Well known Navy and local attorney William Hoover dies following extended illness

Retired Navy Commander William "The Judge" Dean Hoover
Retired Navy Commander William "The Judge" Dean Hoover

William “The Judge” Dean Hoover was born on September 17, 1940, in Jefferson City, MO to Elbert Frank Hoover, and Nell Pauline Williams.  He passed on February 24, 2018, at home after an extended illness.

Bill graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business and later received a doctorate in law from the University of Kansas. Throughout his lifetime he was a staunch advocate for education. 

Bill had many careers in the military, commencing with a tour with the Air Force before law school with the USAF Strategic Air Command’s Bombardment Wing (later renamed 11th Strategic Aerospace Wing) from 1960-64. He was awarded a direct commission to be a JAG Officer in the Navy.  

He initially served on the USS Ranger (CV-61) during the Vietnam War as a ship’s JAG Officer (1972-74); later at the Naval Training Command Pacific where he taught naval officers how to conduct accident investigations and was a director of training (1975-77); Light Attack Wing Pacific as the Staff JAG (1977-80); Naval Air Systems Command (1980-81); where he reviewed all aircraft accident investigations for lessons learned;  Naval Air Station Lemoore JAG (1981-83) and Naval Legal Service Office, San Diego (1984-86).

He subsequently retired in 1986 and opened a law practice in Lemoore before he went on to be the director of the Lemoore Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.  He taught business classes as adjunct faculty for Chapman University, West Hills College, and Fresno City College and as full-time faculty, he taught business, management, law and aviation-related courses at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Prior to his military service, Bill drove a formula race car to a division championship in the Midwest. He has contributed articles and commentary to many publications over the years including Proceedings Magazine and a book on the history of the Tailhook Association. He has written a book, “Lawyer at Sea” and contributed material for Jean Jimmerman’s book on Navy women.

As a Navy lawyer, he represented Cmdr. Jerry Fronabarger, a Naval Supply Officer, fired for sanctioning payments for overpriced spare parts. Ashtrays? Ring a bell? He also represented six Navy women who were demanding they be allowed to go to sea.  “The battles I helped Navy women fight to be treated fairly under the law and the right to serve at sea were the highlights of my career,” said Hoover. There are those today who believe that William and his abilities as an advocate were mostly responsible for the eventual removal of regulations barring women from regular sea duty.

Bill was a member of the National Air and Space Museum, a board member of the NAS Lemoore Aviation Museum, a board member of the Lemoore Vietnam Naval Aviators Reunion Association, was a member of ANA (Association for Naval Aviation), and Greater Kings County Navy League.

Bill is survived by Maria, his wife of 16 years. Survivors also include his four children, David from Texas, Allison from North Carolina, Sean Christopher Selyg from North Carolina, and William Jr. from Lemoore.

A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, May 5, 2018, at Lemoore Veteran’s Memorial Hall, 411 West “D” St. from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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