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John Hoover always ‘first to step up’; Burnet businessman died Dec. 20

John Winston Hoover

John W. Hoover (second from the left) loved Burnet and its people and was always looking for a way to help. In 2017, the city of Burnet and Burnet County even named a road in his honor, the John W. Hoover Parkway. He passed away Sunday, Dec. 20. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

John Winston Hoover, a man known for his wit, businesses sense, and generosity, left a big mark on the city of Burnet and surrounding area.

He passed away on Sunday, Dec. 20, at the age of 88.

“He was such an asset to the community,” said Burnet Mayor Crista Goble Bromley. “John, and his entire family, did so much for the city. I don’t think people really realize all he and his family did.”

Hoover’s family moved to Burnet in 1940, around when he was 8 years old. Eight years later, his father, Martin L. Hoover, suffered a heart attack, and John left school to help support his family.

John Hoover was able to return to school the following fall and graduate in 1951. While in high school, he met Vivian Mallett, his future wife. The two were married in November 1950, a love that lasted more than six decades.

The couple have four children.

After leaving Burnet for a railroad job following high school, Hoover and his wife returned to the city in 1958. He bought into a lumberyard and eventually became full owner of what is now Hoover Building Supply. Over the years, he built Hoover Construction Co.

Bromley said Hoover was a good businessman and entrepreneur. 

By 1981, Hoover had built and developed a number of multi-family and apartment complexes. He also saw the growing need for affordable family housing in rural communities. That year, he founded Hamilton Valley Management Inc. which specializes in creating and managing affordable multi-family housing for rural Texas.

From an initial start with three apartment complexes and one part-time employee, Hamilton Valley Management grew into a staff of more than 20 and manages about 90 properties across the state.

“John, he really cared for people,” Bromley added. “And he always was looking for ways to help. John was always one of the first to step up when there was a need.”

He was a founding member of the Rotary Club of Burnet and helped start the Hill Country Community Foundation. The foundation provides scholarships for Burnet High School students. 

In 1983, it offered four $500 scholarships. In 2020, it provided 150 scholarships to Burnet Consolidated Independent School District graduates for a total of approximately $324,000. 

As community supporters go, it would be hard to find another champion for Burnet as big as Hoover. He and First State Bank of Burnet President Cary Johnson would search for businesses to relocate to Burnet, even heading out of state to make their pitch for the town. 

“He was a big believer in Burnet and what it offered,” Bromley added. 

In 2017, the city of Burnet and Burnet County renamed County Road 340A on the south side of the city John W. Hoover Parkway. 

Hoover is survived by his wife, Vivian; sons, Dennis (wife Carol) and Danna (wife Nena); daughters, Debra Ligon (husband Wayne) and Dixie Farmer (husband Joel); nine grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren; sisters Kay, Fay, and Anna; and brother James.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Bessie N. Lyda and Martin L. Hoover; brothers Winfred and Martin; and sister Wanda.

A visitation for family and friends is 3-7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 22, at Clement-Wilcox Funeral Home, 306 E. Polk St. in Burnet. The wearing of face coverings and social distancing will be observed. 

A private internment will take place later at Hoover’s Valley Cemetery. 

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be directed to the John and Vivian Hoover Endowment at the Hill Country Community Foundation, P.O. Box 848, Burnet, TX 78611.