Self-reliant veteran skilled at gardening, running |
Obituary Stories

Self-reliant veteran skilled at gardening, running

Richard C. Hoyle, 88, of Mt. Pleasant (East Huntingdon Township), passed away Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in Hempfield Manor, Hempfield Township.

Richard Hoyle was a veteran, jet mechanic, gardener, runner and the proud father of six daughters.

“He said he would never trade his girls for any boys,” recalls his eldest, Karen McGivern.

Richard C. Hoyle of Mt. Pleasant died Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in Hempfield Manor of complications related to old age. He was 88.

His father, Clarence Hoyle, a coal miner, died when Mr. Hoyle was 12. He dropped out of high school at 17 to join the Navy as World War II was starting.

Mr. Hoyle served as a seaman on the staff of Rear Adm. Ralph Davidson, moving from one aircraft carrier to another. He was the youngest member of Davidson’s staff, according to his family.

When the war ended, Mr. Hoyle worked for a time as a mechanic for American Airlines. He then joined the Air National Guard, where he was a master sergeant and jet mechanic until retirement. He graduated from Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics.

He always planted a bountiful garden, filled with the vegetables his family would eat for months He raised chickens and kept bees, making sure he could provide for his family so they would never know the poverty he knew as a child, said his daughter, Barbara McCormick.

“As far back as I can remember, we each had to weed or hoe a row every day, and then we had to help freeze or can it,” she said.

“My dad passed along to me a great love of the outdoors, and of berry picking,” said his daughter, Mary Hepler. “He taught me how to recognize a purple raspberry vine in the wintertime so you could know where to find them in the summertime.”

When Mr. Hoyle was in his 70s, Hempfield Area School District held a ceremony, awarding him the diploma he never received.

Upon retiring, Mr. Hoyle took up competitive running. He joined several races every year, winning several medals. His family joined him for his final race eight years ago, when he was 80. By then he could no longer run, but he walked the 3-mile route with his daughters.

“We came in last, but he wanted to do it,” McGivern said.

He was preceded in death by his former wife, Anne Stoner Hoyle.He is survived by daughters Karen McGivern of Mt. Pleasant; Barbara McCormick of Jeannette; Sue Pritts of Dawson; Mary Hepler of Ruffsdale; Jamie Gross of Scottdale, and Dawn Fink of Apollo; 16 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and his brother, Charlie Springer.

Family and friends will be received from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday in Robert B. Ferguson Funeral Home, 105 Spring St., Scottdale. Viewing will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday in St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Hunker, followed by funeral services at 11 a.m. Interment will be in Mt. Olive Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to Disabled Veterans at

Jacob Tierney is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6646 or [email protected].

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