Ronald (“Ron,” “Ronnie”) L. Hilburn, a native of Alabama, retired Sept. 11 as minister of music 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 one year, then transferred to Howard College (now Samford University) to focus on music. At Samford, he is credited with beginning the first Step Sing on the steps of Renfroe Hall and was president of A Cappella Choir.
A graduate of Southern and New Orleans seminaries, he and his wife, Lillian, have two adult daughters, two grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
His 72 years of music ministry span several part time music positions while in college and seminary.
He served as full-time minister of music five years at Dalraida Baptist Church, Montgomery, and 31 years at Shades Crest Baptist Church, Birmingham, receiving the title of minister of music emeritus upon retirement. He then began serving as interim music minister to several churches in the Birmingham area. His interim 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.