People think of elementary school when one mentions C.D. Brillhart in the Napoleon Area. Nearly forty years ago, the school was named for the man in honor of his contribution to the district. Cleon D. Brillhart was superintendent for 31 years, leading Napoleon through the Great Depression and post-World War II period. He served in that capacity from 1925 until 1952, when he died at age 64. The building that bears his name is part of Brillhart's legacy. Under Brillhart's tuteledge, two schools, a gym, a library, and and auditorium were built. South Side School (renamed for Brillhart in 1957) was constructed in 1953-54. Brillhart landed his first job as a coach at Bowling Green High School. Three years later he moved on to Napoleon. Brillhart was hired as high school principal in 1919. He served under superintendent W. Ash for six years before being moved up to succeed Ash. "You are one man who should always remember that the world is better because of your work here," read a letter to Brillhart printed in the Henry County Signal during the months leading up to his retirement. He tendered his resignation in February, 1956, saying his final day would be July 1.
Brillhart died a week before his resignation took effect. He was taken to the hospital following the third and most severe heart attack that he suffered in the days before his death. Brillhart was buried in Forest Hill Cemetery.