Last July, at a family gathering, John rose from his seat, braced himself, and pointed to LaWanda, his wife of more than 52 years, and proclaimed, “ I would not be here if it were not for her.” He referred to her unconditional love and faithfulness as a wife and self-sacrificing and peerless care-giver. John and LaWanda exemplified Christian marriage and parenting. They devoted themselves to raise their sons, Greg and Scott, to love and serve God and their fellow human beings. They had grandparent pride in Rachel, Amanda, Jamison, Alyssa, Deidre and Jonathan to whom John was their beloved “Paw Paw.” Mildred Riley, his mother-in-law will miss his presence in their joint residence. There was a tight-knit bond between John and his surviving siblings, Arlene Brown, Kenneth Hoover, and Jerry Hoover. John’s departure was preceded by two brothers, Albert Louis Hoover (killed in WWII) and Thomas Hoover (U.S. Navy veteran). He had a cherished relationship with his late father-in-law, J.C. Riley (Pearl Harbor survivor).
The highlight of John’s life was his forty-year preaching ministry with churches of Christ. Having graduated at Paducah Tilghman High School in 1956, he trained formally for a lifetime of service at Freed-Hardeman University (A.A. Degree) and Murray State University (B.A. and M.A. Degrees). He touched literally thousands of lives for their good and God’s glory. He was known for his indiscriminate love and compassion for everyone. He ministered to the sick, helped the hurting, mended broken lives, comforted the bereaved and was a source of enthusiastic encouragement. His bond with youth enabled him to leave a legacy that will honor his influence for generations. His co-labor as a public school teacher and gospel minister provided him a unique opportunity to model the spiritual, character and ethical principles that were the essence of his life.
John served with zealous commitment and an effective preaching ministry the following Kentucky Churches of Christ in Smithland, Hickory Grove, Coldwater, Briensburg, Northside in Mayfield and Spring Creek. Additionally, he ministered with churches of Christ in Indiana, Tennessee and Missouri.
This versatile and life-loving Kentuckian was an avid sports fan. One of the pure joys of his pain-ridden years was his blue-blooded devotion to University of Kentucky Basketball and red-blooded loyalty to St. Louis Cardinal baseball. In his final years, he relished the St. Louis Cardinals’ World Series championship in 2011 and U.K.’s eighth NCAA championship in 2012. His grandson, Jamison, may have summarized the spirit of John Hoover the very best when he was informed that his “Paw Paw” had departed to be with the Lord. He said, “Heaven just received a ‘Five-Star’ recruit.”
A celebration of John’s earthly life was at the Northside Church of Christ (Housman Street) in Mayfield, on Saturday, Jan. 12, with John Dale and Gary Knuckles leading the service. The internment followed in the Woodlawn Memorial Gardens, Paducah.
Memorial contributions may be made to New Pathways for Children, 3233 Shaw Road, Melber, KY 42069 or to Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn.