Diane Hovden

Friday, December 15, 2023 4:29 pm

Diane Hovden, age 87, of Ridgeway, Iowa, passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023, at Gundersen Health Systems in La Crosse, Wis., surrounded by her family.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 20, at the Madison Lutheran Church, with Rev. Nathan Wicks presiding. Burial will be in the church cemetery.  A lunch will follow the service at the Ridgeway Community Center, 690 County St., Ridgeway, IA, 52165.

Visitation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 19, at the Helms Funeral Home, 306 East Water St., Decorah, IA. There will be no visitation prior to the funeral service.  Attendees are asked to please come in and be seated.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the family. A donation will be made in Diane’s name at a later date.

Diane Vondell Halverson was born Feb. 2, 1936, in La Crosse, Wis. Her parents were Clemet “Hal” and Viola Halverson. Diane was confirmed at Madison Lutheran Church in Ridgeway. She graduated from Ridgeway High School in 1954. She had been dating Maynard Hovden in her last two years of high school; upon his return from the service, they were united in marriage on Dec. 17, 1955, at Madison Lutheran Church. She said that “we knew from the start of our relationship that we were a couple and always would be.”

She had an amazing singing voice; her talent and love of music were evident from a very young age. When she lived in La Crosse, she auditioned and performed many times on the radio for Uncle Ken’s Childrens Hour. She started singing at Madison Lutheran Church when she was in second grade and sang many times at church throughout her life. Maynard always said, “whenever she heard music her toe was tapping.” Her love of music was an inspiration for family members to sing or play an instrument.

Diane worked at the Winneshiek Country Treasurer’s Office in Decorah, after high school graduation, before marrying Maynard. In 1957, Maynard and Diane purchased a service station in Ridgeway, and worked together to establish a successful business. While continuing the work at Hovden 66 (eventually changed to Hovden Oil), Diane was offered a position at the Farmer’s State Bank in Ridgeway, and was mentored by Bob McQueen. She had the opportunity and attended schools to learn the fundamentals of banking and finances. She became the first woman Vice President of Farmer’s State Bank and the first woman in the banking community in the area. The knowledge she gained from her years at the bank was very valuable for her important contribution to the family business as it grew, and other family members joined Hovden Oil, in 1980 and throughout the years.

Diane was very involved at Madison Church throughout her life, teaching Sunday school, holding officers’ positions for the women’s group, Parish Financial Secretary, helping and serving at funerals, weddings, and programs. She also volunteered at many community events. Diane was always there to provide food, organize, clean, and help in whatever capacity was needed. Her energy and kind heart were beyond measure.

Dianes’s Norwegian heritage was very important to her. Every Christmas she made rommegrot and lefse (with the help of Maynard!) for the Hovden family Christmas celebration. She passed on this tradition to her daughters and granddaughters. In 2019, she and Maynard, with two family members were guests of Vesterheim to the Norwegian Embassy in Washington DC. Everyone had a Norwegian sweater!  Diane was an avid reader; she always had a book with her wherever she went. She was a lifelong Packer, Hawkeye, and Twins Fan, enjoyed golf and being outdoors and was a member of Silvercrest and Oneota. She walked daily at a “very good clip!” Over the years she traveled the world visiting 7 continents, dozens of countries, and most of the United States. These trips were shared with family and friends making memories together to last a lifetime for everyone!

Diane’s love for her family and her faith in the Lord were foremost in her life. Diane was so proud of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She rarely missed any ball games, concerts, programs, recitals, and events for over 60 years! Her life was truly centered around her family and her strong faith was shared with all.  Diane’s “Happy Place” over the past 60 years was spending time at their cabin on the Mississippi River with her family and friends. As they crossed the Lansing Bridge on their way to the cabin, she would comment that “she felt a sense of peace come over her.” The days at the river were filled with boating and fishing, family times, laughter and relaxing with a book, ending the day on the deck with Maynard watching the sun set over the river.

Diane leaves an enduring legacy to her family, and she will be remembered by everyone for her beautiful, infectious smile, a twinkle in her eye and a kind word.

Thanks be to God!

Diane is survived by her husband of 68 years, Maynard Hovden; children: Dawn (David) Schweizer of Charles City, Terry (Charis Johnson) Hovden of Ridgeway, Connie (Don) Koshatka of Provitin, Tracey (Jerry) Walsh of Spring Park, Minn., Kari (Roy) Smith of Hastings, Minn.; 10 grandchildren: Cole Schweizer, Caroline (Adam) Schwickerath, Mychal Schweizer, Lars Hovden, Hannah (Spencer) Bohr, Beth Koshatka, Zack (Matison) Walsh, Erin (Ben) Summers, Alison (Josh) Lohman, and Grace Smith; and 8 great-grandchildren; brother-in-law Wayne (Patty) Hovden; sister-in-law Chris Hovden and many nieces and nephews.

Preceding her in death were her parents, brother Greg, sister Barabara, brother-in-law Dennis Hovden and her in-laws – Gerald and Caroline Hovden.


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