WALTER L. "WALLY" HOOVER, JR., age 85, of Greenwood, WI, formerly of Loyal, WI, peacefully passed away at his home with his wife and son by his side, on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Due to the ongoing pandemic, a private family service will be held at Cuddie Funeral Home in Loyal, WI, on Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 11AM, with Rev. Daniel Zimmerman officiating. Military rites will be conducted by the Loyal American Legion Post #175 following the service.
Walter Leland Hoover, Jr. was born on July 2, 1935 in Alton, IL, to Walter L. Sr. and Nola J. (Smarr) Hoover. He was raised in Alton and on the family farm in Golconda, IL and received his education in area schools, graduating in 1953 from Pope County Community High School in Golconda, IL.
After high school, Wally enlisted in the U.S. Army on October 27, 1954. After basic training at Fort Chaffee, AR, he was assigned to White Sands Missile Range in NM as a Missile Equipment Specialist. From there he served in France for four years. Upon returning the U.S., he was stationed at Fort Belvoir, VA as an Engineer Equipment Technician.
He was united in marriage to Janet Ann Haslow on May 16, 1964 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Loyal, WI. They enjoyed over 56 years of marriage. Wally served two tours in Vietnam in 1968-1969 and 1971-1972 and was awarded the Bronze Star with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster. Between tours of Vietnam, he was also stationed at Ft. Carson, CO, and a final posting at Ft. Belvoir. He was honorably discharged on June 30, 1975 and retired at the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 2nd Class (CW2), after nearly 21 years of service to the U.S. Army.
Upon retirement, Wally and Janet enjoyed traveling the country extensively before settling in Clark County, residing in Loyal for 38 years. Wally had several jobs following his military retirement and spent 11 years working for K-Mart in Marshfield, WI as a security guard. He had a special love for growing things and had a greenhouse on the south end of Loyal for several years.
In the late 1980’s, he developed an interest in the plant genus ‘Hosta’ and began participating in the world of “hostaholics”. He was a member of the American Hosta Society (AHS), and several state societies in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois (including as a founding member of the Northern Wisconsin Hosta Society in Menomonie, WI). His love of the hosta and of sharing his knowledge with others led him to become a respected judge at many competitions.
During this second career, Wally won many ribbons and awards for his hosta plant and cut leaf entries at Midwest Hosta and AHS’ National Hosta Conventions. In 1997 at the AHS’ National Hosta Convention in Indianapolis IN, his entry, H. ‘Sagae’, won the President’s Exhibitor Award as Overall Champion in the Cut Leaf Exhibit. This was one of his most proud accomplishments, which he referred to his entry as being “best in the nation”.
Wally also cultivated a new hosta to register in the AHS’ International Registration of Hosta Cultivars. He named it H. ‘Bullfrog’, now aptly known in the literature as “Wally’s Bullfrog”. As is the case among hostaholics, Wally’s collection peaked at over 500 varieties, and he and Janet routinely gave informal garden tours to those who stopped by. For this, Wally was known locally as the "Hosta Guy."
Wally was a member of the Loyal American Legion Post #175, the Muskie Masters Club, and the Circle 8 Square Dancing Club.
He will be dearly missed by his wife, Janet, of Greenwood; his son: Terry (Maxine) Hoover of New London, WI; three grandsons: Will, Jack and Reuben Hoover; a half-sister: Mary Lou (Roy) Siener of Sycamore, IL; three sisters-in-law: Martha Hoover of Houston, TX, Maxine Tarter of Marshfield, WI, Nancy Rybka of Yakima, WA; two brothers-in-law: Randy (Rachelle) Haslow of Greenwood, Edward (Karen) Haslow of Independence, OH; nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends.
Wally was preceded in death by his parents; one brother: Donald Hoover; one sister: Nola Marie Lutz, father-in-law and mother-in-law: Arnold and Virginia Haslow; brothers-in-law: John Lutz, John Rybka and George Tarter.
The family would like to thank all the doctors, nurses and staff at Marshfield Medical Center, Marshfield Clinic Comfort and Recovery Center, Ascension at Home and Heartland Hospice for their compassionate care of Wally.
Strict masking and social distancing according to COVID-19 guidelines will be observed.