Clock would memorialize former mayor Hilyer

Published 4:44 pm Friday, November 30, 2012

Former Thorsby Mayor Dearl Hilyer’s legacy will live on in the many hearts he touched.

But after Hilyer passed on Oct. 16, Angie Barnett and others wanted something to forever mark his place in the history of his beloved town.

After much searching and praying, Barnett found what she thinks is a perfect symbol to recognize Hilyer: a memorial street clock.

“We wanted to have something tangible in our town,” Barnett said. “This antique-looking street clock is pure Dearl’s personality. Dearl was such a time manager. That has always been his thing: being efficient with his time.”

Before the decision was final, Barnett said she ran the clock idea by Hilyer’s wife, Nicole, who agreed it would be a fitting memorial.

The planned location of the clock–at Helen Jenkins Chapel–is also considered fitting. Preservation and promotion of the Scandinavian chapel was a significant part of Hilyer’s mayor reign, which began in 2008.

“Helen Jenkins was Dearl’s pet project,” Barnett said. “He thought of it as a hub of the community.”

Barnett, who teaches with Nicole Hilyer at Thorsby School and is also the wife of Thorsby Police Chief Rodney Barnett, said organizers hope to have the clock installed and schedule a dedication in spring 2013, but first the project must be approved by the town council, which could make a decision at its meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at the Thorsby Annex.

Barnett said fundraising has almost reached the goal of $3,300, which would pay for the clock. If the goal is exceeded, more expensive options could become possible, such as a clock with a lighted face or a clock with four faces.

Nicole Hilyer and her daughters, Ashlin and Anna Grace, would make the final decision, Barnett said.

The clock would be ordered from Tuscumbia Iron Works.

Barnett said the fundraising effort began the day after Hilyer passed. A cake auction a couple of weeks ago netted $1,700. Jars have been placed in Thorsby Elementary classrooms for students to bring donations.

The admission charged for a Christmas program for kindergarten through third grade on Dec. 17 will go toward the clock fund, and a Sno-Cone Day is planned for Dec. 14 to benefit the effort.

Anyone interested in making a donation can do so at Thorsby Town Hall. Checks should be made payable to Helen Jenkins Chapel.

A motto has been associated with the clock project and could even end up being included on the clock itself: “Time never heals the pain, but it is what you do with your time that helps.”

Barnett said Nicole Hilyer’s dedication to the community is helping her cope with her loss, and Barnett said a project such as the memorial clock could help bring the community together.

“We all love Dearl so much that we didn’t want this to go by without the community being able to contribute something,” she said.