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Mt. Lebanon veteran succeeded in business, civic endeavors

| Friday, Sept. 10, 2010

Businessman Bill Hoag considered himself a compassionate capitalist.

"Dad would often say that capitalism without compassion was cruelty," said his son, Michael Hoag of Hartville, Ohio. "My father had empathy for an employee who was experiencing illness or problems in their family. He was there to see them through."

William R. "Bill" Hoag of Mt. Lebanon, chairman of the NILCO Lumber Co., died on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010, in St. Clair Hospital, Mt. Lebanon. He was 87.

In 1941, after graduating from the former Greenbrier Military School in Greenbrier, W.Va., Mr. Hoag entered the Army as an infantry officer. He was seriously wounded during the D-Day invasions in 1944.

"The wounds would plague him the rest of his life," said his son. "And although during his business career he had to use a cane and a walker, and in the last few years a wheelchair, Dad never complained or regretted serving his country."

Born and raised in Forest Hills, Mr. Hoag was one of two children in the family of Robert Bean and Natalie Victoria Hoag.

His father established the West Elizabeth Lumber Co. in Elizabeth Borough in 1948. It was the forerunner to NILCO, which has 10 distribution centers throughout the country.

It was while he was recovering from his wounds in an Army hospital in New Jersey that Mr. Hoag met Elizabeth Mary Fulton, a hospital volunteer.

They married in 1945 while Mr. Hoag was attending Bethany College in West Virginia.

"It was a love affair that would last for 65 years," said the couple's son.

Mr. Hoag received his business degree in 1946 from the University of Pittsburgh, where he transferred so he could be near medical specialists who could treat his injuries, his son said.

As a Mason, Mr. Hoag was a Shriner and a Jester, a member of the South Hills Country Club, Pittsburgh Athletic Association, Duquesne Hunting and Fishing Club and the Duquesne Club.

In addition to his son Michael, Mr. Hoag is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Mary Fulton Hoag; sons, William Hoag Jr. of Ohio, Robert Hoag II of Bethel Park, Thomas Hoag of Elizabeth and Richard Hoag of Presto; 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; and a sister, Mary Alice Harrison of Peters.

Visitation is 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today at Beinhauers, 2828 Washington Road, McMurray, where a service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Entombment will be in Jefferson Memorial Park, Pleasant Hills.

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