Bench honours Hilda Clark’s commitment to community
By Darren Lum
Hilda Clark’s strength and unyielding support of her community is being honoured through a carved wooden bench created by Wayne Quibell of Highland Creek Builders. The memorial was commissioned by Clark’s friends and fellow members of the Fun-Raising Committee of Highlands East, which is the former Recreation Committee for Monmouth.
The bench does more than commemorate their friend, it also acts as a reminder to the township to complete the planned Herlihey Park Clark wanted to be finished in her lifetime.
“She was always active in our community and [spurred] us along to improve our community,” said committee member Kathy Rogers in an email. “She worked so hard for so many things and was such
a wealth of information. She was very determined to get the park going.”
Rogers said her friend was vocal about her wishes and made it known to Highlands East Mayor Dave Burton.
“She often told him to get it open before she died. This is our way of letting Hilda put her mark out there for the township to remember we need to finish the park and at the same time commemorating Hilda and donating a beautiful bench that will get installed in our park,” she said.
Rogers said the bench is currently at Agnew’s General Store, which allowed it to be its home until Herlihey Park is completed. When it’s ready to be moved, the artist, Quibell, has agreed to transport it to its permanent home. Clark, who was born March 13, 1933 died on Aug. 7 last year. She was well-known in the community for her columns with The Haliburton County Echo, her commitment to the Red Cross Outpost Historic House Museum, as a regular with the Loop Troupe Theatre Group, as a congregation member of St. Margaret’s Anglican Church, as a member of the retired teachers’ group, and as a committee member with the Fun-Raising Committee.
The site for Herlihey Park is bordered by Wilberforce’s downtown area along Loop Road and Dark Lake and was donated to the township by the Marcus Family. Carol Marcus is the daughter of Beatrice and Harold Herlihey, who was a well-known local community member, municipal politician and operated the Wilberforce Veneer and Lumber Company on the site for the park.
The plans for the seven acre park include shoreline and meadow walking trails, a beach and swim area, a central lawn, a multi-use picnic pavilion, a playground and a boat dock.
The park is planned to be built in four phases at an estimated cost of close to $100,000 per year.
Clark has also been recognized as a Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal recipient, the Retired Teachers’ of Ontario Award of Merit recipient, and as a Senior of the Year.
Another committee member, Jodi Rupnow wrote on social media: “Hilda was an active member of their volunteer committee and extremely passionate about the new Herlihey Park on the old veneer property. The volunteer committee is hoping that the creation of the park will get underway and they will see the bench in its rightful place soon. But for now we love having this beautiful
dedication right here at Agnew’s!”
With files from Sue Tiffin and Jenn Watt