Early Sunday morning, March 29, 2015, at the age of 92, LeRoy Woolman Hoke went to be with the Lord. He was a wonderful father, grandfather, great-grandfather and husband.
Funeral service 11:00 AM Thursday April 2, 2015 at the Johnson Funeral Home in Waconia with Rev. Bill Bonner as officiant. Visitation one hour prior to the service. Interment with military honors at 1:30 PM (report to assembly area #4) at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery in Bloomington.
LeRoy grew up in the Denver area as a young boy. His family liked travel and adventure and fueled Roy’s love of spontaneous travel events. In later years he would often take off with his camper to revisit the South Dakota haunts of his earlier years. “Old Blue”, his travel trailer was his favorite getaway.
Roy enlisted in the Marines at a young age. He spent time in combat with best friend and buddy, LaVarre Daley and returned home after the war with a wealth of stories he would later publish in his autobiography and book of stories.
LeRoy met Elma Jaide at his place of work and they were married after a whirlwind romance. They moved to Murdo, South Dakota and built a home for their expanding family. They had three daughters in Murdo which was a great place for a young family to be.
Roy shared his knowledge of the natural world with his children. We knew the names of all the creatures, great and small, that roamed the prairie around us, as well as many common plants and flowers. He would often take his girls to hunt fossils and rocks on the nearby prairies as well as fishing in the local dam. Roy was an accomplished mechanic and built exciting things for his girls. One was a putt-putt car which they drove around the neighborhood. At night, we would often beg him to “tell us a story.” He was a true artist of storytelling and we listened in awe to each new story adventure.
When the evening fell we would often gather with the neighborhood families and scan the starry skies for UFOs or starry constellations. Together these young prairie families found a common bond in serving the Lord and studying the Bible. They created a church for their young families called the “Community Bible Church” where they could share their love of God with each other and the community.
When work in the town of Murdo became scarce, LeRoy decided to become a typesetter and found a school in Charles City, Iowa that taught that trade. So the family packed all of their worldly goods and set off to find their fortune in the world of print. LeRoy went to school for three months and then moved to print companies in several of the nearby towns.
Eventually, LeRoy found his calling at the Evangelical Free Church Press Headquarters in Richfield, MN. He worked there for many years as a pressman and eventually opened a little shop of his own until he reached retirement.
An accomplished wordsmith and poet, Roy published a biography of his life and adventures, especially his years in the Marine Corps as well as a book of poetry. He always liked new words and would challenge the family to figure out the latest “new word” he had discovered. His poetry has been published frequently in the Marine Corps monthly newsletters.
LeRoy and Elma eventually retired to the Good Samaritan retirement community in Waconia, Minnesota. Elma went to be with the Lord several years ago.
LeRoy found special companionship and new love in Betty Norheim, another resident of the Good Sam’s community.
They married in June of 2014 and began life together sharing many new adventures. They travelled to Betty’s lake home in the summer and shared many special times and life stories. They played Skip-Bo every day and took walks around the grounds as well as maintaining a small garden. LeRoy created many special poems for the new love of his life.
LeRoy is preceded in death by his parents William and Grace (Cook) Hoke; wife Elma; sister Anna.
LeRoy is survived by his loving family: wife Betty; daughters Grace (Dan) Swanson of Prior Lake, Christine Hannon of Minneapolis, Julie Klinger of Rosemount; grandchildren Bridget Swanson, Aimee (Jim) Johnson, David (Mandi) Ellingson, Nathan Klinger, Ryan Klinger; great-grandchildren Andrew, Mariah, Matthew, Brittany, Blake, Shelby, Josie, Ethan, Aiden; great-great-grandchildren Jack and Betsy; sister Jean Hirschfelt of California; nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.
Arrangements with the Johnson Funeral Home in Waconia.