Music Minister retires after 72 years of service

Ronald (“Ron,” “Ronnie”) L. Hilburn, a native of Alabama, retired Sept. 11 as music minister of First Baptist Church Hoover.

He was born in Birmingham but grew up in Tuscaloosa. He studied engineering and music at the University of Alabama for a year, then transferred to Howard College (now Samford University) to focus on music. At Samford he is credited with starting the first Step Sing on the steps of Renfroe Hall and was president of the A Cappella Choir.

A graduate of Southern and New Orleans seminaries, he and his wife, Lillian, have two grown daughters, two grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

His 72 years of music ministry span several part-time college and seminary music positions.

He was a full-time minister of music for five years at Dalraida Baptist Church in Montgomery and 31 years at Shades Crest Baptist Church in Birmingham, receiving the title of Minister of Music Emeritus on his retirement. He then began serving as Acting Minister of Music in several churches in the Birmingham area. His acting position at FBC Hoover became part-time and lasted 21 years.

He was a member of the Alabama Singing Men for several years and taught music classes during Shocco Music Week.

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