Tribute to Roy A. Hovey

I would like to dedicate this page to pay tribute to the career of Roy Hovey, American Patriot, Horologist, and Teacher.

Roy came to Austin, TX, to teach a horology lathe course in 1994, leaving an indelible impression that would result in his returning several times more to teach subsequent lathe courses in his program, and in his making many friends here. I personally took four of his courses, despite the expense, because of one attribute that made him stand above the crowd: his ability to adjust his teaching methods to the level of each individual student. This made him a most effective communicator, which, combined with his extensive horological talent and his personal warmth and eagerness to share his skills, made him a brilliant teacher.

His last visit to Austin was in April, 1998, to teach his Lathe Course, Phase V. We had a terrific group, with Roy as our teacher, and, when there weren't gravers flying in the air, we were going to the nicest local restaurants that reflected the taste of Central Texas. Shortly after his last visit, Roy informed us that he had lost his good health, eventually bringing his horological career to an unexpected and abrupt end.

Roy was by far the most talented instructor that AWI sent to Austin. An insuperable teacher, his talent is sorely missed. The next lathe course instructor will have much to measure up to.

Biography of Roy A. Hovey

Roy was born in Grand Rapids, MI, on November 6th, 1940. He spent his early years growing up in the remote areas of Colorado and Wyoming where his father was a Forest Ranger and his mother a teacher. In 1952, he left Wyoming to attend St. John's Military Academy in Salina, KS. After graduating as a Captain and Company Commander in 1958, he attended the University of Nebraska, where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a commission in the U.S. Army (in 1962). Roy spent the early years of his military career in Europe and served two tours in Viet Nam. In 1969, he earned a Master's Degree in Political Science from the University of Dayton (OH) while he was stationed there as an instructor of Military Science and Tactics. After several stateside assignments, and after graduation from the Command and General Staff College, he returned to Asia.

In Asia, Roy developed an interest in the manufacture of clocks. With the help of Mr. Lee Hyo Gin, this interest led to the photographing of several factories and the production of a series of articles for the Watch and Clock Review magazine and the NAWCC Bulletin. Throughout the remainder of his military career, Roy studied the clock and watchmaking industries in the foreign countries where he was stationed.      

Upon his retirement as a Lt. Colonel in 1985, he entered into a watch and clockmaking apprenticeship with Mr. Newton Noell, which lasted for nearly six years. Completing this program in 1990, Roy went to Switzerland for further schooling in the horological sciences. He graduated with Class 91-A of the Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Education Program, WOSTEP, in 1991, and completed their course in Complicated Watches in 1992. After returning from Switzerland, he worked as an instructor for the American Watchmakers Institute and developed an extensive lathe program for its members. After eight years of teaching this series of courses, he has produced twenty-one textbooks about horological turning and milling operations.

Roy served as the Vice-President and as a Board Member of the Greater Cincinnati Watchmakers and Jewelers Guild for several years. He has also been engaged in the restoration of antique timepieces and has contributed as a technical columnist for the Watch and Clock Review and as a contributing writer for Jewelers, Inc. magazines.

Roy, with several of his students (April, 1998).

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