Dennis Hovland: from Hononegah and the Wagon Wheel, to Vietnam, and across Beloit

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Dennis Michael “Doc” Hovland, was born in Chicago, IL, the son of Dempster “Dempsey” Hovland and Regina (Furset). He tragically lost his mother when he was four years old. Dempsey’s second wife, Florence, raised Dennis as a son, along with her other six children who were younger by some six to twenty years. Despite the age differences, not one of his siblings ever considered him a half sibling, nor was he ever referred to as a stepson. He attended school at both South Beloit High School and Hononegah High School, where he excelled in basketball.

Dennis passed away on Sunday, July 10, 2022. He was predeceased by his sister, Vicki Lynn in 1955, and his father, mother, grandparents, and great-grandparents.



Dennis was a paper boy, and worked as a bus boy at the Wagon Wheel Resort in Rockton. Later, when he was 17, he enlisted in the Army, and served in Germany and Vietnam (Co. B 7 199 Infantry) for which he was awarded the Vietnam Service and Campaign Medals and the National Defense Service Medal. He also received an Army Commendation Medal for heroism before he was honorably discharged in 1970 as a very proud veteran. 

Four months after his discharge, at a very young age of 20 years old, Dennis was seriously injured in an automobile accident. The accident left him comatose for 54 days and forced him into a lifetime of recovery. He never drove a car again. He was well recognized on the street as he crossed Beloit several times a day on foot.

He married Jeanine Huebner, who passed away in 1999. Dennis was a man of faith. He was known as a wonderful, kind-hearted gentleman who appreciated a sense of humor in others, while sometimes becoming impatient with himself. He overcame his struggles with alcohol, smoking, and caffeine. He loved his family, mathematical accounting, writing letters and cards, lottery scratch-off tickets, collecting can tabs for the VA, Elvis, playing pool, the Chicago White Sox, the Zoo Gardens, The Carom Room, The Eagles Club, Friday fish fries, Tillies Pizza, and Geri’s Hamburgers.

He is survived by his six siblings, Julie (Richard Kretz), Erin, Todd, Scott, Beth, and Kirk (Dixie); daughter, Stacey Lynn (Patrick Schlimmer); two grandsons, Seamus and Paul; many loving nieces and nephews; and his dear uncle, Clarence (Betty) Furset.

A private graveside service for Dennis will be held at East Lawn Cemetery in Beloit. Daley Murphy Wisch & Associates Funeral Home and Crematorium, 2355 Cranston Rd., Beloit, WI, assisted the family with arrangements.

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