Clarence A. Gilyard, a retired General Motors Corp. employee, died Tuesday at his home on Ravenwood Avenue in Baltimore after a long illness. He was 47.
Known as "Mr. Yard" in the Belair-Edison community, he often helped neighbors by making home repairs and improvements, such as building decks. He continued to help even after he became ill.
"I remember a time when the plumbing in my house had failed. I was feeling down and depressed about it," said neighbor Steven Dean Sr. He recalls that Mr. Gilyard helped by sending the right tool. "I became encouraged because it made me realize people care about one another."
Mr. Gilyard was always "a nice guy," said Joe Jones, a longtime friend and neighbor. "He would do anything for people in the neighborhood, and outside the neighborhood, too," he said.
Born in Baltimore, Mr. Gilyard graduated from Dunbar Senior High School and worked for J. Schoeneman, a clothing manufacturer. In 1967, he joined General Motors as an assembly worker.
After being drafted into the U.S. Army, he rose to the rank of sergeant and was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Vietnam Service Medal with two bronze service stars, Army Commendation Medal and a Vietnam campaign medal.
After serving for two years, Mr. Gilyard returned to General Motors. He retired from the company after 25 years in 1992.
Services will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at the New Union Baptist Church, 510 N. Monroe St., preceded by a viewing at the church at 10:30 a.m. Burial will be at Arbutus Memorial Park.
Mr. Gilyard is survived by his wife of 25 years, the former Portia A. Rollings; two daughters, Marlene and Shenel Gilyard; four sisters, Nadell B. Gilyard, Willie Mae Johnson, Ida M. Hines and Klara E. Gilyard-Meredith; and two brothers, John Henry Alston and James R. Gilyard. All are of Baltimore.