Lawrence Harold Hoover Jr. was born May 3, 1934, in Harrisonburg, to Lawrence Harold Hoover and Ola May Hoover and passed away on Sept. 6, 2019.
Larry graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in 1956 (Magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and obtained a Juris Doctor in 1959 from the University of Virginia (Order of the Coif, Virginia Law Review). After law school, he practiced law with his father in Harrisonburg for two years, then left Harrisonburg to join the Department of State, Legal Advisers Office in Washington, D.C.
In 1966, Larry was assigned by the State Department as legal adviser to Ambassador Blair at the Embassy in Manilla, Philippines, advising the Ambassador on the U.S. bases agreements in the Philippines. Larry traveled widely with his then-wife, Eliza, while in the Philippines, and made many lifelong Filipino friends and was part of a renowned Philippine church choir.
After service in the Philippines, Larry was assigned to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva. His daughter, Cornelia, had now joined the family and spent her first two years in Switzerland, often on her father’s back, as the family hiked in the Swiss Alps. In 1971, Larry and family left the State Department to settle on a farm near Harrisonburg, where Larry tried his hand at sheep farming while practicing with his father in the firm that is now Hoover Penrod, PLC. Larry’s son, John, was born in 1973.
A common refrain among Larry’s many lifelong friends and acquaintances is appreciation for his life of dedicated service. In one area in particular, Larry had a lasting impact advocating and working tirelessly to create alternatives to the adversarial legal system. His efforts to refocus the legal profession on the client’s needs changed the nature of the legal system throughout Virginia.
Larry has often been referred to as “the father of mediation in Virginia.” In Harrisonburg, Larry was one of the founders of the Fairfield Center, the first community mediation center in Virginia. Larry received statewide recognition, including the Alternative Dispute Resolution Founder Award, and A Lifetime Achievement Award from the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Virginia Supreme Court, among many others. Larry inspired many students at Washington and Lee University School of Law, the University of Virginia School of Law, and Bridgewater College with his passion and belief in alternative dispute methods. He maintained friendships with many of his students, continuing to give support throughout his life.
Larry served on many community boards, including the Community Foundation, the Center for Justice and Peace Building at Eastern Mennonite University, the Community Mediation Center (founding member), the American Shakespeare Center, Gemeinschaft Home (founding member), Church of the Brethren, Shenandoah Valley Public Television, Blue Ridge Community College Education Foundation, Farmers and Merchants Bank and others.
Some of Larry’s other passions included travel, theater and especially singing. He sang in many groups including barbershop quartets, the Shenandoah Valley Choral Society, and the Bach Festival Chorus.
Larry is survived by Pat, his wife of 39 years; his daughter, Cornelia; his son, John, and her children, Elizabeth Sloat, George Aldhizer and Carol Delia. His grandchildren include Dominic and Maddalena Hoover, Alexandria and Andrew Delia, Katherine, Bridget and Jack Sloat, Tom and George Aldhizer IV, along with great- grandchildren, Graty and Ellis Aldhizer.
A Celebration of Life will be held for Larry at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Bridgewater Church of the Brethren. There will be a short reception at the church after the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in gratitude for Larry’s life be sent to the Gemeinschaft Home or the Fairfield Center (formerly the Community Mediation Center).