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Death of John Hove


North Dakotan John Hove passed away on this day in 1984. Among the many accomplishments in Hove’s life, the NDSU English professor chaired the North Dakota Council on the Arts for fourteen years, and was appointed to the National Advisory Council of the Higher Education Act by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Hove was born John Hove, Jr., on February 1, 1916 in Brampton, North Dakota. He graduated from Valley City State College in 1937 before pursuing a Master’s Degree in English from Stanford University. In 1940, he moved to Jamestown, where he taught in the high school until entering the United States Navy in 1942. While serving aboard an aircraft carrier during the second World War, Hove reached the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade. After serving in the war, Hove returned to North Dakota and wed his college sweetheart, Sylvia Hagen. John and Sylvia both worked as teachers at Jamestown High School, and had three children together. John completed a Master’s Degree in English from the University of North Dakota in 1946 before becoming head of the English Department at Mayville State College. Over the next thirteen years, John earned a PhD from the University of Minnesota by taking summer and weekend classes. At that time, he became the head of the English Department at NDSU. John was actively involved in the Democratic-Nonpartisan League. He became chair of the Cass County party’s organization after moving to Fargo, while his wife became involved in the Democratic-Nonpartisan League Women. Hove is probably most remembered for his campaign for the United States House of Representatives in 1963.

The special election was held after the death of Representative Hjalmar Nygaard; although Hove lost the election, it was a close call for the Republican candidate Mark Andrews. Hove, a staunch Kennedy man, met with the President and his Administration during the campaign. Hove continued to chair the NDSU English Department until his retirement in 1981. When offered the title of professor emeritus, Hove declined “saying that the English Department needed the office space that would accompany the title more than he needed the title.” Hove passed away on August 22, 1984 at his home in Fargo.




--Jayme L. Job