- Listed: November 9, 2018 2:26 pm
- Expires: 40 days, 1 hour
NORMAN JOHN (BUD) HOOVER
May 8th, 1923 – November 6th, 2018
Bud Hoover died on November 6th, 2018. The last of Oliver’s old-time cowboys.
From Nakusp BC, where Bud and his sister Jean were born, the family moved to Oliver, BC. In 1931. He was known to his Oliver Elementary School classmates as Little Buddy Hoogerwerf (the actual family name). The nickname stuck. Bud was known, even then, to be a gifted singer, and was mentored by Rudy Guidi, himself a fine tenor, and a teacher at the school.
But the Second World War called, and in 1941, as soon as he turned 18, Bud enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy. The Navy was searching its ranks for potential specialists. Out of a selection pool of thousands, Bud placed first, as a potential Morse coder. He was immediately sent to the Royal Naval Academy in Halifax, where he studied Morse code in all its forms, from telegraphy to directional and non-directional light signalling and semaphore. The speed at which a coder could receive or transmit messages was integral to the safety of his ship.
Bud served aboard HMCS Georgian, a minesweeper commissioned in 1941 to provide protection to convoys during the perilous Battle of the Atlantic crossings. Georgian was assigned to a British Navy minesweeping flotilla, and saw action clearing the way for American landings at Omaha Beach on D-day, June 6th, 1944.
When decommissioned the ship’s ensign fell to shipmate Robert MacFadden, also from Oliver. On his passing the family gave the flag to Bud, and he later presented it to the Alberta Naval Museum, in Calgary.
Demobbed in 1945 Bud moved back to the Okanagan. In Penticton BC he got married, started his family, and worked as a brakeman for the CPR. This was the heyday of train travel in Canada. Steam locomotives ran daily on the old Kettle Valley Railroad line, through the Myra Canyon trestles into Penticton then up through Summerland to the Coquihalla and down the Fraser Valley to the port of Vancouver. There were tons of coal to load, avalanches to dig through, the ‘nobs’ to watch at the fine CPR Incola Hotel in Penticton. But the age of steam came to an end. The introduction of diesel locomotives—which all the trainmen looked forward to, as the newer engines would relieve them of a lot of physical work—permanently relieved thousands of men of any work, at all.
Seeking new employment Bud moved his family to Vancouver in 1957. While working there he took up singing as a profession. Gifted with a naturally operatic voice and range, his audition with the Vancouver Opera Society was guaranteed to be successful. He performed in many VOS productions including Paliachi, Faust, Aida, Cavalleria Rusticana. At one point he was the first understudy to the renowned baritone Robert Merrill.
In 1967 Bud’s life long dream–or at least since age 9 when he got his first horse— his dream of living the cowboy life finally materialized. Bud and Monica bought a part of the historic Brown Ranch at Road 18. And Bud finally became a cowboy. Under the B – H brand he raised Hereford cattle, grazed the herd on cattle leases in the Beaverdell area, baled hay, watched over the calving, protected his animals from predators, and….best of all, got to ride a horse. Every day. His love of horses was profound.
At one time he was thrown, and broke his hip. Doctors told him he would never ride again. Within three months he proved them wrong. He rode often until he was 85, when he gave his horses to a friend, with the promise that he might just drop in for a bit of a ride, now and then. His final ride was on the famous Jane Stelkia 80th Birthday Ride. He was proud to participate.
Bud is survived by Monica, his wife of 68 years, his children Sheran King (Doug), Michael Hoover, and Marion Hoover. He was predeceased by his son Daniel. His grandchildren are Derek, Christie, Michael, Charity, Jude, Tammy, Aisha, and (predeceased) Jesse.
“Ride into the sunset with joy. You were a real cowboy.”
A Celebration Life will be held Thursday, November 15 at 2:00 p.m at the Oliver Legion.
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