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Newsletter No. 7 January 2007
Dear Glasspar G-2 Club Members,
Bill Hoover, the Glasspar G2 Club Registrar, passed away last December. Over the past years Bill has tended to the Glasspar G2 Club registry and web site with great interest and enthusiasm.
Many of you know him on a personal level and understand just why his interest extends beyond his own Glasspar. For those who didn’t know him well, I have posted this personal page. It is yet another example of just how interesting G2/Wildfire owners’ stories are. I encourage you to have your own stories to accompany your car for the “Members Showcase.”
Bill left his G2 to his family. His son Patrick will do his best to help you, as the registrar.
Tapping the front fender with his class ring, “Tough little car!”
Capt. William Howard Hoover, USN Ret.
Bill was born to Cdr. John Howard and Helen Smith Hoover in Washington, DC, on 5 July 1923. He attended schools in Coronado, CA, Norfolk, VA and Washington, DC. He enlisted in the Naval Reserves in 1940 and served on the minesweeper USS Gamble on the west coast, before entering the US Naval Academy at seventeen in 1941.
He graduated in 1944 with the Naval Academy Class of 1945 and saw combat in WWII as a Turret Officer and Asst. Navigator on board USS Vincennes, a light cruiser with the Pacific Fleet where his father, then Vice Admiral, commanded the Forward Area, Pacific.
Bill was a designated Naval Aviator in 1947 and served in a number of fighter and attack squadrons aboard Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers, including command of Attack Squadron 56. He graduated from the Naval Test Pilot School, Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River in the early Class 4, and served as a Carrier Branch test pilot from 1950 to 1952. Later in the fleet he was instrumental in developing air combat tactics and precision bombing techniques.
He and Carolyn Theresa Murphy were married in La Jolla, CA, in June 1956.
At the Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics he served as the Grumman Class Desk Officer and was instrumental in the development of jet advanced training aircraft and ground-level pilot ejection systems for the Navy. Later he served in the War Plans Division of the Chief of Naval Operations.
Bill served as Navigator and Executive Officer of the Attack Carrier Coral Sea for two consecutive Viet Nam War tours and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his performance of duty. Later, as Director of Training, Naval Air Advanced Training Command, he accompanied the Chief Naval Air Training on an extended tour of the carriers and bases to assess the performance of new pilots in the Vietnam War. He commanded the USS Austin in the Atlantic Fleet, and in 1968, after twenty-five years of service, he retired from the Navy with the rank of Captain.
For the next twenty years, with the Grumman Aerospace Corporation, N.Y. he held positions as a Program Manager on the Lunar Module, Space Shuttle and other space and structural programs. Bill retired from Grumman in 1988 and he and his family moved from Long Island to Annapolis.
Through the years Bill kept fit on the tennis court and hunted and fished at every opportunity. He built his own sports car, and since 1975 has sailed extensively in New England and Chesapeake waters.
His wife Carolyn and their five children, John Hoover, Sally Casale, Howard Hoover, Jennifer Drake and Patrick Hoover, survive him. Thirteen grandchildren complete their family.
As a young aviator, Bill wanted a car that would drive long, hard and fast. He built his Glasspar G2 in 1953 with all of the good stuff that a young aviator would have. It has been across the country five times, and made one trip aboard the USS Austin LPD 4 in 1968 before retiring from the Navy.
This was his only car at the time. My mother (Carolyn) learned to drive in the G2, as they courted in his Glasspar. She recalls being pulled over by police more than once, claiming to be driving above the speed limit. Most of the time, it was out of mere curiosity that she was stopped. When they were married, the G2 remained the only family car for a number of years. During this time their first child and newly born son John was brought home from the hospital, without the hardtop and in the rain. This was also before the seatbelt laws…
Twenty-four years later Bill retired and found the G2 was again his primary car for about four years. With the hard top he was able to drive through all seasons. He continued to show his car in local (Long Island) auto shows. He never left empty-handed. Though only occasionally driven, he remained enthusiastic about his first and only “Hot Rod.” Dad always kept his car in “ready to drive condition” and offered it to is first son, John, to take on his honeymoon. Dad drove his Glasspar to Annapolis, MD, from Long Island in 1988 during their move. The car was in entirely original condition from 1953, minus gas, oil, plugs and brakes!
A few years later he had a visit from his dear friend Archie Everett, who helped him to build his car. They spent many hours under the hood fine-tuning and enjoying the familiar spirit they had felt in 1953. In June of 2000, Bill and Gregg Tritt paid a visit while on official business, as Dale Dutton’s beautiful Glasspar G2 was donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History to be recognized as the first “production” fiberglass car. Seeing Jean and Joy Porier was an added treat, as Jean is the founder of the Glasspar G2 Club. I know that was a special moment for my father and mother. These special people enigmatically moved his G2 from 1953 to 2000, bringing wonderful memories and a sense of satisfaction knowing that building his Glasspar G2 was important to automotive history, as well as to the family.