Freeman Bowdle Hover, Jr. died February 9, 2009, in his apartment at the La Rosa Health Care Center, Tucson, Arizona, after a long battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Mr. Hover was a notable radio disk jockey in the 1950s before becoming a high school teacher in the early 1960s. His interviews with rock and roll artists Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran and others are part of rock and roll history and have been published and widely shared online. In recognition of his radio days, he was sometimes referred to as "the legendary Freeman Hover."
Born March 1, 1929, in Ann Arbor, near his home in Plymouth, Mich., Mr. Hover always maintained a remarkable capacity to recall vivid details of growing up in a small town. He graduated from Plymouth High School in 1947.
He attended Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colo., and earned a bachelor of arts degree at the University of Denver in 1951. He received a Master's Degree from the University of Colorado in the early 1960s. For two years he served in the U.S. Air Force as a public information officer, and continued in the Air Force Reserves for 22 years. He successfully completed officer candidates school and retired from the service as a second lieutenant.
As a deejay, Mr. Hover worked in Chadron, Neb.; Williston, N. Dak.; and Phoenix. He taught journalism in Ajo, Ariz., and later at Rincon High School, Tucson, until retiring in 1988. At Rincon he taught a notable course in Southwest literature and was the advisor of the school newspaper, the Rincon Echo, which earned state and national recognition.
He taught at high school journalism workshops across the country and served on the board of the Arizona Scholastic Press Association and Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA, Columbia University, New York). He was named Arizona Journalism Teacher of the Year and received lifetime achievement awards from CSPA and the National Scholastic Press Association.
He is recipient of the George H. Gallup Award and is in the Arizona Journalism Hall of Fame. He was a passionate supporter of several museums and organizations concerned with western history, art and anthropology. He loved travel, telling stories, and corresponding with loved ones.
Mr. Hover was preceded in death by his mother, Marjorie June (Otto) Hover; his father, Freeman Bowdle Hover, Sr.; and his brother, Noel LaMarr Hover, Sr. He is survived by his sister-in-law, Chelsia Webster Hover, Denver; a nephew, Noel LaMarr Hover II ( Donna), Denver; and two nieces, Georgia Webster (Hover) Gabriel (Michael), Nashville, Tenn.; and Rebecca Jane (Hover) McJilton DVM (Charles), Denver; and many other family members and friends.
Friends and family are invited to an informal gathering in Mr. Hover's honor at his former residence, 2552 E. Cerrada Adelita, Tucson, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 22, 2009.
A Memorial Mass will be held at noon on Sunday, March 1, 2009, which would have been Mr. Hover's 80th birthday, at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, 5150 N. Valley View Rd, Tucson.