Al Hilchey, '42

Yearbook image of Al Hilchey
Current image of Al Hilchey

If you lived in Oakfield any time from the 1950s into the 1970s, hearing the words "Where every customer is a personal friend" can only make you think of Hilchey's Hardware and the man behind it, Al Hilchey. From his store at the corner of Main and Maple, Al helped Oakfield's citizens keep their businesses and homes painted and well-maintained, while making the town itself a more livable place. Among Al's contributions to Oakfield were obtaining the village's first Little League uniforms (he persuaded a vendor from Lockport to donate that league's old uniforms in the late 1950s when they bought new ones), maintaining a community blood bank (he kept records of prospective donors in the community and would contact them when someone needed blood), and his significant role in starting the Oakfield Volunteer Ambulance. Al was instrumental in the construction of the current Oakfield Fire Hall and served as president of the fire department in 1977 and 1978. His "Salute to Old Glory" was presented to more than 100 civic and school groups starting in 1976. After selling his store and retiring in 1979, Al remained active in the Oakfield Fire Department, and in softball leagues in Oakfield and Las Vegas. Memorialized on the mural painted on the outer wall of his old store, Al will live forever in the minds of every "Susie" (girl) or "Butch" (boy) who ever came into the store to buy a screwdriver or pocket knife or quart of paint.