In Memoriam: Life of 'Reminder' founder Ken Hovland, Sr.

By ReminderNews
Vernon - posted Fri., Oct. 7, 2011
'Reminder' founder Kenneth Arthur Hovland, Sr., 1924-2011. - Contributed Photo

On Oct. 3, Kenneth Arthur Hovland, Sr., of Vernon, founder of the Reminder, died peacefully at the age of 87.

“To those of us who knew and worked for him over the years, he was a kind, generous and caring leader and friend,” said Reminder Media General Manager George Cunningham. “He cared passionately about his company and employees and was always accessible and willing to listen. And his sense of humor was unmatched. We will miss him dearly, and we will be forever grateful for allowing us to be part of the Reminder family.”

Ken, Sr., was the beloved husband of the late Carol (McCormick) Hovland, who predeceased him in May 2010. He was born in Eagle Grove, Iowa, on March 20, 1924, the son of the late Peter and Sophia Hovland.

He met Carol McCormick at Iowa State College, and they were married on May 16, 1947.

The idea to start the Rockville Reminder in 1949 came after Ken, Sr., and his wife Carol saw a similar paper called The Reminder in Iowa.

For the first issue, Ken sold the ads and Carol used an Underwood typewriter along with hand lettering to produce the ads. A hand cranked mimeograph machine printed the 4,000 copies, and hand collating and stapling finished the job.

By the second week, advertisers were seeing results, and the weekly paper began to grow. Today, Ken’s sons own and publish the ReminderNews, which circulates to more than 50 towns in Connecticut.

Ken had many personal interests and hobbies. He traveled a great deal throughout his life, including travel all over the United States, first with his Avion trailer in the 1960s and later with a different motor home every few years. He also traveled many times to the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska, Hawaii and even China.

He loved to play tennis, starting when he was 47 years old, often playing every day during his winters in Florida and with regular weekly groups at home. He passed this love for tennis along to many of his grandchildren; at least six have been involved with high school or other organized tennis programs. Ken loved boating and took up water skiing in the 1950s. Later he enjoyed boating with his family on his houseboat and also in Florida.

He had a strong passion for his Reminder “Speak Out” column and personally did the editing of reader submissions for many years.
He was an early adopter of modern technology and was one of the first to own a reel to reel tape recorder, Polaroid camera, microwave oven, VCR, video camera and portable phone in a briefcase.  He loved taking videotapes of his grandchildren, and spent hours carefully editing them into movies.

Ken is survived by his beloved children, Nancy Gage of San Mateo, Calif.; Janet Jungden and her husband Michael and their children, Naomi and Elena Jungden of Storrs; Ken Hovland, Jr., and his wife Carol of Glastonbury, and their children, Michael Ross of Newington and Kristopher Hovland of Glastonbury; and Keith Hovland and his wife Pam, of South Windsor, and their children, Amber Venoutsos and her husband Nik of Vernon, Ashly Hovland and her fiancé Jesse Bishopric of South Windsor, and Kyle and Ariel Hovland of South Windsor; and his sister, Verna Wishart, of  La Palma, Calif.

Arrangements were with the Ladd-Turkington & Carmon Funeral Home in Vernon. Donations in his memory can be made to Kidsafe, 19 Elm St., Vernon, CT  06066.  For online condolences and guest book, please visit

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