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Insurance adjuster's life revolved around family

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Thomas Duncan Hoover, a Navy veteran, claims adjuster for USF&G and dedicated family man, died Jan. 10 at UPMC Passavant. He was 94.

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Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, 9:26 p.m.

There was very little that Tom Hoover wouldn't give up for his family, his friends or his insurance clients.

“He always put us first — he never said, ‘wait until I'm done with this,' or ‘wait until this show's over,' ” said his son, John Hoover of Ross. “The biggest thing Dad gave us was his time.”

Military school and a stint in the Navy turned the East Liberty bad boy with a love of motorcycles into a responsible business owner and student, who went on to become an insurance professional and an unwavering family man, his son said.

Thomas Duncan Hoover of Ross died of pneumonia Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, at North Hills Passavant Hospital. He was 94.

Born in East Liberty to Miles and Emily Hoover, Mr. Hoover attended Peabody High School, but his parents sent him to Augusta Military Academy in Virginia because he had bought a motorcycle, was forbidden to keep it, and got caught hiding it in Homewood Cemetery and sneaking out to ride it.

Mr. Hoover enlisted in the Navy during World War II and was posted to several ships, his son said. But he was often seasick, and was eventually posted to a base in the Panama Canal Zone, where he was reunited with his beloved motorcycles through the base's motor pool.

“In Panama, he rode from the Atlantic to the Pacific a couple of times so he could tell people he'd ridden from coast to coast,” said his daughter, Karen Morgan of Ohio Township.

After the war, Mr. Hoover bought an Esso Gas Station in West View and attended business classes at Duquesne University. His met his wife, Margaret Huckestein, now 86, when she came into the gas station and was struck by his smile.

They married in 1951, and he sold the gas station. The family moved to Dubois so Mr. Hoover could work as an insurance adjuster for a division of General Motors. He later was employed by USF&G and earned a promotion to head of claims at the insurance company's main office in Baltimore. The entire family moved there in 1964. But when his wife, mother and children missed the Pittsburgh area too much, he took a lesser job in the office here just a year later, John Hoover said.

Despite hip trouble and multiple surgeries that started in his 40s, Mr. Hoover always was willing to play football, basketball or hockey with his kids.

“You'd hear him grunt and groan, maybe see a grimace, but then he just kept on rolling,” his son said.

In addition to his wife Margaret, son John and daughter Karen, Mr. Hoover is survived by four grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Ann Alison Hoover.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in Memorial Park Presbyterian Church in McCandless. Arrangements are being handled by Simons Funeral Home, 7720 Perry Highway in Ross.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or

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