Hoyt William Bangs, 64, of Berwyn, a building-supply company owner whose passion was carpentry, died Saturday, Jan. 12, of pancreatic cancer at Paoli Hospital.
Mr. Bangs liked to build things. Whether developing a company or renovating a home, he set the bar high for quality, his family said.
“Quality doesn’t cost. It pays,” he liked to say, according to his relatives.
He loved architectural details from the 1920s, such as beautiful wooden moldings. For the last eight years, operating from a workshop behind his house, he embellished his own home in Berwyn and those of customers on the Main Line and in Harrisburg.
The Berwyn house was his masterpiece. Though built in 1958, he redid it over 30 years to look like one from the 1920s, with stained glass windows, hand-made wooden garage doors, and copper embellishments on the outside.
“His true passion was building with wood,” his family said. “He loved to put a keystone above every door. He loved making things look regal. He loved to take a plain-looking home and give it some beautiful features.”
Born in Rockford, Ill., to Nesbitt Hoyt Bangs Jr. and Elizabeth Van Wagner Bangs, he graduated from Trinity High School in Camp Hill after his family moved to central Pennsylvania. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Elizabethtown College.
In 1978, intent on a career in telecommunications, Mr. Bangs moved to Philadelphia and joined International Business Machines Corp. He sold phone systems in the sales territory east of the Mississippi River, but found that his heart wasn’t in it.
“He wanted to build [something] more on his own,” said son Hoyt Van Wagner Bangs.
In 1993, Mr. Bangs bought the Budding Co., a building supply business with retail outlets in Horsham and Camp Hill. The firm sells lumber, masonry, and hard landscape products to contractors and do-it-yourselfers.
In 1982, he met Alice Persons at a beach bar in Avalon, N.J. They were married in 1983, and together renovated many residential properties, including a beach house in Stone Harbor.
In 1985, their son was born. That year, Mr. Bangs bought Horsham Valley Airways Inc. in Montgomery County. According to its Experian business data report, the firm provides helipad, flying field, and airport terminal services.
He redid the helicopter hangar and worked on helicopters for clients including NBC. He also purchased the Capital City Airport in New Cumberland, Pa., and refurbished the entire airport before selling it in 2009 so he could focus on home renovation projects.
In 1988, he bought the Hoffman Lumber Co., a building supplies retailer in West Chester. After a fire in 1994, Mr. Bangs helped rebuild the company at Union and Franklin Streets. He sold it in 2000.
Later in life, Mr. Bangs became savvy on social media. He and his son set up a website for the Budding Co. The firm now markets products to an international audience.
In the fall of 2018, Mr. Bangs was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. During his last days, he summoned friends and family to celebrate the lessons he had learned.
“At the end of the day, be true to yourself and God, and have fun building whatever you’re interested in,” he said.
In addition to his wife and son, he is survived by a sister and two brothers.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, in the Chapel of St. David's Episcopal Church, 763 S. Valley Forge Rd., Wayne. Burial is private.