John Hovan
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HOVAN, JOHN G. of Providence, RI died Thursday, March 27 at the age of 97 after a long illness. He was the husband of the late Mildred Hovan, his wife of 64 years. He is survived by his daughters, Georgi A. Johnson and Laurie M. Martin; his grandchildren, William F. Monahan, Joseph Hovan, James Martin, and Johanna Martin; and his great-grand-son, Gavin Lily, and great-grand-daughter, Kali Martin. Also his brothers, Joseph, Stephen, and Julius, and his sisters Mary and Ann. His brothers Peter and Michael, and his sisters Margaret and Helen predeceased him. Mr. Hovan fought in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade as a young man, during the Spanish Civil War, for which he was awarded an honorary Spanish citizenship by their grateful government. His experiences were collected by the Smithsonian Institute as part of the "Living History" project. He also honorably served his country in the Pacific during the Second World War as a Navy CeeBee. He was well known for his activity in politics and the labor movement during the 30s, 40s, and 50s. He was well read and enjoyed engaging others in lively discussion of the issues of the day. In his later years he became a persuasive advocate for Elder Citizens Medical Affairs, appearing on local TV, advocating in the Rhode Island State House, and proudly serving a senior internship in Washington, DC. He resided at Heritage Hills Nursing Home in North Smithfield, RI at the time of his death. He received devoted care from all the nursing staff and the hospice team of Beacon Hospice. The family wishes to extend special thanks to his favorite CNA, Ruka. Services will be private. Memorial donations may be made to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives,799 Broadway, Suite 341, New York, NY 10003-6827.

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Published in The Providence Journal on Mar. 30, 2014.
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36 entries
March 27, 2020
Jay Payton
March 22, 2020
Thinking of you again on this day John; you were a great neighbor in Providence so many years ago. Rest In Peace! Sheila & Hollie Roy
Sheila D. Conway
May 26, 2014
My condolences to the family and friends of John G. Hovan. Thanks you for your dedicated service during the Spanish Civil War. A remarkable and respected gentleman. May You Rest in Peace...
Jay Payton
April 22, 2014
I'm so glad I got to know John. I will always have great admiration for him and always be grateful to him as a role model.
Joshua-Michael Corrente
April 16, 2014
We, the Asociación de Amigos de las Brigadas Internacionales (AABI) offer our condolences to John's family and friends, as we continue to spread the legacy of the International Brigaders who came to help the Spanish Republic. Thank you for your generosity and your life-long fight for Justice and Equality. Your contribution shall not be forgotten. Thank you from Spain,

Asociacion de Amigos de las Brigadas Internacionales, Madrid
Asociacion de Amigos de las Brigadas Internacionales
April 15, 2014
Johnny Hovan was a presence in my life my whole life (all 70 years). He knew my mother, Anne Burlak, as a union organizer and Communist before she knew my father. He knew my father, Arthur Timpson as a comrade-in-arms in Spain and in the aftermath in New England where they helped Spanish Civil War vets find work. I always loved visiting Johnny with my Mother. His positive compassion and sweet disposition welcomed all into his embrace. What a grand fraternity are the comrades of the ALB, and Johnny Hovan a sparkling light among them.
Kathryn Wright
April 13, 2014
I am honored to have known John back in the 1960's when we worked together in the peace movement. He made a difference in so many lives - I am so glad to see so many people have written about him here! - including mine. I met him when I was very young, and he helped me learn to think politically, to question everything, and to speak out for what i believe. John was a true here. No one who knew him will ever forget him. He worked all his life, tirelessly and passionately, to make the world a better place. My deepest sympathy to my dear friend Laurie and to her family. And to John, heartfelt thanks for your dedicated service. May you rest in peace.
April 7, 2014
Thank you, Mr. Hovan, from Spain. You set an example to all back then, and your commitment and determination to do what is right is something to be admired and replicated these days. We are grateful for your generous service to our Republic and our people. Long live the International Brigades!
Dr. Almudena Cros
April 4, 2014
rip John.
While I only knew John as an older man, the obit got it right, he did enjoy a lively dscussion of issues, and while not always agreeing, I admired his long long passion for wanting to make the world better, and I feel honored to have known him.
Barry Schiller
April 1, 2014
I also did not know John; and my father was also a volunteer with the international brigades. I applaud the courage and stamina it took to fight the good fight. Please family of John, accept my condolences.
Joan Amatniek
April 1, 2014
RIP to Mr. Hovan. He was honored and blessed to have served with the ALB Brigade. Blessed to have made it home. An Uncle of mine also served but didn't return. They might have been comrades. All of them were heroes. He must be one of the last of the few. Vaya con Dios .
March 31, 2014
In sympathy
John Andrechak
March 31, 2014
A true hero and a man of principle whose commitment to the cause was unshakeable in spite of the personal sacrifice it entailed. A rare person indeed in these troubled times.
Bruce Vild
March 31, 2014
I never knew John, but I knew of the sacrifices made by the members of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in fighting the fascists in Spain, and I salute him for his idealism and courage. He is an inspiration.
David Elsila
March 31, 2014
We owe a debt of gratitude to John and his fine Band of Brothers. They stood alone against the fascist hordes. Condolences to all the Family.
Kevin Hayes
March 31, 2014
As a member of the Asociación de Amigos de las Brigadas Internacionales in Spain, I want to thank Mr. Hovan for his gallant gesture of coming to risk his life for Spanish democracy so many years ago. His memory and legacy will live forever. Once again, thank you! ¡Salud!

José Ignacio García Muniozguren
March 30, 2014
My sincere condolences to all of the Hovan family for a man I didn't know but feel the loss of, nevertheless. My dad, Charlie Nusser, was also a Lincoln so I know the high caliber of man John had to have been.
I am glad that he lived such a long, obviously fruitful and fulfilling life.
All the Lincolns were very special people, indeed. May John's life inspire others to follow in his foot- steps!
Polly Dubetz
Polly Nusser
March 30, 2014
I never had the honor of meeting Mr. Hovan but I wish to thank him for his dedication to his fight against evil and injustice. As the grandchild of Spanish immigrants I am aware of the courage and sacrifices of the Lincoln Brigade. I am proud to say that my Spanish community of Tampa, Florida strongly supported the Republic and we remain indebted to those like Mr. Hovan. My condolences to all his family and friends. Que se descansa en paz.
Anthony Carreño
March 30, 2014
RIP comrade. Thanks so much for going to my country to fight fascism.
I talked to Del Berg today. He said that he has to live a very long time since he is the only one left. The truth is that brigadistas never die. They are with us always and forever.
In memoriam, our dear John Hovan.
Char Prieto
March 30, 2014
My dad, Morris Kornblum (who later became Martin Balter) was also a member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Like a previous writer, I'd also like to think the Vets are all together up there somewhere! Your loved one John Hovan must have been a brave and wonderful man, and you must be very proud of him!
Lucy Balter Weinstein
March 30, 2014
Thoughts and prayers are with you all. John and your mom were our neighbors just two houses away many years ago near RW Park! We enjoyed watching your parents taking walks in the park and bird watching together. They were great neighbors. John was very active at the community center and was always such a kind and thoughtful man. He lived a long, productive life and we know he loved his family dearly. May his strength and love remain in your hearts forever. Sincerely, Sheila & Hollie Roy Walton, Jr.
Hollie Walton
March 30, 2014
The debt I owe Comrade Hovan can never repaid. His commitment and depth are ideals I hope to have. So long tender Comrade you will be sorely missed.
Michael Araujo
March 30, 2014
His life stands as an example to all of us. Fair winds.

Theron Snell
March 30, 2014
My father, Harry Hakam, also served in the Lincoln Brigade and the U.S. Navy Construction Battalion. I'd like to think that all the Vets we honor and love so very much have some grand reunion in the sky once they've passed on...and they're all up there marching amongst the clouds and singing their battle songs and still inspiring us to fight for what's right and best in this world. Be proud to have known such a man and father as John Hovan.
Valerie Hakam-Sacay
March 30, 2014
A wonderful person in the noble tradition of humanity. Thank you, John, for all your contributions.
Jesse Henry
March 30, 2014
I never had the honor to meet Mr. Hovan. I appreciate his lifelong dedication to liberty and working people.
Link Martin
March 30, 2014
As the son of a Lincoln Vet [my father was Frank Feingersh], I appreciate and applaud all those who fought "The Good Fight."

Though I never met John personally, we were companeros; and, I "knew" him from my earliest days; and, proudly "marched" beside him in the fight against Fascism!

In the words of La Pasionara: "Mas vale morir de pie que vivir de rodillas!" [It is better to die on one's feet than live one's knees!]
Brian Flaherty
March 30, 2014
Thank you for your service to humanity.
Vincent Doogan
March 30, 2014
John was a solid member of the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. His passing leaves behind only one living veteran (Del Berg of California) and a powerful legacy of men and women who stood up against the threat of Nazis and Fascists before it was fashionable to do so in this country. His courage was exceptional; his moral position is immortal.
Peter Carroll
March 30, 2014
We will always remember your honorable dedication to the international working class in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain.
Grover Furr
March 30, 2014
"Sois historia, sois leyenda..." Thanks for your defense of Spanish democracy! My Spanish mother was born in a refugee camp and endured decades of life under Franco's fascist dictatorship, but the memory of the young volunteers like Mr. Hovan that came to Spain to fight for liberty gave her and millions of other Spaniards hope. Salud!
Francisco Gonzalez
March 30, 2014
My deepest sympathy to the family on the passing of John Hovan. John was a true working-class hero and left his mark around social and economic justice in the state and beyond. Ray Neirinckx
March 30, 2014
John leaves a lasting legacy hidden in the hearts of memory and in history for many. He was one of the most courageous and tenacious men I ever new. He inspired a generation and he inspired me. Keep on. Blessings on the family.
Rev. Duane Clinker
March 30, 2014
Poster for a lecture in Bryn Mawr College
Francisco Fernandez de Alba
March 30, 2014
It is with great sadness that I read the news of Mr. Hovan passing. I had the privilege to know Mr. Hovan.
As a Spaniard, I have a great debt to him and all those that defended Spanish democracy during the Spanish Civil War. I am also grateful to him as a teacher for his patience responding the answers of my students. I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family.
Francisco Fernandez de Alba
March 30, 2014
I remember John faithfully coming by the DARE office on his weekly rounds to distribute the PWW. He would have energetic comments and critiques on strategies for social justice. He was so humble, that I never learned from him about his tremendous history in the Abraham Lincoln brigades, or facing danger organizing with farmworkers in the South, or his many other contributions to human dignity. My condolences to his family and friends.
Shannah Kurland
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