Hylton, William Thomas

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On Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, it pleased God to take William Thomas Hylton, 87, to his heavenly home. He passed away at LewisGale Montgomery hospital in Blacksburg with his wife, Dorothea, by his side. A mining engineer who worked in the coal industry across America, and an alumnus of Virginia Tech, he and his wife retired to Blacksburg a number of years ago.

Mr. Hylton was a native of Floyd, Virginia, the third child and only son of the late Cephas Alvin Hylton and his wife Louetta Bishop. The family had deep roots in Southwestern Virginia. At the time of his birth in 1928, his father was sheriff of Floyd County, Virginia.

His father held the post of sheriff for 16 years, much of it during Prohibition, and then moved the family to farm in Radford around 1938 where they raised Angus cattle. It was there that Mr. Hylton reached his adulthood. The tall, handsome young man had completed a year at Virginia Tech when he met Dorothea White of Chatham, a student at Radford College. The two were married in 1952 in Chatham. He was drawn to both the geological and mechanical aspects of mining engineering, and he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering in 1956.

During an era when coal powered America’s industry, Mr. Hylton held supervisory positions at a number of companies, including CONSOL, Eastern Associates, Lykes, John Hardesty, Anchor Coal, and Utah Power and Light. His career took the family to Fairmont, West Virginia, Eighty Four, Pennsylvania, Athens, Ohio, Morganton, West Virginia, and Price, Utah.

Mr. Hylton was an accomplished hunter and fisherman and a stalwart Virginia Tech fan who held season tickets to Hokies football. Not many years ago, he donated his collection of rare mining memorabilia to the Virginia Tech mining engineering department.

Mr. Hylton’s broad interests and natural friendliness drew family and friends close. He loved history and the natural world, frequently visiting historic battlefields, monuments and national parks, and he was generous in sharing his insights and learning with others. He was blessed with a deep sense of humor, and his voice held the low and melodious tones so distinctive of his native county. He inherited an interest in politics from his father and was a lifelong Republican. Once he made a friend, it was for life, and he took it as his duty and honor to help others. He was an avid reader who preferred mysteries, especially those of Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler. He was a Presbyterian all of his life.

Mr. Hylton belonged to that vanishing generation of honorable men who did not openly display their affection but whose love was nonetheless boundless. He and his wife raised a wonderful family. Survivors include: his wife, Dot Hylton, of the home; son William Thomas Hylton II of Port Huron, Michigan; son Richard Alvin Hylton of Morgantown, West Virginia; son David Stuart Hylton of Huntsville, Alabama, and his wife, Stacy; and son Robert Alan Hylton of Summerville, South Carolina, and his wife, Cindy Lea. Also, grandchildren James Hylton of Boulder, Colorado and Holland, Michigan; Will Hylton of Big Rapids, Michigan; Katherine Elizabeth Hylton of Raleigh, North Carolina; Kirsten Anne Tjarks of Huntsville, Alabama; Amy Hylton Cooke of Spring Grove, Pennsylvania; Jennifer Radovich of Arvada, Colorado; and Robert Alexander and Elizabeth Grace Hylton of Summerville, South Carolina, and great-grandchildren Dylan Cooke and Lillian and Juliette Radovich. Mr. Hylton was predeceased by his sisters, Geneva Elsie Hylton Chumbley and Marguerite Faye (Peggy) Hylton. His grandparents were James A. and Hannah (Keith) Hylton and James Thomas and Mary Ann (Caldwell) Bishop.

Mr. Hylton will be laid to rest in the town of his birth. A memorial service will be held Saturday, November 7, 2015 at 2 p.m. in the Northside Presbyterian Church in Blacksburg. Arrangements by McCoy Funeral Home, Blacksburg.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be sent to Northside Presbyterian Church, 1017 Progress Street, NW, Blacksburg, VA 24060, or Wounded Warriors Project.