In trying to come up with one word to describe Cyndy Hilby’s impact on Sun Lakes softball, I settled on the word “pillar.” Webster defines the word as “a supporting, integral or upstanding member of a group.” Cyndy is all of that and more. She’s a member of our Lady Sluggers team but is known more as “the blonde in the booth.” She’s the official scorer for 90% or more of our men’s league games and has seen more games at the Field of Dreams than anyone over the past several years. Not only that, she bakes the best cookies ever and brings them to the field for the players to munch on. She was recently honored with the annual Spirit of Sun Lakes Softball Award, given to those who “go above and beyond.”
Cyndy’s Dad taught her to keep score when she was a little girl attending minor league games in Iowa, and she’s been a numbers and stats lover ever since. After graduating from Kennedy High in Cedar Rapids, Cyndy earned an undergraduate degree in business education at Mt. Mercy College. Later, she attained her master’s in education at Iowa State.
Her first job was as a substitute teacher at Jefferson High (Cedar Rapids). She then worked in an office for a year before beginning her long-term career in education at a small K-12 school in Shellsburg (20 miles northwest of Cedar Rapids). She also taught in three different middle schools over 12 years before landing her first “dream job” at her alma mater, Kennedy High. Her last 16 years were back at Jefferson High where she had that first temporary teaching position. “You can go home again!”
Over her career, “Mrs. Hilby” taught everything related to business education: accounting, bookkeeping, keyboarding and typing, marketing and more. She was also involved in many extracurricular activities such as cheerleading and pep squad sponsor, DECA advisor, scoreboard and clock operator for several sports and, of course, scorekeeper at baseball games. Her proudest accomplishment was founding an internship program that later expanded into several nearby counties.
Cyndy met her future husband Steve while teaching in Shellsburg. They have a son, Matt, who followed Cyndy’s footsteps and now teaches at Jefferson High and a daughter, Kate. They’re both engaged, so grandkids may be in the future!
The Hilbys love to travel. They’ve visited all 50 states, concentrating on state capitals and national parks. They’ve been to Australia and New Zealand and on many cruises, including to Alaska, the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii and the Panama Canal. They’ll be doing their first European cruise this summer. In addition to her softball activities, Cyndy is a golfer, swimmer and has run two half-marathons!
Steve and Cyndy discovered Arizona when attending White Sox spring training games in 1996. At the time, she told Steve, “I’m retiring here someday. I hope you’ll join me!” That someday came in 2012, and the “happily ever after continues.”