Stephen Hillenburg

Birth Name: Stephen McDannell Hillenburg

Date of Birth: August 21, 1961

Place of Birth: Fort Sill, Lawton, Oklahoma, U.S.

Date of Death: November 26, 2018

Place of Death: San Marino, California, U.S.

Ethnicity: Irish, English, German, Belgian [Flemish, Walloon]

Stephen Hillenburg was an American animator, cartoonist, director, writer, producer, storyboard artist, and voice actor. He was also a marine science educator. He is known for creating the iocnic SpongeBob SquarePants franchise.

Stephen was the son of Nancy and Kelly Neugent/Nugent Hillenburg, Jr. He was married to chef Karen Umland, until his death, with whom he had a son.

Stephen’s paternal grandfather was Kelly Neugent/Nugent Hillenburg (the son of Adam Austin Hillenburg and Laura Adeline/Adaline Neugent/Nugent). Kelly was born in Virginia. Adam was the son of Austin W. Hillenburg and Elizabeth Jane Kinser/Kinsler/Kincer. Laura was the daughter of William Kelly Neugent and Elizabeth Ann “Betty” Cook.

Stephen’s paternal grandmother was Anna Mae/May Vest (the daughter of John Henry Armistead Vest and Eula Mae Ackers/Akers). Anna was born in Virginia. John was the son of Samuel Dewey Vest and Mary Jane Vest. Eula was the son of Andrew Jackson Ackers/Akers and Mildred Elizabeth Payne.

Stephen’s maternal grandfather was John Dufour (the son of Alphonse DeFore and Leontine M. VanVolsen). John was born in Illinois, to Belgian parents. Alphonse was the son of Henry. Leontine was born in Wenge.

Stephen’s maternal grandmother was Lucille H. McDannell (the daughter of John L. McDannell and Mae/May E. O’Neill). Stephen’s grandmother Lucille was born in Rock Island, Illinois, and had significant Irish ancestry. John was born in Wisconsin, the son of Decatur Stephan McDannell and Emma K. McCamish. Mae was the daughter of Lawrence S. O’Neill, who was Irish, and of Sarah Elizabeth Manley.

Sources: Genealogy of Stephen Hillenurg –

Genealogy of Stephen Hillenburg (focusing on his father’s side) –

Stephen’s maternal grandmother, Lucille H. McDannell, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

3 Responses

  1. Gavinboi says:

    It seems that very few Americans have much Belgian ancestry compared to other nearby European countries (Netherlands, Germany, and France).

  2. md65 says:

    His father’s ancestry can be traced back to Daniel Hillenburg. Daniel was the son of Joachim Hillenburg, who was born in Carinthia, Austria, to a German father and a Swiss mother, and Hendrika Brouwer, who was born in Leeuwarden, Netherlands.

    • follers says:

      That’s a family tree made or co-made by Joseph John Boyce, a former torch singer and outspoken advocate for the pinkcherry pump. He’s great on those issues, but genealogy he tends to fabricate.

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