Tilton devoted to family history preservation

Published 2:34 pm Wednesday, December 12, 2018

By DAISY WASHINGTON / Community Columnist

Beginning her day before dawn, the spry, wide-eyed Claudiann Tilton makes her way to Earthly Treasures Thrift Store.

Always punctual, arriving between 5:45 and 6 a.m., she makes her way to the store each day either driving or on foot.

The dutiful Tilton sometimes stays as late as 6 p.m.

Claudiann Tilton, 85, is a hard-working fixture at Early Treasures Thrift Store and is devoted to the preservation of family history research. (Contributed)

The 85-year-old begins her humble task of handling the linen section of the store, where she is responsible for folding and sorting sheets and towels.

Occasionally she will assist staff by answering the telephone.

“I like interacting with the patrons and staff the most,” she said.

During Tilton’s time at Earthly Treasures, the store has been at three different locations; six years at the present one, for a total of 20 years in all.

Formed in 1991 by the fellowship of churches known as the Shelby Baptist Association’s Church and Community Ministries, the organization focuses on serving the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of Shelby County’s less fortunate.

Proceeds from the thrift store provide the majority of funds for SBA’s Church and Community Ministries.

A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints since she was a young woman, Tilton has been a volunteer for the majority of her senior years.

The highlight of her volunteer work is unquestionably her unwavering devotion to the preservation of family history research.

Probably, her most significant contribution to her work with family history preservation can be seen in her phenomenal devotion to the Columbiana City Cemetery restoration project.

Other LDS Wards joined forces with the Columbiana Ward to lead and oversee the project. Beginning in the fall of 2011, the enormous undertaking lasted three years.

Renovation of the historic cemetery required thousands of volunteer hours.

All the graves in the cemetery were located, cleaned and repaired with landscaping updated and fences repaired.

A large map detailing the location and names of 1,600 graves was made.

A cemetery ribbon cutting ceremony was held on April 13, 2014, to celebrate the event.

The thin, small-framed woman has spent thousands of hours volunteering her time to help others.

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Tilton grew up in California. She moved to Alabama following the marriage of her only child, Misty.

She is the proud grandmother of five. She received the RSVP Spirit Award for her thousands of hours of volunteering in this and other projects.

She has been an RSVP volunteer since 2004 and has logged 13,509 hours.