Eric Howell Wyant, 94, died peacefully on March 2, 2020, at his home in Lovettsville, surrounded by his loving family.
Eric was born in Great Falls on Oct. 25, 1925, the youngest of six children of Ashby and Cecil Wyant. He was preceded in death by his siblings and his beloved wife of 67 years, Joyce Hornsby Wyant.
Eric spent most of his life in Great Falls and Oakton, and as a very young man took on the responsibility of his family’s farm after his father’s sudden death. A proud member of the Greatest Generation, Eric was drafted at the outbreak of World War II and served in the Navy, providing care for sailors with mental health problems.
Eric had a naturally positive outlook, never complained, and saw his life as a blessing. He was an industrious and hard worker who took on many jobs to provide for his family, including working as a butcher for the Safeway food store chain and teaching himself carpentry and building skills. In 1960, Eric and Joyce opened Great Falls Boarding Kennels, which is still operated by their daughter Janet. No doubt, one of Eric’s greatest feats was surviving teaching his four daughters to drive. His calm, steady demeanor made him a powerful source of strength for his family and community.
Eric was an active and faithful member of Great Falls United Methodist Church. He took on countless jobs as part of his church service, particularly sharing his expertise in making apple butter. For years, the highlight of the Fall Bazaar was seeing Eric and other members of the Methodist Men’s Club tirelessly stirring the huge copper kettle of apple butter.
Eric built his dream home on his farm in Lovettsville, and he and Joyce moved to the farm full-time in 1990. Once settled, Eric helped found the Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum and became an active member of the Lovettsville Farmer’s Club, where he found great friendships that blessed his final years. He had farmer’s hands – big, rough, and calloused from hard work but caring, kind hands that reached out to anyone in need. One of his biggest delights came through raising a huge number of tomatoes so he could take boxfuls to church to share the bounty from his farm.
Eric’s humor and compassion touched the lives of countless people. Above all, Eric was devoted to his family. He is survived by his four daughters, Susan Wyant (Chris Parios), Diane Wyant, Janet Wyant, and Lori W. Rockwell; three grandchildren, Erika (Robert), Austin (Ericka), and Brandon (Contessa) Rockwell; and one greatgrandchild, Lilyana Rockwell.
A memorial service to celebrate Eric’s life will be held at his home on April 19th at 2 p.m. One of Eric’s great joys during his final months was music. The family would be honored if donations in tribute to Eric are made to the Blue Ridge Hospice Music Therapy Program (333 W Cork St #405, Winchester, VA 22601; 800-238-5678).