How do you capture the essence of a man in a few paragraphs? Todd Hovey, who transitioned beyond this earth on March 2, 2007, was many things to many people, but to everyone who knew him he was most of all a great friend.
Todd was born in Stoneham, Massachusetts, on Valentine’s Day in 1942. The second child and first son of Eugene and Rosa Hovey, Todd spent his first six years in this small town just outside Boston. After a particularly bad winter, the family, along with their dog Rusty, drove across the country with a small teardrop trailer to the promise of warmth and sunshine in Santa Barbara, California. There they joined relatives and settled in to make a life for themselves.
Todd moved with his family several times in and around Goleta and Santa Barbara, finally ending up, at age 16, on Alphonse Street on Santa Barbara’s Eastside. There, living with her family across the street was the love of Todd’s life, Charlene Cota. Introduced by Charlene’s brother, the two spent the next 49 years traveling together through life.
Todd and Charlene were married on December 30, 1961. On August 17, 1963, they welcomed their first child, Tim Eugene, into the world. Eleven months later, they welcomed me into the family. Our young family began its journey on Loma Street in Santa Barbara.
Family was the most important thing to Todd, and he and Charlene did everything they could to raise us children in a loving and caring home. As everyone who knew Todd can attest, his creativity and craftsmanship were boundless, and this, along with his incredible artistic ability, made the Hovey home a fun and nurturing place to be. The Wrong Brothers, a classic home movie starring us Hovey boys, directed and filmed by Todd, was one example of this wonderful environment.
Our family had many adventures together, including frequent trips to the back country of San Luis Obispo County to pan for gold, and a harrowing flight across the country in 1976 in the small, four-seat, single-engine family plane.
Work was not always Todd’s favorite place to be, but the people he met working as a mechanical engineer, both at Burroughs in the ’70s and ’80s and later at Santa Barbara Research, became lifelong friends. Every Friday, Todd would call the gang together for lunch and a pitcher.
Todd will be missed by his wife, Charlene; myself and my brother, Tim; his daughters-in-law Cheryl and Dawn; his five wonderful grandchildren, Aidan, Lauren, Alyssa, Jessica, and Shannon; his sister, Judy; and by his many friends and other family members.
The world is a much better place because Todd was here for a while.
Donations in Todd’s name may be made to Earth Justice (earthjustice.org).