Kenneth F. Hoverson  

1934 ~ 2022        

Obit Photo Kenneth Hoverson Cadet

   Captain Kenneth F. Hoverson, age 88, of Rogers, MN passed away November 24, 2022, in Buffalo, MN. Ken was born in Lidgerwood, ND on February 8, 1934, the son of Kenneth L. and Eva (Franta) Hoverson. He grew up in Buffalo, MN and graduated from Buffalo High School in 1951.

   After high school Ken attended the College of St. Thomas for 2 years before entering the U.S. Navy in 1953 as a Naval Aviation Cadet (NAVCAD). He began the Navy and military training at NAS Pensacola, his flight training was mostly at nearby Saufly Field where Ken trained in the North American SNJ. His single engine training included carrier qualification on the USS Monterrey. Toward the end of his flight training Ken was assigned to NAS Meridian Mississippi for multiengine training in the Beechcraft SNB-5.

Obit Photo Ken Holverson SNB 5

After graduation, which included commissioning and being awarded Wings of Gold, Ken was assigned to Fleet Tactical Support Squadron One (VR-1) at NAS Patuxent River, MD. While stationed at Pax River he primarily flew both the R4D-1, R5D, and the SNB-5 supporting East Coast USN operations.

   VR-1’s mission often included VIP flights abroad. Ken liked to recall a particular flight when he transported the Secretary of Navy to Cuba to meet with Castro. Ken attended a formal reception hosted by Castro’s brother - Raul. The reception was quite the event. Ken and fellow officers were adorned in Class A whites. The crew had to abstain from alcoholic beverages as they were standby for a possible no-notice departure. Duty with VR-1 took Ken to many countries.Obit Photo Ken Holverson Gold Wings


   In early 1958 Ken separated from the active Navy and joined Northwest Airlines (class date - April 8, 1958). NWA copilot training at that time was in the DC-3 and DC-4 and Ken had already flown both aircraft in the Navy. His first crew base assignment was to Spokane, WA where he served as a DC-4 copilot. While based in Spokane, WA, Ken met NWA flight attendant Janice Neis and the two forged a special relationship that led to marriage on August 12, 1958. The marriage flourished for nearly 62 years.


Obit Photo Ken Hoverson and Bob Wallover

  When NWA closed the Spokane base Ken and Janice moved to Minnesota. Thereafter Ken’s career became a commentary on the entry of the jet age.

 Ken flew as copilot on the DC-3, DC-6, DC-7, Lockheed Electra and the Boeing 727 and 707 series. Ken’s initial upgrade to captain was on the Boeing 727. Through the 1970s Ken had a satisfying career as captain on the 727, until the early 1980s when along came the DC-10. The DC-10 was Ken’s airplane until early retirement on May 31, 1987. (Photo: Bob Wallover & Ken Hoverson)





  After his NWA retirement Ken partnered in a tree farm/nursery with his son Tom. The business full engaged Ken for years; the work hours redefined the word retirement. That business still flourishes today. Fortunately, Janice enjoyed her flower and vegetable gardens, tree farming and she was also an avid quilter. With complimentary skills Ken and Janice blended wonderfully.

Obit Photo Ken Hoverson anniversary

  Ken kept his hand in aviation and enjoyed flying his own airplanes, an open cockpit Kolb ultralight and a Kit Fox. He also enjoyed hunting pheasants and waterfowl on his family farm in Lidgerwood, ND. It was rumored that also enjoyed attending auctions.

   In 2020 Janice preceded Ken in death. Ken is survived his sons: Thomas, Michael, and Steve, and his daughter Tina; thirteen grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren in addition to other relatives and friends.

- Kenneth Francis Hoverson & Bill Day