FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Don Hoylman celebrated his 91st birthday with friends wishing him a happy birthday through a socially distanced parade.
Roughly a dozen cars with Hoylman’s friends in them first met up in a parking lot and then drove to his house, which was close by. They lined up and took turns rolling down their windows to wish him a happy birthday and to give their presents. Hoylman, a World War II veteran, one-time owner of Industrial Engineering, father and grandfather said having everyone drive by his home to wish him a happy birthday felt like a dream. His daughter, Donna Hoylman Peduto, said it was a testament to the kind of life he has lived.
“He’s touched so many people’s lives through the university, his time time being in Fairmont and Clarksburg, his whole life,” Peduto said. “And the one thing that people always say about him is he’s such a supporter, he lifts up everybody, sees the good in them and encourages them to ‘press on toward the mark’, he always says. His favorite saying is he’s forever young and I think he is still.”
Hoylman is a founding member and ex-officio board member of the WVU Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a board member of Faith United and Central United Methodist Churches, one of the original founders, board member and contributor of WLYJ Television, Channel 46, Christian Communications in Clarksburg. This is according to a biography the family wrote up for him, documenting the many ways he has positively influenced lives in his native West Virginia.
The accomplishments don’t stop there, he also served as a volunteer to the Soup Opera, American Cancer Society and American Heart Association. In addition, he and his wife created several scholarships at WVU and Fairmont State University in honor of their children and grandchildren to benefit students studying business, entrepreneurship and education, as well as undergraduate student-athletes. For his work with both universities, Hoylman was awarded honorary doctorate degrees from both WVU and FSU.
Hoylman’s passion for WVU is so extensive that he was named ‘Most Loyal Virginian’ during Mountaineer Week in 2013, which was a badge of honor for him considering he has been an avid Mountaineers fan for a long time and has been attending basketball and football games since the age of seven. Hoylman even helped with design, fabrication and materials for the football stadium and Coliseum through his company.
His list of accomplishments and how proud everyone he knows is of the kind of life he lived showed in all the expressions of joy displayed during his parade. Peduto, his daughter, said she was thankful for everyone who came out and brought him the joy that he described as leaving him “overwhelmed”.
“We’re so appreciative of today’s turnout that was organized by our church, Central United Methodist and people other than the church too,” Peduto said. “It just means so much that people, especially during this time, would take their time on a Saturday to come out and say ‘happy birthday’ to Don at 91. It’s wonderful.”
Happy birthday, Don.