John Hoult

#232 - John Hoult. The character and the ability of the late John Hoult, one of the prominent furniture manufacturers of Grand Rapids, found expression in worthy ideals and service, in honest and earnest endeavor as one of the world’s productive workers, and in a success-potency that gained to him prosperity and prestige in connection with the industrial activities of his home city. Mr. Hoult, whose death occurred June 15, 1915, was born in Toronto, Canada, January 21, 1862, of English parentage. His apprenticeship in the furniture manufacturing business was served in the factory of the Jakes & Hayes Company, and his early educational advantages were those of the public schools. He was a young man when he went to Rochester, New York, and there he gave effective service as manager of one of the largest furniture concerns in the city, that of the Mingus & Shale Furniture Company. In 1891 he came to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to assume the position of manager of the Gunn Furniture Company, and in this connection he was largely instrumental in acquiring for the company its patents on sectional bookcases. He remained with this company fourteen years, and then, in 1904, he became manager and in 1908 president of the Luce Furniture Company, with which successful manufacturing corporation he thus continued his able executive service until the time of his death. He was an active and valued member of the Grand Rapids Furniture Manufacturers’ Association, and at the time of his death was treasurer of the Furniture Manufacturers Mutual Insurance Company of Grand Rapids. Mr. Hoult was a man of great civic loyalty and progressiveness, and was one of the leaders in the promotion of the New Pantlind Hotel, he having been a director of the company that erected this fine modern hotel in Grand Rapids and also a member of the finance committee of the company. His genial, buoyant and kindly nature gained to him friends in all circles of business and social order. He was independent in politics and was a member of the advisory board of the Fountain Street Baptist Church, of which he was a zealous member, as is also his widow. He was affiliated with the Masonic fraternity, including the Mystic Shrine, and was one of the most popular members of Grand Rapids Lodge, No. 48, B. P. O. E. He was a member of the Peninsular, the Quashtanong and the Highlands Country clubs and of the last named club he was the president four years. In the year 1882 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Hoult to Miss Florence Louise Shain, who was born and reared in the province of Ontario, Canada, and since the death of her husband she has continued her residence in Grand Rapids, where her attractive home is at 246 Madison street. Of the nine children, six survive the honored father and all remain in Grand Rapids: Bertha Louise (Mrs. Martin J. Dregge), William Albert (associated with the Luce Furniture Company), Irene Ruth (Mrs. Harold Buck), John Hampton (with the Luce Furniture Company), and Thomas Ford and Florence Katherine. In conclusion of this brief memoir are entered extracts from an article that appeared in the Michigan Tradesman at the time of the death of Mr. Hoult; "His nature was honest, rugged and kind-nothing artificial or pretentious. He was self-reliant, with every faculty trained in the school of practical life. His genial nature and generous and responsive heart made him fast friends among his workmen and fellow manufacturers. He became successful because he was intelligently industrious, preeminently practical, and had in him the greatest courage to put through any undertaking attempted; he became popular because he was just and kind and generous. He was loved by his workmen because he knew life by living it with them and because he had shared in it by his own toil. The large business developed by his energy, survives him and stands as a monument to him. * * * His life served as an example and inspiration to countless others."


Transcriber: Pat Frey
Created: 7 February 2003