FALLING WATERS, W.Va. — Although involved in Scouting only briefly as a youth, Billy Hose lived a life that exemplified the motto of service to others.
He plunged in headfirst as an adult Scout leader.
And, after 40 years of volunteering, most of it done with his wife, Dorothy “Dottie” Hose, he was rewarded with the Distinguished Vigil and Silver Beaver awards — the highest volunteer awards offered by the Boy Scouts of America, among others.
In 2009, the Bill and Dottie Hose Pavilion was dedicated at Camp Sinoquipe in Fort Littleton, Pa., in honor of all their years of service.
“They were a husband-and-wife team,” said middle son, Dennis Hose of Carlisle, Pa.
Debbie Hose, wife of youngest son, Rick Hose, said the minister noted at the funeral it was impossible to talk about one without the other because they were always together.
Billy lived on Spruce Street in Hagerstown’s South End for about 60 years. He grew up in the 800 block and moved three houses away to the 700 block after he married Dottie, said his son, Rick of Hagerstown.
The couple moved to Falling Waters, W.Va., several years before Billy’s retirement from the Pangborn Corp. as a machinist in 1993 after 41 years. His father, brother and oldest son Steve also worked there.
When Mack Trucks opened and offered to pay of $1 more per hour, Billy remained loyal to Pangborn.
Billy attended Hagerstown High School, but quit school in 1947 to join the Army Air Corps, which became the U.S. Air Force.
Dennis said family lore holds that Billy lied about his age and faked his mother’s signature on his application, then waited until two weeks before he left for basic training to tell her.
“The story fits his personality,” Dennis said.
After serving as a supply sergeant in Germany during the Berlin Airlift, he was stationed at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala.
Dottie Faulk lived about a mile from the base, and she and her girlfriends volunteered there.
“He met Mom on a blind date right after Germany,” Dennis said.
Billy got Dottie home a few minutes late for curfew one night, and her father wouldn’t let Billy see her anymore. The women in the family intervened, and Dottie’s father showed up at the base to tell Billy he could resume dating Dottie.
Dottie was to graduate from high school in May 1950, but instead, she quit school to marry Billy in February 1950, much to her parents’ dismay.
It was the beginning of a 55-year marriage of deep devotion, love and service to others.
The newlyweds honeymooned in Washington, D.C., then lived with Billy’s parents until moving into their own Spruce Street home.
Billy promised Dottie that he would take her home for Christmas, so for 15 consecutive Christmases, they’d pack up the family and drive all day and all night for an Alabama homecoming. Son Steve was born in 1952; Dennis in 1954; and Rick in 1957.
The Hoses were “a very close family,” eating Sunday dinners together, gathering for holidays and often vacationing together.
Several holidays were shared with family milestones — the Hoses were married on Groundhog Day, Dottie’s birthday was on St. Patrick’s Day, and Rick was born on July Fourth.
“They treated each of us daughter-in-laws like we were theirs,” Debbie said, as she wiped away tears. That included inviting the in-laws’ families to celebrations.
“Everyone was invited,” Rick said.
Dennis remembers many weekends of camping, including Memorial Day weekends at Gettysburg, Pa,. with a group of other families.
“As a kid, that was a highlight. We got introduced to some good stuff as kids,” Rick said.
The Hose sons all graduated from South Hagerstown High. Billy and Dottie were fixtures at home and away South High football games, rooting for Steve and Rick on the football team and Dennis in the band.
They continued going to games even after their sons had moved on.
“I think they would be the first ones there,” said Rick, noting that his parents could walk to the stadium and sat in seats near the band.
There are four grandchildren, and they attended as many of their activities as possible, as well.
Dennis was a student at the University of Maryland College Park when Billy and Dottie started going to Terrapin football games. They became avid tailgaters and used to take a conversion van or travel trailers to home and away games, including games in Virginia and Memphis and to the Gator Bowl.
“We’re still going. This will be our 37th year,” said Rick, although they used to get 11 season tickets and are now down to four.
“We had a bunch of fun together. That was important to him. He enjoyed that.”
Food was a hallmark of Hose gatherings. Dottie was raised a Southern Pentecostal, so didn’t approve of drinking and didn’t want to see her family and friends openly drinking alcohol at tailgates.
The bountiful tailgate spreads were renowned, and the Hoses adopted one of the parking lot attendants, inviting him to join their gatherings. He even came up from Washington, D.C., for Thanksgiving dinner the year before Dot died.
“I call it friendship with food,” Dennis said.
“That was that Southern hospitality coming out,” Rick said.
Church was important to the Hoses and they attended “that little church on Spruce Street,” now called Higher Ground Ministries, Rick said.
Committed to Scouting
It was in 1964 that Billy and Dottie got involved with the Mason-Dixon Council of Boy Scouts of America, with their sons in Cub Scout Pack 56 and Pack 101.
Dottie did den-mother training for Cub Scouts, while Bill was a Cubmaster and Webelos leader and became a registered Scouter (adult leader), serving as Scoutmaster and assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 101.
Even though Billy was no longer active, he recently had Dennis renew his Scouter registration because it was so important to him.
That connection led them to get involved with Camp Sinoquipe, where the couple cooked for big work weekends and Order of the Arrow conclaves. They attended Friday night closing campfires throughout the year.
“That was their No. 1 love. They did a lot for that camp,” Rick said.
“When people knew Mom and Dad were cooking at Sinoquipe, people came just for the food. They served a hot meal for every meal. That was their big thing. You didn’t leave hungry,” Rick said.
They remained committed to Scouting long after their sons were no longer in it, although all three sons carried on his parents’ mission as Scout volunteers. Dennis remains active and has been a Scout volunteer for 37 years, even though he doesn’t have a son.
Steve’s son, Brian, is an Eagle Scout.
Billy and Dottie’s love for each other was so strong that Rick didn’t think his father was ever the same after her death in 2005.
Still, he carried on with his family’s support, although he wasn’t taking care of himself, which was detrimental to his health since he was diabetic.
Bill had been recuperating nicely at Williamsport Nursing Home from an infection, then started having chest pains. He went into respiratory failure, his kidneys started shutting down and he died.
“It was like his battery ran out,” Dennis said.
Editor’s note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail runs “A Life Remembered.” Each story in this continuing series takes a look back — through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others — at a member of the community who died recently. Today’s “A Life Remembered” is about Billy E. Hose who died March 26 at the age of 82. His obituary was published in the March 27 edition of The Herald-Mail.