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C. Huntley "Hunt" Hilliard
Claude Huntley Hilliard, Jr. was born in Washington, D.C. in 1925. As his father Claude Huntley Hilliard, Sr. was known as Claude, my father earned the moniker of Hunt. Dad’s father died when he was only 13 years old, and at that time he dropped the Jr. from his name.
At the age of 18 he graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School and soon enlisted in the Navy as a pilot candidate. Unfortunately, he suffered from severe air sickness. He trained in an open cockpit bi-plane with the student seated in the lead seat and the instructor in the rear. When Dad got sick, the instructor got a face full of his stomach contents. He decided not to further pursue pilot training, and the Navy assigned him to be trained as a gunner on a torpedo bomber. He went to gunnery training in Oklahoma, but World War II ended before he could be deployed. That seems fortunate as I do not think an air sick gunner would have been much use on a torpedo bomber.
He returned to D.C., and one of his naval comrades, Larry Peacock, introduced him to his cousin, Wilma Mason, who was then working at the National Geographic in Washington. They were soon married, and as my mother continued to work at National Geographic, Dad completed his Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Maryland where he majored in Industrial Arts and was certified to teach in secondary Education.
Upon completing his Bachelor’s Degree, Dad was hired by Baltimore County Schools as an industrial arts teacher. Hunt and Wilma moved to Baltimore, and Wilma gave birth to two children, Michael and Deidre. Dad taught at Stemmer’s Run Junior High School in Baltimore County until 1958. While teaching in Baltimore County and raising and supporting a young family, Dad earned his Master’s Degree from the University of Maryland in Industrial Arts. At Stemmer’s Run he met an art teacher named Jack Garver. Jack in the late 1950’s was hired by the Gilman School as the head of the art department. Henry Callard, Gilman’s Head Master, wanted to strengthen the school’s shop program. Jack suggested Mr. Callard interview my father in 1957. After the interview, Dad declined a position at Gilman as it would have been a reduction in salary. Again in 1958, Mr. Callard offered Dad a position at Gilman. Dad had an interesting choice that year. He could become the Head of the Industrial Arts Department at Baltimore County’s new Kenwood High School or leave Baltimore County Schools for Gilman. He chose Gilman, and he remained at the school until his death in 1991 at the age of 66. While at Gilman, he won national acclaim for creating and sustaining the only production line project performed by elementary school students in the country.
Like many teachers, Dad sought summer employment to supplement his teacher’s salary. He worked in the drafting department at the Glenn L. Martin Company, which manufactured aircraft, but when Martin reduced its production at its Middle River, MD plant, he ran the crafts program at a day camp outside of Baltimore. Jack Garver had decided not to return to Hyde Bay in 1960, and he recommended my father to Mouldy as one who could operate a crafts program. Mouldy wisely hired my father, and so began my family’s connection with Hyde Bay Camp. Dad served as the director of the camp’s handicraft program and an Assistant Director until the camp’s closure in 1969.
He and my mother are memorialized at Gilman through the C. Huntley & Wilma Mason Hilliard Curriculum Development Award, which enables a Lower (elementary) School faculty member to enhance current curriculum or develop new curriculum over the summer break. Dad is also memorialized through the C. Huntley Hilliard Memorial Award which was established in 1992 and is given annually to that Gilman student who has shown exceptional enthusiasm, ability, and helpfulness in the shop.
Claude Huntley Hilliard is interred at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium, Maryland. His legacy is the literally hundreds of young men whom he taught and mentored. Some are now prominent engineers and architects. Others are prominent educators, but more importantly, most are good sons, fathers, and men, as a result of having contact with a stern yet gentle man, who taught them early in their lives how to be caring and good human beings.
From Mike Hilliard