Joseph Hardy, founder of 84 Lumber, dies on 100th birthday

Jan 7, 2023, 9:00 PM | Updated: Jan 8, 2023, 5:58 pm

In this undated photo provided by 84 Lumber Company, Joseph Hardy III poses for a picture. Hardy, f...

In this undated photo provided by 84 Lumber Company, Joseph Hardy III poses for a picture. Hardy, founder of the 84 Lumber chain of building materials stores and developer of the Nemacolin resort, died Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023. He was 100. (Jordan Millington Liquorice/Courtesy of 84 Lumber Company via AP)

(Jordan Millington Liquorice/Courtesy of 84 Lumber Company via AP)

FARMINGTON, Pa. (AP) — Joseph Hardy III, founder of the 84 Lumber chain of building materials stores and developer of the Nemacolin resort, has died. He was 100.

A family statement provided by the company said the family had lost its “patriarch and all-around great man.” A profile posted on the company’s website said he passed away on his 100th birthday Saturday “surrounded by his loving family singing Broadway show tunes to comfort him at his home in Farmington.”

“Many knew Joe as a brilliant businessman and enthusiastic entrepreneur,” said the statement provided by Amy Smiley, 84 Lumber’s vice president of marketing. “Even with his vast success, Joe always remembered what matters most: people. He helped make the American dream real for so many, and he will be greatly missed.”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Hardy was credited with “rethinking the lumber business in the late 1950s with a cash-and-carry approach focused on professional contractors and builders.” He then expanded the company to become the nation’s largest privately owned building materials supplier.

He also developed the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa, now known simply as Nemacolin, and entered the harness-racing business, operating the Meadows Racetrack in North Strabane Township in Washington County.

Born January 7, 1923, in Pittsburgh, Hardy attended Lehigh University and in his final year there enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, serving as a radioman during World War II.

After the war, he worked in the family-owned jewelry store, earned an industrial engineering degree at the University of Pittsburgh and with family and a friend started Green Hills Lumber, which eventually became 84 Lumber (named after the town where it was headquartered) which currently has more than 250 stores nationwide.

“My father was always asking, ‘What’s next?'” his daughter Maggie Hardy, to whom he turned over control of 84 Lumber and Nemacolin Resort, said in the profile. “He wanted to conquer the next challenge or make something even better. He taught us never to be satisfied and push to be better today than we were yesterday.”

“Joe was a true American success story,” former Pennsylvania governor and Homeland Security director Tom Ridge told the Post-Gazette. “And he was a true gentleman. He could have demanded to be treated like a tycoon, but instead he wanted to be known as Joe.”

The family statement said Hardy had proven “that nothing is impossible by willing himself to his 100th birthday” which had made the family “beyond proud of him for making this final accomplishment.”

A funeral service for Hardy, whose survivors include eight children and 15 grandchildren, is scheduled Thursday in Westminster Presbyterian Church followed by full military honors and private interment.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

5 hours ago

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

1 day ago

Image: Members of the Makah Indian tribe paddle away from the rising sun as they head from Neah Bay...

Associated Press

Washington’s Makah Tribe clears major hurdle toward resuming traditional whale hunts

The U.S. granted the Makah Indian Tribe a long-sought waiver that helps clear the way for its first sanctioned whale hunts since 1999.

2 days ago

jerry west...

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Jerry West, a 3-time Hall of Fame selection and the NBA logo, dies at 86

Jerry West, a three-time Basketball Hall of Fame inductee whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning.

4 days ago

Photo: Construction vehicles are parked outside of the Station U & O building on Tuesday, June 11, ...

Haleluya Hadero, The Associated Press

Amazon adds $1.4B to affordable housing fund for regions where it has corporate offices

Amazon is adding $1.4B to a fund for building more affordable housing in regions where the company has major corporate offices.

4 days ago

hunter biden...

Randall Chase and the Associated Press

Hunter Biden convicted of all 3 felony charges in federal gun trial

Hunter Biden has been convicted of all three felony charges related to the purchase of a revolver in 2018, but no sentencing date was set.

5 days ago

Joseph Hardy, founder of 84 Lumber, dies on 100th birthday