Everyone knew Dolores Hoover by Dolly, which naturally led to some wordplay involving a famous musical.
"Hello, Dolly,” Diane Lane recalls. “It was a perfect name for her. When you saw her, it made you feel good.”
Diane and many others around Upper St. Clair got to know Dolly from her seemingly perpetual presence in the .
In fact, as Diane would drive home on Morrow Road past the gardens’ parking lot, she’d gotten used to seeing Dolly’s car. This spring, Diane realized the car hadn’t been around.
Then, at one of the farmers’ markets Dolly was found of frequenting, Diane discovered her friend had died on June 2. She was 85.
“They call this Dolly Lane over here,” Upper St. Clair resident Paula Henderson said during a recent visit to Boyce Gardens, pointing toward the main access road. “She’s an icon out here.”
Paula and friend Dena Wirth are proud to garden a plot, with a prime spot next to the parking area, that Dolly used to work.
Mrs. Hoover was longtime president of the Boyce Road Gardeners, a position new held by Jerry Kender, who acknowledges her leadership in allowing the group to continue to grow and harvest at the 40-acre site.
Murray Hoover, her husband for 58 years, often accompanied her to the gardens.
“That was more important to her than anything, outside of home,” said Murray, whose specialty is growing potatoes. "I helped here where I could, where she needed help, and tried to keep her happy."
Scott Lane, Diane’s son, was particularly impressed that Dolly continued to garden into her mid-80s.
“Besides the couple's produce, she also made the best homemade pies and sold them at the farmers’ market as well,” he recalled. “Many people may have known her for these amazing treats that were always a Sunday dinner staple when I would go to my parents’ house.”
His mother tends to agree: “She was a great pie maker.”
"My only regret is I didn't get together with her in the winter,” Diane continued. “We had talked about it, having her and Murray over to the house.”
Dolly’s husband said his wife made countless friends like the Lanes over the years.
“I can imagine she'll be missed,” he said. “I miss her.”