Remembering SFI Board Member Ian Hilton

By Thomas Sumner | January 19, 2023

Simons Foundation International honors the memory of Ian Hilton, a member of SFI’s board of directors who was instrumental to the organization’s foundation and growth. Hilton, 84, died on December 28, 2022, in Bermuda. He is survived by his longtime partner Elaine Stevens, her son Sam, and countless friends and family members who fondly recall his wit and love of helping others.

Hilton was born on July 24, 1938, in the Manchester suburb of Oldham, England. He graduated from Manchester University with a Bachelor of Laws in 1958 and became a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales in 1961. That same year, he moved to Bermuda and joined a law firm specializing in offshore legal services, Appleby, Spurling & Kempe (now known as Appleby).

Over the coming decades, Hilton was instrumental in the firm’s growth into a world-renowned institution — first as an associate, then as a partner, senior partner and, ultimately, as managing partner. During this time, Hilton joined the Bermuda International Business Association, serving as secretary throughout much of the 1970s. He retired from Appleby, Spurling & Kempe in 1989, after which he spent his time serving as a director of Bermuda-based charitable foundations and enjoying a good game of golf or bridge.

Hilton served as a member of SFI’s board of directors since the philanthropy’s founding in 2011. Over the years, he helped focus SFI’s mission and provided guidance on the organization’s charitable giving.

Throughout his life, Hilton had a deep-rooted passion for sports and adventure. He always looked forward to hitting the Colorado ski slopes, scuba diving and traveling the world. In his younger days, he played fullback on Bermuda’s rugby team and excelled at cricket.

Fellow SFI board member Jan Spiering remembers that Hilton would shed his usually quiet exterior on the golf course. Hilton’s extrovert antics after a particularly good (or bad) shot were well known to his friends. Spiering recalls that Hilton’s favorite expression when he accomplished a memorable feat on the green was “Cometh the hour, cometh the man.” In his later years, Hilton went bungee jumping with his partner Stevens, and Hilton even gave parachuting a go.