Russell Wayne Hoover

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Russell Wayne Hoover, 88, died Sunday, January 6, 2013, in Washington Hospital.


He was born October 20, 1924, in Amwell Township, the only child of the late Russell L. and Anna Grable Hoover.


Mr. Hoover attended the Ridge School, where he had the same teacher, Mrs. Louise Sowers, the entire eight years. He graduated from Trinity High School in June 1942. Upon graduation, he enrolled in the National Youth Administration Training Center in South Park, where he became a certified aircraft welder.


On November 5, 1942, having reached the age of 18, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a welder. He was sent to Aircraft Armament School, and upon completion he volunteered for aerial gunnery training, which he received at Wendover Air force Base in Utah. Upon graduation, he was assigned to a 10-man air crew aboard a four-engine Liberator bomber. He flew 50 missions as a ball turret gunner with the Fifth Bomb Group of the 13th (Jungle) Air Force, based in Guadalcanal, New Georgia and the Admiralty Islands. He was awarded the Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters, Good Conduct Medal and Asiatic Pacific Theater Campaign Medal.


Upon returning to the United States, he enrolled in Central Instructors School in Laredo, Texas, where he became a turret instructor, and was discharged October 10, 1945, with the rank of staff sergeant. When opportunity permitted, he also played trumpet in the Ten Mile Community Band, which he enjoyed very much. He also enrolled in a flying course at Civil Air Aviation in Waynesburg in 1947 and obtained a private pilot’s license.


He went to work for the Drakenfeld Co. in November 1945, remaining there until 1959. He then went to work for the U.S. Postal Service, retiring in 1987.


On August 30, 1947, in Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Glyde, he married his high school sweetheart, Mary Wilda Conkle, who died September 24, 1989.


Surviving are three daughters, Rebecca Gurbal of Aurora, Ill., Melanie (John) Maskovich of Washington and Beth (Joseph) Hewitt of Washington; four grandchildren, Michael, David, Cheyenne and Dakoda; three great-grandchildren, Ashley, Michael and Joshua; a great-great-granddaughter, McKenna; and a fiancée, Opal Pierson, with whom he enjoyed the last 21 years of his life.


Deceased, in addition to his wife and parents, are daughters Melinda and Kimberly, who died in infancy, and son-in law David Gurbal, who died in January 2012.


Mr. Hoover was a charter member of Grace Brethren Church in Washington, where he had held the offices of vice moderator, treasurer, deacon, trustee, Sunday school superintendent and teacher. In 2001, he underwent extensive cancer surgery, which somewhat diminished his activities. Prior to that time, he had enjoyed traveling, dining out, photography and his garden. He also enjoyed playing his guitar and was very knowledgeable about Civil War history, having visited several battlefields.


He was a member of American Legion Paso Del Norte Post 58 in El Paso and North Ten Mile Veterans Association. He will be sadly missed by his family and all who knew and loved him.


Family and friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday in Nichol Funeral Home, 1873 East Maiden Street, Washington. Additional visitation will be held from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., the time of service, Friday, January 11, in Grace Brethren Church, Washington, with Pastor Bob Kulp officiating. Interment will follow in Bethlehem Lutheran Church Cemetery, Glyde. A guest book may be signed at www.nicholfuneralhome.com.


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