Centenarian Celebrations: Harold Hayslett

Harold Hayslett
Submitted by Ed Ballard, Regional Director, Carbide Retiree Corps (CRC)

- February 15, 2018 - In December, my wife and I visited with Harold Hayslett and his daughter, Debbie, to celebrate his 100th birthday and give him the traditional CRC blanket along with letters of recognition. It was another enlightening experience with a centenarian sharing his life and accomplishments.

He was born in Putnam County, West Virginia. Similar to other centenarians we have met, Harold served four years in the Army. Most of his time was in France with the 106th Cavalry of the Third Army. After his discharge, he returned to West Virginia. He married Louise Carpenter and they settled in South Charleston, West Virginia. He began working for Union Carbide and she became the city librarian. They had two daughters, Deborah and Carolyn. Harold retired from Carbide as a pipefitter.

While working at Carbide, Harold had a hobby that later became an additional career. He made 86 violins, 14 violas, 65 cellos, one bass violin and six bows – some of which are played in symphonies worldwide. At the Violin Society of America International Competition and Exhibition in 1980, he was awarded the gold medal for cello tone. Harold was also presented the Governor’s Arts Award in 2016. He is included in the West Virginia Encyclopedia and is listed in the Violin Makers of the United States. In 1996, a video, “Building a Cello with Harold,” was released. There is a permanent exhibit in the West Virginia Culture Center of his work. Harold was featured in a DowFriends article several years ago.

He leaves a legacy of continued involvement and contribution to society.