Sue Hovey

Sue Hovey Pic

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.


25 Responses to Sue Hovey

  1. Cathy Carson says:

    To Sue’s entire family, my family wants to send our condolences. Sue touched our lives in so many ways. For me personally, she was the mother of a classmate and therefore a mother to me, she was my teacher, she was a mentor, she was a colleague, and she was a friend. What more can I say – she had an impact on my life. Sue will be missed, but remembered with great fondness and admiration.

    Cathy Carson

  2. Barbara Kerr says:

    I remember Sue from her work with the NEA. She was kind, thoughtful and strong. My thoughts are with all of her family. She lived a good life and did good work
    Barbara Kerr

  3. Sandy (Lambacher) Shephard says:

    Sue touched my life and the lives of my children in many ways. She was a role model for me as I began my career as a Gifted Education Facilitator in Moscow in 1983 and continued to inspire. My children, Jason and Rachel Lambacher, also benefited from participating in her classes and programs. She will be missed.

  4. Karen Shuss Nordby says:

    Sue Hovey was an extraordinary educator, advocate for education, wife, mother and friend. She left an indelible imprint on the lives of many students and professionals alike. My deepest sympathy to Norm and to Scott, Laurie and Leslie. The remarkable work Sue did will endure in the lives of those of us she impacted so deeply. A life well-lived….a legacy for many years to come. Special thoughts to the family at this sad time.

  5. Ted Warren says:

    When I think of Sue Hovey from my days at Moscow High School, I think of energy and authority. Through what must have been a case of mistaken identity, I was able to take part in Creative Problem Solving and several other GT programs and I remember that when Mrs. Hovey was around, we all sat up a little straighter and tried to be snappier with our answers.

    I know she carried those traits into her union work and everything else in life. Like many teachers, she leaves a unique and wide-spread legacy.

    -Ted Warren, Tacoma

  6. RosaLee Mitchell says:

    I knew Sue as a most valued friend and colleague in the Moscow Schools G/T Program from 1980-89, and both my daughters, Karen and Lisa Ross, were privileged to benefit from her teaching and guidance at Moscow H.S. Besides our work, we had quite a number of other things in common (such as both having been born in Texas, and both having a strong interest in both the gifted and the handicapped/disabled). We all drew strength from her wit, humor, and savvy wisdom. After leaving Moscow I’ve been happy to see from afar how she continued to contribute her talents and unbelievable energy in so many ways, an example to all of us as we grow older. I am grateful for having known her, and grateful for all that her life meant to so many. My condolences to all her family in this time of such a great loss. Well done, Sue…and now rest in peace!

  7. Lori Wallin says:

    Mrs. Hovey was a wonderful teacher and human being, and her gifts and contributions will outlive all of us. It is an honor to have known her. My thoughts go out to your whole family; I know she will be sorely missed by the entire community.

  8. Jason Ulibarri says:

    Sue had a huge, wonderful impact on my life. Her personal energy and her programs at Moscow High inspired me to appreciate school, intellect, and activism for the first time. For 25 years I have tried to live up to her standards of thoughtfulness, intelligence, and effectiveness. Her greatness has been essential to every accomplishment of my adult life.

  9. Diana (Chuckie)Smith says:

    Dear Norm and family, I am so sorry to here of Sue’s passing. She was truly an amazing woman! I feel so blessed to have know her and spent many a beach and lunch days in Kona. My thoughts are with all of you at this difficult time.

  10. Melora Foy says:

    Sue Hovey was my favorite teacher at Moscow High School. I majored in Sociology at the University of Idaho after I developed an interest in it, because of her classes. I’ve run into her several times over the years. I think the last times I saw her were at the Class of 1972 40th reunion, and at a Disability Action Center event I attended. I was very saddened to hear of her passing and plan to go to the memorial celebration on Saturday.

  11. Joel Foy says:

    I’d noticed in recent months that Sue’s online posts had diminished, yet it had not occurred to me that she may have been ill. She was such a youthful spirit that I’d almost come to believe she was approaching the brink of immortality. Mrs. Hovey was indeed a favorite of many of us at Moscow High School for both her youthful passion and her ability to inspire civic involvement and constructive social consciousness. I didn’t learn until years later that she’d been a student of my late father, Dr. J. “Vail” Foy, during his years teaching English Composition and American Literature at the U of I. My father was a very effective and widely respected career educator in his own right and Sue seemed very happy to learn in recent years that, in a career spanning over 35 years, he’d considered her to be perhaps his most outstanding student. Sue had felt very inspired and motivated by him but was unsure of what sort of an impression she’d made. This was partly because he’d once corrected her use of the common phrase “very unique,” a minor grammatical error, during a chance encounter at the supermarket. When it came to language, my dad could be the purest of purists! I’m sure Sue didn’t realize at the time that his whole family and countless others had heard the same correction at one time or another.

    In response to an online music post I made a few years ago, Sue recounted her teen years in the Texas panhandle sneaking into local dance halls with friends to dance to legendary bands like Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys, Hank Thompson, and others. I’d recently been in the Caprock Canyon area of the panhandle and had hoped to hear similar stories one day but sadly those days have now passed.

    The testimonials of others here illustrate very clearly the positive influence Sue’s had on everyone around her. She was proudly among the last of the true Southern Democrats adhering to the visions of FDR and LBJ. Those who’ve benefitted from and been touched by Sue’s passion and generosity of spirit stretch from coast to coast and, I imagine, well beyond. I’m very saddened to hear of her passing but I know we’ll all continue to be inspired by the way she demonstrated just how to live life to its fullest measure. I’m grateful for the time and energy she shared.

  12. Connie Riggers says:

    We am so very sorry for your loss. She was a wonderful woman, her philosophies will live on forever in all who knew and loved her. Please know you are all in our hearts and thoughts.

    Gary and Connie Riggers

  13. Peggy Hess says:

    To Sue’s Family,
    May God embrace you and comfort you. I first met Sue at an IEA meeting in Boise and her smile was a comfort to a first timer. She was a teacher out of the class as well as in. For many of us, she taught us what our association was and how important it was to us. Her beautiful personality made us feel comfortable and helped us want to work hard for all teachers. She was a God send for her students and many of us younger teachers. She will be missed.

  14. Susan Seaman says:

    I last saw Sue at the October AWP meeting. She was her usual self – interested in others and interested contributing in any way possible.
    As a fellow educator who had the privilege of working with her, there was no doubt that Sue was a dedicated and respected teacher and advocate of teachers. It is noteworthy that even after she retired from public education, she continued to promote professional development through facilitating the National Board Certification process at the U of I. Through her commitment to developing programs for students and teachers, Sue’s efforts have and will continue to positively impact countless students’ lives.
    She will long be remembered and missed, not only for the way she was, but also for the contributions she made to her profession.

  15. Diane Baumgart says:

    It is with gratitude that I write, remembering Sue Hovey. She took all of her life activities seriously and with a dash of joy. A wonderful leader, teacher, parent and spokesperson for education and all those who educate. Sue, you were and still are an inspiration and I thank you for all you offered to me and my family, as well as our town, county and state. Your footprints are large but I will earnestly seek to follow and go onward. Thank you to you and your loving family.

  16. Steve Ford & Lorie Ewing says:

    To Norm, Leslie,Laurie, Stephanie, Jamie, and Scott,

    We can feel some of your sorrow, but you sure can be smiling proud of your wife, mother, and grandma. Keep those happy memories !

    Steve Ford, Lorie Ewing, Becca, Jesse, and Gareth

  17. Kevin and Linda Renfrow says:

    Sorry for your loss.

  18. Tom Trail says:

    Sue was a remarkable person and teacher. She mentored our three children, Ruth, Mark, and Steven through their high school years. They all remember Sue as a loving, caring, and demanding-at times–teacher. Sue provided the leadership for the Gifted Student Program and MHS.

    I worked with Sue and in partnership with Rep. Shirley Ringo on many important educational legislative initiatives during our tenure in the Idaho House of Representatives. We made major progress in obtaining added funding for Gifted Programs and for the National Certified Teacher Program. I enjoyed working with Sue which meant dropping into her home for a cup of coffee and talking about legislation that would benefit Idaho students and teachers. These discussions were always in a friendly and bipartisan manner and not in the mode of partisan fighting of today. Sue will be remembered as a friend and we will miss her greatly.

    Tom and Jo Ann Trail

  19. Cathy Rouyer says:

    Sue Hovey was a force for good in the lives of her family, friends, students and the entire community.
    Hers was a life well lived. I am sorry she is gone and will miss her. Thank you, Sue, for all your good deeds.

    • Cathy Rouyer says:

      Sue Hovey was a force for good in the lives of her family, friends, students and the entire community.
      Hers was a life well lived. I am sorry she is gone and will miss her. Thank you, Sue, for all your good deeds.

  20. Cary Miller says:

    I met Sue via e-mails during Shirley Ringo’s recent campaign and we also talked on the phone. When I was in Moscow mid-October, we met “live” for lunch and had a great visit comparing various progressive groups we’ve both supported. I wish I could have known her longer and better.

    Cary Miller, Hayden

  21. Leslie Lopez (previously Thomson) says:

    I was sad and moved to hear that Sue Hovey had passed away, although she clearly led a full life, and touched and inspired so many people. She is one of the people that has had the most positive and enduring influences on my life, and I will never forget her. It’s not an exaggeration to say that she saved the sanity of multiple generations of those of us who in high school could never be “normal”–she made it OK to be different, and compelled us to pull up our socks and aspire to be better versions of ourselves. The best memories I have of high school are the moments I got to spend with her in that little room upstairs–her sense of politics and a sense of humor were like a ladder of sanity for me into adulthood and the wider world. And, since my brother Paul passed away in 2003, and can’t speak for himself, I want to add to Sue’s list of admirable work and achievements the countless hours Sue spent coaching, advising, and accompanying the nationally competitive Moscow High School Bowl Team.

    I myself became a teacher–I teach university students, and my degrees are in anthropology, but in recent years my focus has returned to our local schools, and what we all can do there. My projects now revolve around working with my students to create innovative after-school programs so they can learn about learning, and teaching. We develop team-teaching methods, project-based learning (movie-making, hands-on physics), games to improve social communication, and literacy and math tutoring, mostly with second-language learners, and collaborative problem-solving (community mapping).
    Those who worked with Sue on Future Problem Solving will know what I mean when I say that everything we did in those projects powerfully shaped my imagination, my thinking and writing skills, and my sense of capacity and obligation to serve–and will recognize in the above her footprints.

    Today, as I’m thinking about “what is good teaching,” although I can’t be Sue, I think about the careful combination of timing, discipline, and human connection with which she managed to shape a bunch of highly creative, arrogant, variously depressed and lonely young people into productive discussion with each other and develop purposeful, focused projects. These days, educators talk about “cultural relevance” as the magic element that will connect students’ sense of purpose to their work, but my recollection is that we were encouraged to think beyond the limits of our given culture–and thus gained a tremendous sense of efficacy and hope–a sense that that there might be purpose to work beyond bureaucracy and profit.

    Finally, I want to add that I have been thinking of Sue more and more often in recent years, since our district does not have Gifted and Talented programming, and believes it is a “luxury.” We have suffered through the repercussions of this in our house, with our kids…and it has become so clear to me in retrospect the importance of her insight, dedication, and influence in Moscow: the district has connected Gifted and Talented programming with programming for students “at risk.” Learning about her political work is yet another inspiration. Long live the legacy of Sue Hovey!

  22. David Johnson says:

    Sue Hovey’s name is synonymous with Wonderful Person. My wife, Linda Weiford, and I will miss waving at her while walking in our backyard adjacent to her and Norm’s home. I (as a retired newspaper reporter) will miss Sue’s candor, her smile and her sting when talking about pesky Republicans.

  23. Lloyd Summons says:

    Never had the pleasure of meeting Sue. Saw the Face Book post concerning her obituary. I think we would have been very good friends! The jab at the Republicans sounds like something I would do. She was obviously a caring and intelligent woman. I am sorry the world has to carry on without her. My condolences to her family.

  24. Ed Gowens says:

    I didn’t know this remarkable woman, but couldn’t resist paying my respects after reading of her wonderful obituary on Facebook. I grew up in south Texas, and I know many of the Lone Star State locales mentioned in her obituary–including her valedictory alma mater of McLean, a town I traversed on my Harley ride of Route 66 a few years back, and I’m glad Sue liked motorcycling too. I come from a long line and extended family of teachers (started out as one myself originally), including both my parents. My mom was a Baylor grad and a lifelong classroom history and geography teacher, NEA member, and staunch Democrat: she would’ve gotten along so well with Sue! God bless her for her many accomplishments in a life of education, family, and noble love of country. Rest in peace, Sue, and condolences to her family.

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