EIGHTY FOUR, Pa. — Businessman and philanthropist Joseph A. Hardy III, died on Jan. 7, which was also his 100th birthday. Hardy, the founder of 84 Lumber and Nemacolin Resort, was known for growing 84 Lumber into a billion-dollar company.
The Hardy family issued the following statement:
"It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Joseph A. Hardy III. The Hardy family lost their patriarch and all-around great man. 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."
Hardy was born Jan. 7, 1923, in Pittsburgh, a son of Norman and Katherine Hardy. During his final year at Lehigh University, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and served as a radioman during World War II. In 1946, Hardy began working for his father in the family-owned jewelry store, Hardy & Hayes. He attended the University of Pittsburgh and earned a degree in Industrial Engineering.
With childhood friend Ed Ryan and brothers Norman and Bob, Hardy started Green Hills Lumber. This business would grow and eventually become 84 Lumber, named after the town where it was headquartered. Under Hardy's leadership, 84 Lumber expanded and became one of the largest privately-owned building materials suppliers in the world, with stores in 30 states and currently employing more than 6,000 associates.
In 1985, he was named by the Forbes 400 as one of the wealthiest people in the world, and was subsequently named in following years, as well. He was elected by Venture Magazine as Entrepreneur of the Year in 1987. Hardy also earned an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Washington & Jefferson College for his achievements. The University of Pittsburgh elected him to the board of trustees in 1989.
In 1987, Hardy purchased the land that would eventually become the site of Nemacolin Resort in Farmington, Pa. Hardy continually developed the property into a 2,800-acre AAA Four Diamond world-class resort, including a hotel and golf course. Hardy brought the PGA Tour to Nemacolin, which also was the site of the 84 Lumber Classic for four years.
In 2017, Hardy founded the real estate development firm, Hardy World, LLC. The development firm has completed several projects in eight states across the U.S. Its focus has been on the development of urban infill projects and industrial properties.
As successful as Hardy became, he still kept to his Western Pennsylvania roots. Hardy was a partner in the Meadows Racetrack in Meadowlands, Pa., for 10 years. He also served as vice chairman for Fayette County board of commissioners to help the community. His leadership was also critical to a multi-million dollar renovation in Uniontown, Pa., giving $60 million of his personal money to revitalize the town.
Hardy was a philanthropist for many universities and charitable organizations. 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.
In lieu of flowers, non-family members shall be encouraged to make donations in his name to Habitat for Humanity or The Pennsylvania Classic Foundation.