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175 Years of tradition: A conversation with lester greenawalt

This past month gave way to an opportunity to learn more about the past of Hilltop; through the eyes of one of our most distinguished members, Lester Greenawalt, we are able to see a picture of the roots that remain a strong foundation for the church we know and love. During the interview he was asked a series of six questions pertaining to his experience at Hilltop. Lester is the second of three generations to attend Hilltop. His father, Leroy R. Greenawalt, started the tradition which has been carried on by Lester and his descendants. Lester’s almost 90 years of attendance began on December 8, 1928 and will end when God deems it so. He has been born, baptized, married (1949) and plans to be buried here when that day comes.

Grace Greenawalt pictured with her sons, Richard and Lester (On her lap) in the summer of 1929.

During the interview Lester was asked about favorite memories, of which there were bound to be many. He remembered a time when Hilltop had limited conveniences, no running water and outhouse which were located between the residence of Donna Walt and the garage. Glad to see upgrades have been made there! Lester also remembers a time when men would share the responsibilities of firing the coal furnaces, while the women provided custodial services. Lester has seen many renovations and upgrades to the church building itself, from wooden flooring damaged by termites in the original building to the need for more parking as the use of cars increased. Cars were not so readily available in Lester’s youth, and he has fond memories of riding in Pop Fulton’s car while humming a variety of songs. He also recalled walking to church when a car was not available. His father, Leroy, would often rent a car from Estep (Lester’s grandfather) to attend services. He also has some memories of the older men snapping the ears of the unruly children, not that he ever was. One of his favorite memories is the memory of the church picnics, held in the woods where Donna Walt’s house now sits. There was lots of “root beer” flowing freely and delicious homemade food was abundant. Many of the children would often go home with upset tummies from the free flowing “root beer.” Not all of Lester’s memories are as blatantly jovial. He is also quite proud to have served on many different boards of the church to insure the stability and outreach of the church. He even recalled going on an airplane for the first time, to be a part of a mission’s trip in the early 90’s. It was an eye opening experience for him, both as his first time on a plane, but also in working with, and sharing the gospel with the native persons of Jamaica. Lester also loved the 14 day revivals Hilltop used to hold and wishes we would do them again. He also misses having more bible readings during our services. When asked about the future of Hilltop United Methodist Church, Lester had this to say:

“I am thankful for all the experiences over 89 years, and I am looking forward to many more experiences over these coming days that remain for me!”

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