Sir Edmund Percival Hillary

Auckland, Auckland Council, Auckland, New Zealand
Death 11 Jan 2008 (aged 88)
Auckland, Auckland Council, Auckland, New Zealand
Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea, Specifically: Ashes scattered in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand
Memorial ID 23893466 · View Source
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Mountaineer. Born in Tuakau, near Auckland, New Zealand, the son of Percival Augustus Hillary a commercial beekeeper, and Gertrude Clark Hillary, a school teacher. He became enamored of climbing at 16 after climbing New Zealand's 9,175 foot Mount Ruapehu. He served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force as a navigator during World War II. he resumed climbing after the war, studying under leading alpinists and specialized in ice-climbing techniques. In 1950, he climbed in the Swiss Alps. Veteran climber, Sir Eric Shipton, invited him on an expedition to reconnoiter the south face of Mount Everest in1951. In 1953 he was named to the approved British attempt to scale Everest, which in addition to climbers included 362 porters and 20 Sherpa guides. After a base camp was established in March 1953 Hillary and his Sherpa guide, Tenzing Norgay, forged a route through the Khumbu Icefall while team mates fell back after equipment failure. Hillary and Tenzing where told to go for the summit, and they pitched a tent at 27,900 feet on May 28 as their support personnel went back down the mountain. The following morning they crossed a 40-foot rock face that would later be named Hillary's Step and reached Everest's 29,028 foot summit at 11:30 am. The conquest of Everest brought Hillary instant fame which was acknowledged when he was knighted on June 6, 1953. Three months later he married Louise Mary Rose with whom he had three children. Hillary continued to climb, conquering another ten Himalayan peaks from 1956 to 1965. In 1958, as the leader of a support team to a crossing of Antarctica, he made the South Pole aboard a Massey Ferguson tractor, becoming the first person ever to reach the Pole in a motorized vehicle. Beginning in 1962 he worked with the Nepalese sherpas families through his Himalayan Trust, he helped install bridges and pipes, built nearly 30 schools, two hospitals, 12 medical clinics, two mountaineering clinics, restored monasteries, and planted more than a million seedlings. In 1975, his wife and youngest daughter were killed when their small plane crashed on takeoff from Kathmandu Airport; from where they planned a rendezvous with Hillary near Everest where he was supervising the construction of a school. In 1977, he led a jet boat expedition from the mouth of the Ganges River to its source. In 1985 he flew a small twin-engined ski plane over the Arctic Ocean before landing at the North Pole, becoming the first man to have stood at both poles and on the Everest's summit. That same year, Hillary became New Zealand's High Commissioner to India and Ambassador to Nepal. He was made member of the Order of New Zealand in 1987. In 1989 he married June Mulgrew. In 1992 he appeared on the revamped New Zealand $5 note, making him the only living New Zealander to appear on a banknote. He was created a Knight, Order of the Garter in April 1995. In 2003, Nepal conferred honorary citizenship upon him, the first foreign national to receive that distinction. He died of heart failure at the Auckland City Hospital at the age of 88; a state funeral was held on January 22, 2008.

Bio by: Iola


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Jim Tipton
  • Added: 10 Jan 2008
  • Find a Grave Memorial 23893466
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Sir Edmund Percival Hillary (20 Jul 1919–11 Jan 2008), Find a Grave Memorial no. 23893466, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea, who reports a Ashes scattered in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand.