Harold M. Hayslett

BORN: December 26, 1917
DIED: February 14, 2018
LOCATION: South Charleston, West Virginia

Harold M. Hayslett

Harold M. Hayslett, 100, of South Charleston died February 14, 2018 at home.

Born in Putnam County, WV, on December 26, 1917, Harold is the son of James and Maude Mae Hayslett.  He was married to Louise Carpenter Hayslett for 64 years until her death in 2010.  Harold was predeceased by all his siblings:  Arnatha Lawson, Daryl Hayslett, Janet Joyce and Paul Hayslett.

During World War II, Harold served as Staff Sergeant in E Troop of the 106th Cavalry Squadron of the Third Army in France for four years. After the war he and Louise moved to South Charleston where he worked at Carbide and she served as the city librarian.  They were active members of First Baptist Church of South Charleston.

Known as an award-winning luthier, Harold made 86 violins, 14 violas, 65 cellos, one bass viol and 6 bows some of which are played in symphonies worldwide.  At the Violin Society of America International Competition and Exhibition in 1980, Harold was awarded the gold medal for cello tone.  He was included in the Governor’s Arts and Letters Series in 1991.  In 1996, a video Building a Cello with Harold was released.

In 2016 Harold was presented with the Governor’s Arts Award.  He is included in the West Virginia Encyclopedia, has a permanent exhibit at the West Virginia Culture Center and is listed in The Violin Makers of the United States.

Harold is survived by his daughters, Deborah M. Hayslett and Dr. Carolyn H. Suppa; son-in-law, Michael Suppa; granddaughters Cara Michelle Suppa and Dr. Laura Suppa Sammons; and grandson-in-law, Dr. Shawn Sammons.

Visitation will be at Snodgrass Funeral Home in South Charleston from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Sunday, February 18, 2018 followed by a prayer service officiated by the Reverend Hilda Alsop. Music will be provided by Bobby Taylor, Joseph Cevallos, and David Fortner.  Burial will follow the service in Teays Hill Cemetery, St. Albans.

Online condolences may be sent through Snodgrass Funeral home at

Snodgrass Funeral Home, South Charleston, is handling the arrangements.

8 replies
  1. Debbie Findley Morris says:

    Debbie and Carolyn, I am so sorry for your loss. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Sincerely, Debbie Findley Morris

  2. Paul Moore, Jr, Linda McCollam Moore, Paul Moore III, and Jeremy Newman says:

    Our family is saddened to hear of the loss of one of the finest men any of us was ever privileged to know. Harold was literally a lifelong friend of each of us in varied ways. Paul, Jr., knew Harold throughout his life as a neighbor, family friend, church member, and musician… His accolades of Harold could not be surpassed (also true of Paul’s parents). Paul heard musicians of international symphonies hail Harold’s instruments as some of the finest in the world! Linda knew, loved, and enjoyed Harold for nearly 60 years. Jeremy and Trey knew and respected him their entire lives as well.
    As accomplished as he was in his duly chosen field, Harold was absolutely one of the kindest, most highly respected, and at the same time enjoyable conversationalists with whom any of us had the privilege of sharing time. We all felt comfortable in his home any time we visited, and we loved being in his presence, chatting about any topic.
    Harold will be ever remembered and always missed by our family. However, we are thankful for the knowledge that Harold is finally in his rightful place, held tenderly and securely in the arms of angels in God’s presence.

  3. Taylor Raab says:

    Ms. Hayslett (Debbie),
    I am so sorry for your loss. I am a former English student of yours and will always remember you speaking fondly of your father and his making of musical instruments. I remember years later seeing his work at the Culture Center and at the home of mine and my daughters violin teacher, L. John Lambros. Your family is in my prayers.

  4. Rodney A. Pyles says:

    Deborah and family, I was so sorry to read of the passing of your father. Years ago when I was living in Charleston he restrung a bow for me. He will be sorely missed by all the musicians he has assisted through the years. Prayers and condolences to you and your family. May God bless and comfort you during this difficult time.

  5. Tim Warner says:

    I am the proud owner of Mr. Hayslett’s first cello. I used it as a student intern in the Charleston Symphony, the all state high school orchestra, and beyond. I still play it regularly, mostly in classical and Celtic music. It continues to bring me joy. His instruments are a lasting contribution to music, and really to humanity.

  6. Kathy Blasdel says:

    Debbie and Carolyn,

    Often, your west coast cousins reminisce fondly of both of you, and your parents, and our pleasurable visits to WV. What a great and loving family legacy! So proud to be an extended part of it.

    Your Kathy

  7. Henry Vinson JD says:

    I was saddened to learn of the death of Mr. Hayslett. He touched many people over his long life. He was an exceptionally gifted man. He will be forever remembered by his many, many friends. My heartfelt condolences to the Hayslett family. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  • Sunday, February 18
    1:00 PM to 3:00 PM, Prayer Service to follow
  • Snodgrass Funeral Home
  • 4122 MacCorkle Avenue SW
    South Charleston, WV 25309-1512
  • (304) 768-7324
  • Directions


  • Sunday, February 18
    Following Visitation & Prayer Service
  • Teays Hill Cemetery
  • Saint Albans, WV 25177
  • Directions