Thorsby mayor Hilyer passes (updated)

Published 10:20 am Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Thorsby Mayor Dearl Hilyer passed Tuesday at the age of 44.

Hilyer in August was re-elected to his second term as mayor.

Town council member Neal Benson said Hilyer was excited about what could be accomplished in his next term.

“Everybody in town is proud of the job he did and was really looking forward to the next four years,” Benson said. “He was a good person to work with. He was just a good person.”

Hilyer had experienced health problems for several months and was undergoing tests to determine the cause when he had a heart attack. He had been hospitalized since the episode on Oct. 5.

Cancer was apparently the root cause of Hilyer’s health problems.

“We had called him Sunday night, and he was laughing and joking,” Benson said about Hilyer’s sudden decline in health. “He was sitting on my porch three weeks ago.”

Hilyer’s death will be felt personally by many Thorsby residents, including Benson, who said his wife, Judy, had been good friends with Hilyer since childhood.

“They were like brothers and sisters,” Neal Benson said.

Benson, who is beginning his fourth term, said the council would appoint a new mayor from among the current council members.

“It’s a loss for our town,” he said but reassured residents about the town’s leadership. “Our leaders in these departments, they can carry on. They’re good at what they do.”

Council member Jean Nelson has been acting as mayor pro tempore at council meetings.

Hilyer and his wife, Nicole, have two daughters, Ashlin and Anna.

Visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m. on Wednesday at Pates Chapel Baptist Church in Jemison, and the funeral will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday at the church, which is also where he will be buried.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Thorsby’s Helen Jenkins Chapel Foundation. Donations can be made at Thorsby Town Hall at 21060 U.S. Highway 31,  Thorsby, 35171.

Online condolences can be made at