Spencer unveils plaque honoring former town manager

Published 12:05 am Friday, November 17, 2023

SPENCER — Spencer held an unveiling of a plaque honoring former town manager Hilda Palmer during their pre-agenda meeting on Nov. 9. Palmer worked with the town for almost 30 years, retiring as the town manager in 1990.

The town’s board of aldermen voted in May to rename the board meeting room in honor of Palmer, and the recent unveiling served as another way to honor the woman who served the town for so long in front of her surviving family. Palmer’s daughter, Deborah Crook, and grandson, Matt Crook, both spoke during the meeting.

“You have made me a proud daughter. I didn’t fully realize how important her job was until you all started talking, and she loved Spencer and she loved her grandson, and I think Spencer was her second family,” said Deborah Crook.

Palmer was also the first woman to serve in the role of town manager in Rowan County, a feat that Alderman Patti Seacrest said she did not realize the importance of while growing up in Spencer.

“I didn’t realize when I was in high school and even when I was in college or probably even when I was in my early 20s after I was married, what a trailblazer Hilda was. I just thought everybody did that, but looking back there weren’t many women doing what Hilda was doing,” said Seacrest.

Although the other members of the board and current Town Manager Peter Franzese said that they had not know Palmer as well as Seacrest, who grew up with Deborah Crook, or Alderman Steve Miller, who was Palmer’s neighbor, they said it was easy to tell the lasting effect she had on Spencer.

“Spencer has a long history of very influential people that have helped to shape this town and make it what it is today and have left a long-lasting legacy. When you start really diving into that list of people, though, there are a few names that really stand out like Clyde Miller, names like Howard Everhart and Buddy Gattis and a whole litany of those, but the one woman that comes to mind that really sets the trajectory that we’re hopefully carrying forward today was Hilda Palmer,” said Mayor Jonathan Williams.

The plaque itself was placed on a wall just inside the board room. Featured on the plaque is a picture of Palmer along with the proclamation honoring her and naming the room after her.