84 Lumber founder Joe Hardy dies at 100

Marianne Wilson
Marianne Wilson profile picture
Joe Hardy
Joe Hardy (photo supplied by 84 Lumber)

The founder of 84 Lumber Company, Joe Hardy III, died on January 7, which was also the same day on which he turned 100.

Hardy, who was also the founder of the Nemacolin resort (formerly known as the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa) is best known for growing 84 Lumber into a billion-dollar company. His daughter Maggie assumed leadership of 84 Lumber in 1992.

Founded in 1956 and headquartered in Eighty Four, Pa., 84 Lumber Company is the nation’s largest privately held supplier of building materials, manufactured components and services for single- and multi-family residences and commercial buildings. The company operates nearly 260 stores, component manufacturing plants, custom door shops, custom millwork shops and engineered wood product centers in more than 35 states.

According to a family statement, in true Hardy fashion, “Joe passed away with his cigar in his hand, surrounded by his loving family, singing Broadway show tunes to comfort him at his home in Farmington, Pa.”

“The Hardy family lost their patriarch and all-around great man,” the Hardy family stated: “Many knew Joe as a brilliant businessman and enthusiastic entrepreneur. 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. Joe proved that nothing is impossible by willing himself to his 100th birthday. His family is beyond proud of him for making this final accomplishment."

Even after Hardy handed over control of 84 Lumber (and Nemacolin Resort) to his daughter, his vision continued to inspire both businesses.

“My father was always asking, ‘What’s next?’ He wanted to conquer the next challenge or make something even better,” Maggie Hardy stated. “He taught us never to be satisfied and push to be better today than we were yesterday. He had an infectious outlook and personality that inspired people. He never missed an opportunity to teach a lesson in business or in life. And he valued his people more than anything.”

Hardy was also a significant philanthropist for many universities and charitable organizations and has received numerous awards for his philanthropy. He was dedicated to higher education, which enabled many to attend Washington & Jefferson College, California University, and West Virginia University. Some of the other charities he supported were the Boy Scouts of America, The Washington County Food Bank, The Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, United Way, The Pennsylvania Classic Foundation, and many other causes and charities.

Joe was a true American success story,” said Tom Ridge, Former Homeland Security Director and Governor of Pennsylvania. “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.”

Surviving Hardy are eight children, 15 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.