Gregory Allen Hoover, 69, of Mifflinburg PA, passed away at home on May 12, 2023, surrounded by family. He was at peace, valiantly facing glioblastoma with equal parts humor and courage.
Born on December 15, 1953, the son of the late Owen Chester and Helen Faye (Rowe) Hoover, Greg grew up in Elizabethville, PA. He was the eldest of two children, with a younger brother Todd Albert Hoover. Greg discovered his love for the outdoors in those early years—trapping, fishing, and hunting. Greg and Todd antagonized, loved, and then raised their own families together, all the way through Todd's passing in 2016. Greg is also preceded in death by his parents. Greg stood beside each through their own cancer battles.
Greg graduated from Upper Dauphin Area High School in 1971. He completed his undergraduate degree in Biology from Mansfield University in 1975 and obtained his Masters in Entomology from Penn State in 1977.
Greg was the consummate educator, the self-professed "bug geek" to the worlds of fly fishing, agriculture, and conservation. He was widely-considered North America's most knowledgeable fly fishing entomologist. If heaven has a trout stream, Greg is already matching the hatch with his encyclopedic knowledge of aquatic insects, and all things natural.
Greg was a forest entomologist in the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry for 7 years. He moved to the Pennsylvania State University in 1989, where he taught and served as a senior extension entomologist for 28 years. He was an expert in ornamental, forest, and aquatic entomology, lecturing in undergraduate and graduate courses, and spear-heading the study of the invasive insects like the Emerald Ash Borer and Spotted Lantern Fly. He presented over 850 extension programs, guest lectures, and workshops throughout Pennsylvania and the northeast.
For 21 of those years, Greg was the faculty advisor to the Penn State Fly Fishing Club. This melding of his passion for fly fishing and guiding young people became one of the most fulfilling parts of Greg's career.
In "retirement" Greg spent 8 years as the director and lead instructor for the famed fly fishing courses at Penn State, continuing the tradition started by his late mentor George Harvey and bolstered by his friend Joe Humphreys. Greg ignited a passion for fly fishing in those students, receiving their praise and high ratings, along with the "Teaching Excellence Award" in 2017 from the Penn State Department of Kinesiology. Greg also received the George Harvey Award for unselfishly promoting the sport of fly fishing and was the 2012 Order of the Hat award recipient from the Fly Fisher's Club of Harrisburg.
In 1992, Greg coauthored a book with Charlie Meck, "Great Rivers, Great Hatches," a guide to nearly 60 trout streams and their hatches across the United States. Greg wrote papers on the eastern green drake and periodical cicadas, even creating the fly pattern "Hoov's Cicada" for the emerging broods. He published articles in Outdoor Life, Fly Tyer, American Angler, and Mid-Atlantic Fly Fishing Guide. Greg was a regular banquet speaker for many fly fishing organizations, including Trout Unlimited chapters and fly fishing clubs in the eastern and midwestern United States. Greg was fortunate to fly fish with U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and considered Lefty Kreh a friend.
Greg enjoyed volunteering with all age groups, specifically the yearly "On the Fly" competition, the Wildlife Leadership Academy, and Casting for Recovery. Late in life, anglers found him behind the counter at Flyfisher's Paradise, tying flies, telling stories, and nurturing the love for the sport.
Greg married the love of his life, Debra Anne Gentile, on October 8, 1977. He was late to the ceremony because of archery season, which was fitting as he nearly missed their first date to the high school prom for hunting. Deb was the "catch of his life," as he often said. She still was his "hun" and "toots" some 53 years later. In that time, they filled homes in Halifax, State College, and Mifflinburg with memories and love. Deb was a superhero in her care for Greg, and he was for her own battle with breast cancer.
Greg and Deb raised 3 children, Kyle, Kirk, and Kaitlin. Greg's pride in each of their character and careers were constant, as were his cards signed, "Love, Me." He parented with strict expectations and a watchful eye. He coached each in youth sports, was a fixture in the football field and volleyball matches, and always traveled to support their interests. He enjoyed adding Kirk's wife, his daughter-in-law Nicole (Scipione) Hoover to the family. His love for his grandchildren, Emma, Sydney, and Colin was his true joy. You see Greg in each of them, both in genetics and in his teaching, in their humor and their own teasing, as they lovingly refer to him as "Poppy."
Family and friends knew Greg to be a true protector. He was the resident safety-checker, assessing baseboard heating for fire hazards and warning of potential ticks in the woods. Greg knew every deer crossing from central Pennsylvania to New England, and instructed traveling loved ones to "let the phone ring twice so I know you made it home safe." He stored a large topographic map under his driver's seat and loved long drives, especially with his wife.
Greg had a huge sense of humor. He enjoyed dining out so he could tease waitstaff, reminding them, "Don't worry, it will be reflected in your tip." Family vacations saw him capturing insects in fast-food cups, storing them in the freezer. He was most comfortable wearing just a robe, especially if sipping on some "libations," his favorite being a gin and tonic made with bitter lemon.
Greg was an accomplished photographer, particularly of insects and his family (who through the lens he may have seen as one in the same). Greg loved music, from bands like Chicago to atmospheric slide guitars and the blues. He found rhythm by constantly drumming on his own stomach, and singing along to the R&B songs of the 1990s. He loved Youtube for its fly fishing content, watching hours of fly tying and fishing trips across the world. He was a college football fan, a Penn State season ticket holder for years, and a supporter of the Penn State Women's Volleyball team, as well as hockey and gymnastics.
At Greg's request, there will be no memorial service. Immediate family will commemorate Greg's life by a trout stream later this summer.
The family wants to express immense gratitude to the Selinsgrove Hospice staff, specifically Ronda Burkhart and Tammy Schreck for their laughter, milkshakes, and care for Greg.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Greg's memory may be sent to the Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited, attn: Mike March, PO Box 207, Centre Hall, PA 16828, or made on their website: springcreektu.org. Donations should be payable to Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited.
To share in Greg's online memorial, please visit www.adamofh.com.
Funeral arrangements are by Dominick T. Adamo Funeral Homes, Mifflinburg, PA.