Thirty years ago, I saluted Judge Bill Hoeveler in my Sunday column in the Herald as the “quintessential judge,” respected throughout the legal profession, from jurors to law clerks, and even convicted criminals slapped with stiff sentences in his court. We have been reminded of all this in recent days as his life and legacy have been honored by so many who were associated with the judge over the years.
I knew Bill, not from any practice of the law, but as a friend and mentor. Bill lived his entire life with integrity, humility, and absolute trust in his Lord. We met weekly for Bible study with a handful of other local leaders. We prayed together many times as he struggled first with his late wife’s long illness and, later, with the effects of a severe stroke that left him increasingly incapacitated.
Bill was a man of courage, always believing that he could weather each crisis, no matter how difficult they had become. With great effort, he flew to Washington and stood with my family as Judge Pete Fay swore me in as ambassador to Spain. I could always count on Bill for strength and wise counsel.
Despite his long and frustrating illness that limited his ability to communicate, he was at peace. He knew where he was headed, and he found comfort in the knowledge that he had done his best. We — his friends — are comforted in that he lived long enough to experience so many kudos reaffirming his huge legacy.
I prefaced that Sunday column by quoting from St. Francis of Assisi: “Remember that when you leave this Earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received — fading symbols of honor, trappings of power — but only what you have given: a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice, and courage.”
One would think that St. Francis, who wrote this in 1220, knew Bill Hoeveler.
Dick Capen, former publisher, Miami Herald,
La Jolla, Ca.