Neil Eugene Bolyard, 89, of Morgantown, passed away peacefully Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, at the Harmony at Morgantown. He was born Aug. 30, 1932, in Fellowsville, (Preston County), a son of the late Cecil Bolyard and Chloe Shahan Bolyard. He was a graduate of Morgantown High School and West Virginia University with a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in counseling. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Morgantown where he served as an elder, deacon, choir member and usher.
Neil had a distinguished career in education, serving as a teacher at Suncrest-Flatts Junior High School, as a cartographer with the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey, a scholarship and Veterans coordinator at West Virginia University and as director of student financial aid from 1969-1997. He had two temporary leaves from WVU, the first serving as an assistant director of the Basic Grants (later named PellGrants) Training Project in Washington, D.C. This project involved training all secondary high school guidance counselors and financial aid personnel in the United States over a four month period in 1974. The second leave was in 1987-88. He was responsible for the administration of the Student Loan Guaranty Agency for the state of West Virginia. He was president of the Higher Education Loan Program and vice president of the Higher Education Assistance Foundation with offices in Charleston.
When he returned from Charleston in 1988, he was one of the three individuals assigned the responsibility of developing the Scholars Program at WVU. Following his retirement in 1997, he became a consultant for financial aid services in Atlanta with assignments from New York to California and from Pennsylvania to Georgia. He also worked with American Education Services in Harrisburg, Pa. He later returned to WVU in a part-time capacity as an assistant to the director of admissions and records with responsibilities for establishing academic eligibility for all NCAA athletes at WVU.
He was a member of Phi Delta Kappa (education honorary) and served as chapter president. He was also a member of Kappa Delta Pi (education honorary) and Sigma Nu (social fraternity). He was a past member of the Morgantown Jaycees and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks #411. He was a life member of Post 2 American Legion, where he served as commander and a life member of the VFW, Post 14000. He was a member of the Joseph W. Summers Lodge #173 of the Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, the Rotary Club of Cheat Lake, the Mountaineer Athletic Club and the Morgantown Touchdown Club. Professional memberships included the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (president 1977-78), the Midwest ASFAA and the West Virginia ASFAA, where he also served as president. He was a fellow in the Society for Advancement of Financial Aid Management in Higher Education and served as chairman of the board of directors. Neil served on numerous national, regional and state advisory committees. Organizations included the College Entrance Examination Board, College Scholarship Service, American College Testing Program, West Virginia State Grant Programs, U.S. Office of Education, Cabot Corporation Scholarship Program, Student Loan Marketing Association (Sallie Mae) and the WV Education Loan Program.
He also served a term as a director of the American Council of Education. He was a charter member of the WVU Student Affairs Hall of Fame. He held lifetime memberships in the national, regional and state associations. This is the highest honor awarded by the national group. Neil was one of only six individuals to receive this recognition during the first 36 years of NASFAA’s history.
He received Distinguished Service Awards from national, regional and state professional groups. He was named a Distinguished West Virginian by Governor Arch Moore in 1971. Governor Hulett Smith awarded Neil the West Virginia Department of Veterans Affairs Meritorious Service Award in 1965. Neil’s service was with the U.S. Army 43rd Armored Infantry Battalion, 2nd Armored Division during the 1950s.
Neil also served in voluntary capacities with several organizations, including the Mountaineer Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Monongalia County 4-H (Horse and Pony Club), Monongalia County Riding for the Handicapped, Morgantown Area Meals on Wheels and the American Legion Mountaineer Boys State. He served the Dominion Post Honor Boy-Honor Girl program as a judge or coordinator of judging from 1967-1992.
Neil Enjoyed traveling and visited all 50 state capitols. He also traveled in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe. He was an avid Mountaineer fan, rarely missing football or basketball games and attended most bowl games beginning in 1969. He was named Most Loyal Mountaineer during Mountaineer Week in 2002. Neil was also the recipient of the David W. Jacobs Lifetime Service Award in 2018.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Jerrie Wick Bolyard in 1991; two sisters, Dortha Bolyard Harshberger and Evelyn Bolyard Hatmaker; and a brother, Glenn Earl Bolyard. He is survived by his daughter, Lisa Ann Hassen and husband Thomas; a granddaughter, Lauryl Elizabeth Hassen and partner Jacob Keener; a grandson, Patrick Neil Hassen; and two grandchildren, Kayden Jacob Kenner and Jaxon Thomas Keener, all of Morgantown. He is also survived by a long time companion, Irene Liberatore, of Morgantown, and many members of Irene’s family.
Visitation will be at Dering-Henson Funeral Home, 156 Foundry St., Morgantown, from 11 a.m. until the noon memorial service on Thursday, Oct. 21, with Pastor Rich Schimansky officiating. Inurnment will follow in the Beverly Hills Memorial Gardens, Westover.
In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to WVU Foundation, 1 Waterfront Place, 7th Floor, Morgantown, WV 26501, in support of either the Financial Aid Office or WVU Athletics and also the Alzheimer’s Association, 1601 2nd Ave., Charleston, WV 25387.
Caring services are being provided by Dering-Henson Funeral Home.