It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the death of Sue Hovey. However, it is with great honor that we celebrate her life. She was a wonderful wife, mother, teacher and friend to so many. Sue wanted her obituary to note that she was born February 12, 1932, during a depression brought on by the Republican Party and died on January 13, 2015, during the recovery from a recession brought on by the Republican Party.
Sue was born in Naples, Texas, to R. Audrian and Margaret Young. Sue was given the name Margaret Virginia. She remained Margaret until her grandfather, J.E. Young, Sr., started calling her Suzie Q. Sue stuck. Not liking her given birth name, she later had her name legally changed to Sue.
She was the oldest of six children. Sue grew up in San Angelo, Pampa, and McLean, Texas. Soon after graduation from high school, Sue married Fred Johnston in McLean, and they had a daughter, Margaret Ann, who lived only a brief two months. She and Fred later divorced.
Sue married Norman Hovey on March 31, 1957, in Hurst, Texas. They have three children, Scott, Laurie and Leslie. They lived in Texas and Idaho and finally settled in Moscow in 1965.
Sue and Norm enjoyed many years of camping on the Lochsa and Selway rivers. Over the years there were many motorcycle and 4-wheeler rides into the mountains and rafting adventures with family and friends. She loved picking huckleberries and would not let a little rough terrain stop her – much to Norm’s chagrin. Since her retirement from Moscow School District in 1996, Sue and Norm enjoyed spending the winter months in Kona, Hawaii.
Sue graduated Valedictorian from McLean (Texas) High School in 1950. She initially went to Baylor University and returned to college later to complete her degree. She graduated in 1968 from the U of I with a Bachelor of Education Degree. She started her teaching career that year at Moscow High School and continued her education, earning her Masters from the U of I in 1978. In addition to teaching, she developed the Gifted and Talented program in the Moscow School District. She was elected and served as president of the Moscow Education Association from 1973 to 1975. In 1980 Sue became active at the national level. She was elected to serve two terms on the Executive Committee of the National Education Association. Beginning in 1986 she served as one of 35 members of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and served until 1993. This group set national standards of excellence for teaching and then created the first ever national level recognition of master teachers. From 1992 through 1996, Sue was a Program Organizer and teacher for the Acceleration Program for Students at Risk at Moscow Junior High School. In 1998 she helped develop the University of Idaho’s first ever program of support for teachers seeking National Board Certification. She worked with Washington and Hawaii to create similar programs in those states.
In May of 2014, the University of Idaho honored Sue’s contributions to education by awarding her an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters Degree. This was an honor of which we were so very proud.
Throughout her career in education, Sue was recognized with many awards including Moscow High School’s Teacher of the Year, U of I’s Outstanding Alumna; statewide as Outstanding Idaho Teacher, IEA’s recipient of the Shane Anderson Outstanding Member Award, IEA Region II’s Nora Davis Baily Award for Educational Service; and nationally as a winner of “The Disney American Teacher Award.” Sue was also recognized as the Idaho Outstanding Teacher by the University of Idaho at the 1990 centennial celebration. Sue’s Moscow School District teaching career spanned the period of 1968 to 1996. Following her retirement from the school district, Sue was an adjunct professor with the University of Idaho from 1998 to 2013, an adjunct professor for WSU from 2001 to 2003, and a consultant for the Hawaii State Teacher Standards Board from 2002 to 2004.
Sue was politically active and dedicated many, many hours to several campaigns – Roy Truby, Larry LaRocco, Frank Church, Norma Dobler, Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Vera White and most recently and perhaps most passionately, her dear friend and fellow champion of education, Shirley Ringo.
Sue’s family was so important to her, and she loved organizing and hosting events that included family, extended family, and friends. An annual trip to the Lochsa Lodge was one of these very special events. Family from Idaho, Texas, and Oklahoma loved gathering here each year. Holidays were of particular joy to her. She loved having her kids and their families all together. Sue adored her grandchildren. She loved reading to the grandchildren when they were little, and it is something each of them talks about with great fondness. She loved the Cleveland Street neighborhood and worked very hard to have gatherings that brought them together.
Sue was preceded in death by her parents, R. Audrian and Margaret Young, her beloved brothers and sister, Ray, Weldon, and Audrey, and her daughter Margaret Ann. She is survived by her loving husband, Norman and their children, Leslie Hovey of Moscow; Scott Hovey and his wife Michelle of Moscow; Laurie Hovey-Stromberg and her husband Bentley Stromberg of Genesee; son-in-law Don Smith of Genesee; brother Lyle Young and his wife Martie of Enid, OK; brother Gene Young and his wife Marynell of Huntsville, TX; sister-in-law Carolyn Young of Dallas, TX; sister-in-law Jean Mohr and her husband John of Kooskia, ID; and sister-in-law Mary Hovey of Mobeetie, TX. She also has three grandchildren whom she adored and who adore her, Cory Hovey of Post Falls, ID; Stephanie Hovey-Smith of Clarkston, WA; and Jamie Hovey-Smith of Portland, OR. She also has many nieces and nephews and their spouses and children whom she loved dearly.
A celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, January 24, 2015, at 11:30 at the Moscow High School Auditorium followed by a reception across the street from the High School at the 1912 Building. Memorial gifts in Sue’s honor can be sent to the University of Idaho Foundation, “Sue Hovey Education Scholarship,” 875 Perimeter Drive MS 3143, Moscow, Idaho 83844-3143.