Charles E. (Chuck) Hoover III, president of Hoover Color, passed away at his home in Blacksburg, VA, on Jan. 17, 2013, just shy of his 78th birthday.
“Chuck,” as he was known to friends and family, was born in Flushing, NY to the late Charles E. Hoover Jr. and Jessie Heerlein Hoover, and grew up in Maplewood, NJ. It was there that he met and married his wife, Diane Schueler Hoover. A graduate of Albright College, Reading, PA, he was a co-captain of the Albright Lions football team. After college, he joined the New Jersey National Guard, earning the rank of second lieutenant.
Chuck joined the family company, Hoover Color, in 1954 and became president in 1960. He held this post until his death. Mr. and Mrs. Hoover moved to Short Hills, NJ in 1961, where they raised their three children. They moved to Blacksburg in 1989.
His son, Charles E. (Chuck) Hoover V, recalled that his father always told him that “’Business is the friends you make.’ When people first heard this expression from my father, they sometimes were taken aback because it sounded a little manipulative,” “But once you knew my father, the clearer the meaning was. The expression has many meaning to us at Hoover Color.
His son went on to explain, “In this day and age, if your products are not of acceptable quality, you are not offering your products at a competitive price or if you are not providing acceptable service, your products will not even be considered. So if you and your competitor are selling similar products at similar prices, who does the customer buy from? He buys from the ‘friend’ he has learned to trust.
“My father also used the expression to define his feeling about work. ‘A truly successful person is one who has incorporated work into his life.’ If the people you work with are your friends and you get satisfaction from the work itself, you will be happy in life,” his son added about his dad.
Mr. Hoover had a keen sense of business, and was able to revamp the family business as times changed.
“From a business point of view, his biggest accomplishment was being able to transform Hoover Color as market demands changed,” Charles Hoover V said. “When he joined the business in 1954, there was no colorant business. My great-grandfather had been in the paint business and had built Hoover Color as a custom pigment blender, making the exact color people needed.
“As the colorant business evolved in the 1960s and 1970s, the need for custom pigment blends shrank,” he added. “In his 1970 acquisition of the facility in Virginia, my father transformed Hoover Color from a pigment blending company to being a primary manufacturer. He was also very good at getting people to reach a consensus, and helped the pigment industry work together during his tenure as president of the Color Pigment Manufacturers Association (CPMA).”
When not at work Chuck enjoyed traveling, football and “puttering around” when not at work. He was an avid skier and loved to ski at their homes in Vermont and Colorado with his family and friends; his family noted that Mr. Hoover departed this world as the first big snowstorm of the year blanketed Blacksburg.
Daniel Canavan Sr., president and CEO for D. B. Becker Co., Inc., knew Mr. Hoover for nearly 25 years, and said he was both a leader and a gentleman.
“Chuck was a gentlemen in the truest sense of the word, and I doubt if there are many men in our chemical industry who possess his depth and knowledge and his high regard for others,” Mr. Canavan said. “Chuck Hoover was a leader in the development of inorganic pigments for usage in paints, inks, coatings, sealants, plastics, construction-concrete, artist paints and colors.
“Chuck was genuine,” Mr. Canavan added. “There was nothing artificial because it came from the heart. Chuck will be greatly missed, as the industry has lost a a man of great leadership and conviction to our industry.”
Charles Hoover V said that he has received numerous condolence notes over the passing of his father, as he touched so many lives.
“In many of the condolence notes that I’ve received from my father’s business friends, I heard one of my father’s expressions over and over again: ‘Hoover Dumb Luck,’” his son noted. “As one friend said, this wasn't dumb at all. What it really was a combination of ‘preparation meeting opportunity,’ along with a philosophy that ‘everything comes with patience.’ My father felt that luck sometimes needed to be nudged in the right direction, but if you were prepared and patience, things had a way of falling into place.”
Mr. Hoover is survived by Diane, his wife of 55 years; their three children and their spouses – Charles and Therese Hoover, Kristopher and Elizabeth Hoover, and Allison and John Hamborsky – and a brother W. David Hoover. He was also the proud grandfather of seven grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Chuck to the Sojourn Center, P.O. Box 295, Blacksburg, VA 24063 (a planned residential hospice center for the New River Valley, www.sojourncenter.org) or the Blacksburg United Methodist Church, 111 Church St. SE, Blacksburg, VA 24060, (www.blacksburgmc.org).
A memorial service will be held for Mr. Hoover at the Blacksburg United Methodist Church on Feb 9, 2013 at 2:00 p.m.