HARRISVILLE — Eldon James “Wimp” Haught, 80, of Prunty Rd., Smithville, and also Citra, Fla., died on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017 after a three and a half year battle with pancreatic cancer.
Eldon was born in Beatrice on Aug. 24, 1936, the son of the late Glenn L. and Bernice Robison Haught. He was a 1954 graduate of Harrisville High School and received an honorary degree from Alderson Broadus University. He was a charter member of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Dept. since joining in 1964. In 1969, Eldon helped form ALFAB Inc., a truck body company in Smithville that still thrives today. He, his brothers and others, were in the oil and gas drilling business until he left the company in 1977. He was a member of The Harrisville Baptist Church.
Eldon was recently inducted into the West Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame for his 35 years of service in the West Virginia Aeronautics Commission where he was instrumental in securing funding for many of the state’s airports. His proudest accomplishment was the purchase of a fire fighting simulator which is used by fire departments throughout the state to train firemen and airport firemen in procedures and fire safety of a burning aircraft. Eldon was also a licensed pilot. He was recently awarded the North Star Award from the National Boy Scouts of America for his dedication to scouting and his community service throughout West Virginia.
He was instrumental in securing funding through his good friend Senator Robert C. Byrd for the North Fork Lake and Dam project and later the Recreational Area which has been named the Eldon J. Haught Lakeside Recreation Area in Harrisville. Other awards and accomplishments include receiving the 2003 Jefferson Award, which was created by Jacqueline Kennedy and honors those for outstanding community service, 1999 Ritchie County Citizen of the Year, Community Service Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution for voluntary service. He served on the Mid Ohio Valley Regional Council for many years, was a past board member of The Union Bank of Harrisville, worked on helping to build and secure funding for the North Bend Rail Trail, Ritchie County High School weight room and access road and Ritchie Regional Health Center. He saved many jobs by funding a suitable office space in Harrisville for the DHHR with little hope of getting reimbursed for purchasing the building. He volunteered his time and equipment to remodel the home of Jessica Lynch to accommodate her rehabilitation from injuries she received in Iraq. There have been many more contributions, both large and small, that Wimp Haught has made to improve the lives of his fellow West Virginians. His commitment to public service has continued for more than 60 years and will be sorely missed.
He enjoyed travelling especially to Alaska, ziplining, skydiving, flying, farming in both West Virginia and Florida, and spending time with his grandchildren.
He is survived by his wife, Cynthia L. Torbeck-Haught; two daughters, Phyllis Haught and Kelley (Mart) Cunningham; five grandchildren, Cody Mills, Clinton Hardman, Ben Cunningham, Adam Cunningham, and Sarah Cunningham; two brothers, Alan (Cheryl) Haught, Warren (Lenna) Haught; three sisters, Oma Jean Lynch, Pam Stanley, and Karen (Kenton) Harris.
He was preceded in death by a sister, Ida Mae Parks and his son, Gregory Linn Haught.
Funeral services were held at 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017 at Harrisville Baptist Church with Pastor Robert Perine officiating. Burial will follow in the Deem Cemetery, Beatrice. Friends were received at Raiguel Funeral Home, Harrisville, Saturday, from 4-8 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Gregory Linn Haught Scholarship Fund, C/O Parkersburg Community Foundation, PO Box 1762, Parkersburg, WV 26102. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.McCulloughRaiguel.com.