mother at the Sunset Cafe in Forgan, and began working in the oil field alongside his dad at age 13.
Jim graduated from Beaver High School in 1977 and attended Southeastern Oklahoma State University on a full football and track scholarship. During his first two years of college, Jim and Debbie Barby “dated long distance.” On July 20, 1979 Jim married his high school sweetheart and the love of his life.
Jim graduated from college in 1981 with a degree in secondary education, with plans to coach and teach history. However, an oil boom led to an opportunity to work as a mud engineer for Drilling Mud, Inc. in Ardmore and Thomas OK.
In 1983 Jim and Debbie returned to Beaver County and joined in the operation of the Bar -B ranch. With no experience in that field, Jim warmed to the challenge and learned to ride, farm, and manage ranch operations.
In 1984 Britt Preston was born. Dillon John arrived in 1988. During their early years in Beaver County Jim and Debbie worked on what they considered a “passion project”—the restoration of the 100-year-old headquarters house on the Bar -B Ranch, their home from 1995 to 2014.
In 2005 Jim ventured back into the oil field when he cofounded and managed BS&W Solutions, LLC, an oil reclamation company in Woodward, OK.
An “idea man,” entrepreneur and visionary, Jim saw a unique use for Apple iPad technology—a vision that quickly became a reality. Brainstorming his idea with Debbie, they focused their skills and time in developing Conquest RT, a revolutionary application enabling electronic ticketing for crude oil purchases—that was used by many oil field companies throughout the United States.
Jim and Debbie moved to Enid, OK in 2014 and continued improving Conquest RT until they sold the company to Wolfpak Software in 2018.
Friends and family misconstrued that sale as retirement. Not so! Jim loved to work. When asked what he was doing in retirement, he would reply: “I’m not retired, I’m just between gigs.”
Jim’s work went far beyond income-generating businesses. He was a tireless community leader and volunteer. Work with young people involved starting a youth flag football team and serving as a volunteer high school football coach from 2003-2007.
Jim served Baptists and his Lord in a variety of roles. At Beaver’s First Baptist Church, he taught youth and young married couples, served as a Sunday School Director and as chairman of the Finance Committee.
He served on the board of directors for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma and was a member of the Oil Patch Chaplain Advisory Board. Jim traveled to China with the East Meets West Business Forum combining mission and leadership opportunities. He helped start the Boots and Jeans Cowboy Ministry at First Baptist Church Beaver. This bible study ministered to countless agricultural related individuals. The Boots and Jeans Bible Ministry was developed through the bible study where a bible cover was designed and attached to bibles. There have been thousands of the Bible distributed all over the world from this group.
In 2017 when devastating wildfires swept across parts of Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas, Jim and Debbie organized and oversaw the Oklahoma Volunteer Camp efforts at Knowles, OK, which provided aid to numerous farmers and ranchers affected by the fires.
Jim had a larger than life personality. His talents, interests and joys were vast. He loved fishing, hunting and shooting clays. He loved entertaining—especially preparing and serving delicious food. He was quick to offer generous and frequent invitations.
Debbie, his sons, and their families were the light of his life. Always interested in his sons’ work, he frequently assisted them in their various tasks. He was a proud “Papa”—a doting grandfather to his four grandchildren.
Among many facets of his legacy: strong Christian values, and an unsurpassed work ethic. He instilled toughness, discipline and the importance of prioritizing family relationships. His presence will be missed but his impact will last a lifetime.
Jim was preceded in death by his brother Joe Pete, his father JP (Pete), and his mother, Hester.
Jim is survived by his wife of 41 years, Debbie Hilton; son Britt Hilton, his wife K’dawn, and their sons, Jax and Cal, of Gate OK; son Dillon Hilton, his wife Jordan, and their daughters, Harper and Leighton, of Beaver OK; brother and sister in-law Rodger and Marsha Hilton of Stillwater OK; sister and brother in-law Mary and Mike Cox, of Carlinville IL; father-in-law and mother-in-law Stanley and Junetta Barby, of Beaver OK; brother-in law Rodney Barby and his wife Robin, of Enid, OK; and cousin Jerry Hilton and wife Gracie of Arlington TX; plus numerous nephews, nieces, cousins and friends. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief at BGCO, Attn: Disaster Relief, 3800 N. May Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73112.
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