HOLLAND, Mass. (WWLP) – The man who pushed his son in a wheelchair at dozens of Boston Marathons has died.
According to his son Russell, Dick Hoyt passed away in his sleep, but he had been dealing with heart issues for the last two years. He lived to 80, and spent the last 35 years of his life as a Holland resident.
The Boston Marathon icon lived in the eastern Hampden county town of Holland. Its a small-knit community, so most people knew him and were very fond of him.
“Yeah, everybody does know him, I couldn’t go to a store without someone saying, ‘oh hey, you’re Rick’s son,’ so it feels good to know people do know him and appreciate him,” said Russell Hoyt, Dick’s son.
Dick Hoyt ran the Boston Marathon with Rick 36 times and also did six ironman triathlons.
“One of the trainers at my gym used to run alongside Dick and ran for the Hoyt racing team,” said Nick Wright of Brimfield. “I can’t even picture running in a marathon, I’m not a runner, I can’t imagine pushing a cart while running, that’s even crazier.”
Russell said it was Rick who sparked his dad’s enthusiasm with running, after their first race.
“Rick came home and got on his computer and typed out ‘Dad, when I am running it feels like my disability disappears,’ so not only my dad started to enjoy running, but it became a passion,” said Russell Hoyt.
Dick Hoyt’s story goes beyond just running. Before that, he was the Lieutenant Colonel for the Air National Guard’s 114th Fighter Wing at Barnes Regional Airport in Westfield.
The family is still working on funeral arrangements.