The Six family was selected to receive the 2013 Family Heritage Award for their success in business, church, education and industry. Coach Holtz often used the Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and he can eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he’ll live for a lifetime.” These appropriate words describe the descendants of Clarence and Roberta Hobbs Six of Chester, West Virginia.
Raised on a farm on Murray Road, where the virtue of hard work was a way of life for their four sons - Lester (deceased), Leonard, Norman and Wayne, these men stand out as shining examples of the adage that when opportunity comes calling, by some strange uncanny quirk, it often goes unrecognized, it so resembles work. And work they did, from farming to gathering coal and firewood, while attending school and serving their country, the Six Family represents the best the nation has to offer. Theirs is a story of opportunity, integrity, leadership and values that has not gone unnoticed in the Tri-State Area. Their path from past to present day has not been easy. As in every success story, there have been several steps backwards for one step forward, with military service, the spirit of community and church involvement, family commitment, all as underlying influence in their lives. The significance of athletics also represents a large portion of their story.
Starting with the oldest, Leonard and Lester, twin brothers, born in 1925, this would mean service with the U.S. Navy during WWII, followed by employment at Crucible and Weirton Steel, respectively.
Leonard retired from Weirton Steel when his career path led to a job in the family-owned Brush Creek Coal Company and, eventually, employment as an inspector with Grant Public Service Water Department. A devoted family man, Leonard married Mable Moore and the couple had two children, who gave them five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. As a lifetime member of the First Christian Church in Chester, he has taught Sunday School, been a camp counselor, operated the sound system, visited the infirm and driven the church bus.
Lester began working at Mike Turk Motors before gaining employment at Crucible Steel. He eventually returned to school, earning a degree in machine shop training and his high school diploma at J.D. Rockefeller Vocational Tech. Lester married Evelyn Allen and together they had four children, 13 grandchildren, and 21 great-grandchildren. A blacksmith by trade and avocation, he turned his love of hammering and anvil into an art. He became a familiar figure at Beaver Creek State Park, where he volunteered and displayed his craftwork. Helping others was an essential part of Lester’s life. From plowing his neighbor’s snow to thawing pipes, as well as performing mission work in Peru and Mexico, he lived his faith prior to his death.
The next born, Norman, in 1933 has been involved in coaching, recycling, hospitality and demolition, there are jew jobs this University of Iowa graduate has not done. After a stint with the U.S. Army he took a job with Crucible Steel prior to following his first love, teaching and coaching in the East Liverpool School system. Married to the former JoAnne Wehner, they are the proud parents of eight children, 20 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Norm is the ultimate entrepreneur, from keeping the fire burning at the Washington School House to pallet manufacturing, coal mining, cattle raising, teaching, coaching, real estate, demolition, hotel ownership, scrap yard-cycling dealership and senior Olympics participation.
The baby of the family, Wayne, born in 1936 followed in his brother’s footsteps. He served in the military twice, and worked in the steel industry before going into the construction and heavy equipment industry. Wayne commenced general contracting work at Crucible Steel, following his second stint with the U.S. Army, and later became a familiar figure on the Newell Bridge, where he virtually rebuilt the structure. He has done the same with the Market Street Bridge in Steubenville. In addition he has completed major construction projects for the Quaker State Refinery, Globe Brick and Homer Laughlin China. Married to the former Wanda Godwin, they have three children, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.From his first inaugural address, January 20, 1971, President Reagan said, “Those who say that we’re in a time when there are no heroes, they just don’t know where to look.” After perusing the above, we think people of the Upper Ohio Valley will agree - there are still American heroes.