BROCKWAY — Ronald Hugh Holt was born July 26, 1938, the third child of Herbert Samuel and Bertha Elizabeth “Betty” Holt. His father was in construction and had been building roads near Pittsburgh when he met Betty, who was a school teacher from Vandergrift.
In his adult life, Ronald took on the persona of his father and became known around the home area as “Herbie.”
Herbie had three siblings: Edward, JoAnn and Emily (now deceased). Herbie was married to Mary Belle Moore at the Beechtree Union Church on Jan. 14, 1960, just five days after she had reached her 18th birthday, an age requirement set by her father, Gordon Moore.
Herbie and Mary Belle raised three sons, who now work together at ROMIDA, a public utility company with three divisions: Hugh Water Services (Michael); Hugh Bottled Water (David); and Holt Drilling (Ronnie) with all the related services that go along with the businesses.
Michael Holt is the middle son and serves as president of ROMIDA. He is married to the former Heidi Alvetro. They have the only two grandsons of Herbie and Mary Belle – Cody and Matthew.
The rest of the grandchildren are girls. Ronnie’s daughters are Lee Ann and Tiffanie. Tiffanie has also provided the only great-grandchild in the family so far. David is married to Laura Lindemuth of Hazen and they have two daughters: Hannah and Karissa.
When George Miller accepted the position as teacher of vocational agriculture in the fall of 1953, Herbie signed up as a student in George’s very first class. Herbie is a member of the Brockway High School Class of 1957.
After high school, Herbie found a job as driver of a milk-tank truck, and then worked at the glass plant. At the time when he and Mary Belle were married, he had a job as press set-up man at Brockway Pressed Metals. He spent some time as an oiler on Tom Minns Coal Company’s dragline operated by his dad doing open-pit mining. Then in 1965, he began working for his brother’s trucking company out of Cleveland.
Herbie worked as an over-the-road trucker from 1965 through his retirement from Preston 151-Line in 2000, just about the time that company announced plans to close down on Herbie’s 61st birthday. He had earned an award for driving more than 1 million miles without an accident, and was regularly assigned as an evaluator of new drivers.
Although Herbie was working out of town as his boys were growing up, they found time to work together in raising rabbits and pigs on the farm and hunting whatever happened to be in season. He formed a crew to cut browse and trim trees in the area forests.
For more than 25 years, he organized annual canoe trips that reached a high of 66 boats at the peak year. There were memorable campfires and the whole family learned to square dance.
In retirement, Herbie fills in as a substitute driver for the Snyder Township road crew.
When his son Michael became involved with the Brockway Area Kaimanns, Herbie wanted to join, too. He has become a behind-the-scenes leader who even hosts the annual new officers to a dinner at his own house. He is a director and is a hard worker for the 4th of July barbeque.
Herbie has always been a faithful member of the Sugar Hill Presbyterian Church where he has been a scripture reader. He helps with anything that is going on at the church.
In 1986, Herbie and Mary Belle booked a tour with friends to Hawaii and passed through California along the way. With this in mind, Mary Belle purchased tickets to The Price is Right with Bob Barker. When contestants were called to “Come on Down!” Herbie was one of them due to his colorful appearance and cowboy hat covered with pins. He may not have been the biggest winner of the day, but the whole audience was won by his appearance on the show.
Following a tradition begun by his father, Herbie has gathered a collection of unique and clever hats and caps that add to any occasion.