Lou Etta (Hale) Hoover, 80, died Saturday Dec. 21, 2013, in Cortez, Colo., after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s, her loving husband by her side.
She is survived by her husband, John R. “Dick” Hoover; brother Benton P. Hale (Phyllis) of Youngtown, Ariz. And Wheatland, WY; daughter Tracy (Curt Gridley) of Wichita, KS; son John of Hillsborough, NH; three grandchildren, Henry, Mackenzie, and Fiona; and several nieces and nephews.
Lou Etta was born to E.B. and Gladys Hale on July 11, 1933, in Boulder, Colo., where E.B. was working on his Master’s degree. Her family moved around a great deal during her childhood due to her father’s work as a civilian with the US Army. Stops included Wyoming, Idaho, Tennessee, and finally Arizona. Lou Etta graduated from Flagstaff High School in 1951, earning the honor of class valedictorian. She spent her first year of college at Arizona State College in Flagstaff before transferring to the University of Colorado. There she earned a Bachelor of Sciences and passed her pharmacy qualifying exams in 1955. Lou Etta always felt a great deal of pride that she had earned a professional degree and worked in her chosen profession at a time when it was unusual for women to do so.
At the University of Colorado, Lou Etta met Dick Hoover, another pharmacy student, when a professor put them on the same lab bench in Bacteriology. She and Dick married in 1958 and settled in his hometown of Hackettstown, NJ where they raised two children, Tracy and John. During these years Lou Etta and Dick worked at Bach’s Drugs, which they eventually owned in partnership with another family. Lou Etta worked as a pharmacist until well after her children were born, then went on to fill many other roles at Bach’s. She also worked as a consulting pharmacist at the House of the Good Shepherd, a local nursing home, until Dick retired in 1986. In addition, Lou Etta served on the board of directors for the Hackettstown Public Library, and taught Sunday school at Trinity United Methodist Church.
After retiring, Lou Etta and Dick divided their time between Hackettstown and Odessa, Florida. Later, they migrated between Florida and Cortez, Colo., settling permanently in Cortez in 2003.
Lou Etta felt passionately about many things, including her family, Rainbow Bridge, and cornbread made with white cornmeal. She was a devoted dog lover, owning a series of black Labrador retrievers, all named Brandy. Lou Etta had special affinity for Monument Valley and the desert Southwest, which she was fortunate to experience form the back of a beloved horse Drifter. She was an avid trapshooter for many years, and she and Dick enthusiastically travelled the US to participate in many shooting events. Most notably, Lou Etta was Ladies Champion at the New Jersey State Shoot in 1978, and won the Ladies Ljutic Handicap event at the Grand American in 1984. Lou Etta also enjoyed golf, needlepoint, and fishing. Gone with the Wind was her favorite movie, and some of the well-known dialogue was a common refrain in family life.
In the last several years, Lou Etta volunteered at the Cortez Cultural Center, working a regular shift in the gift shop. She believed tha the Cultural Center had a lot to offer the city and its visitors and was glad to contribute to its outreach efforts. Lou Etta’s world contracted in the past year due to her illness, but she was still able to take daily walks with her dog as recently as last summer, from which she derived a great deal of pleasure.
Lou Etta will be cremated; a memorial service will be held at a later time. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Cortez Cultural Center or First United Methodist Church of Cortez.