Wyoming & San Antonio
7121 Wyoming Blvd NE,
Albuquerque, NM 87109
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Esther Harrison Hovel, age 105, died November 11, 2022. She had been a resident of Albuquerque since 1982. She was born in San Antonio, TX, on January 12, 1917, graduated from Incarnate Word College there, and did graduate work in Art History at Oxford, England, and the British Institute in Florence, Italy.
Mrs. Hovel was the only child of the late Mr. and Mrs. Randolph Harrison of Virginia and Texas and was the widow of her late, beloved husband, Elliott Hovel, to whom she was married 60 years. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother. The couple had two children—Richard Elliot Hovel of Seattle, WA, and Auverne Greco of Genesee Park, CO—four grandchildren, sixteen great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.
Mrs. Hovel was a member of Northeast Church of Christ, a member of the Junior League International for more than 50 years, and the first emeritus member of the Junior League of Albuquerque. She had served on the Board of Directors for many organizations here and in El Paso, where she and Mr. Hovel had lived for many years prior to his retirement from Exxon Corp. Mrs. Hovel served as a docent at the El Paso Museum of Art for 10 years, where she taught sculpture and the art of stained glass. She was also a Rotary member. After retirement, Mr. and Mrs. Hovel moved back to their beloved Albuquerque, where they were both active in civic affairs and were among the charter members of the local “Contact Lifeline,” serving for 10 years. This organization helped many people in times of crisis. It first began under the guidance of the late Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and Guidepost magazine and grew to become international.
While Mrs. Hovel and her husband served on the Board of Directors of the YMCA—and their son was an Eagle Scout and YMCA counselor—the family was awarded a “Family of the Year” all-expenses-paid trip to Disneyland, where they were guests at the Disneyland Hotel and Park for several days. They were also honored at a dinner at the Beverly Hills Country Club, where they heard a talk by the late Walt Disney to the Executive Directors of all the YMCAs and honored guests.
Mrs. Hovel also helped with the celebration of the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution in 1987–1988, which was directed by the retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Warren Burger. As a result, she and her husband were invited to a dinner and reception at the White House, where she and many others were presented the Medal of Merit and a huge, quilted flag by President Ronald Reagan.
Mrs. Hovel has been profiled for decades in “Who’s Who in America” (but her plaque hangs in her garage!). She was a direct descendant of Robert “King” Carter of Virginia, who was the progenitor of both presidents Harrison, two governors of Virginia, and numerous members of the House of Burgesses in Virginia. Every generation of her family has sent at least one officer to defend the U.S. in every declared war since 1776. There were three in WWII, including her much-decorated husband.
Mr. and Mrs. Hovel traveled the world, taking many trips to every continent except Antarctica. The couple was known for their generosity and hospitality, especially to Christian missionaries, and had sponsored needy children from around the world, including Esther’s House in Malawi, Africa.
Services will be held Saturday, December 17, 2022, at FRENCH – Wyoming (visitation at noon, funeral at 1:00 p.m.). Entombment will follow at the Chester T. French Memorial Mausoleum at Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery.