Jonathan David Hoopingarner
October 19, 1960-August 30-2020
Jonathan David Hoopingarner passed away after a brief and sudden illness on August 30th, 2020. He was a loving and honorable friend and we will all miss his wicked sense of humor and booming laughter. Above all, he relished his role as father to Andrew Chase Bryant (Rockville, MD). He also took great pride in his role as big brother to his younger sisters, Elizabeth Markovits (Amherst, MA), Dianya Markovits (St. Augustine, FL), and Lara Markovits (Cedar Grove, NC) and uncle to Joe and Ilona Hazlip (Amherst, MA). He is survived by his partner, Timothy Hughes (Rockville, MD); his father, Dana Hoopingarner (Snohomish, WA), his step-brothers Ross, Erik and Ryan Hoopingarner and his step-siblings Mimi Markovits, Scott Markovits and Clare Markovits. He was preceded in death by his beloved mother, Michael Markovits (1943-2018), his grandparents Robert Young, Darlene Young, and Betty Young and his step-sister Amelia Dean.
Jon, also known as David for much of his life, was born October 19, 1960 in Los Angeles to Michael Maynard Young (Markovits) and Dana Hoopingarner. His mother moved with him to Big Bear, CA when he was a child, eventually settling in Santa Cruz in 1969, and then Capitola in 1975. Jon graduated Soquel High School in 1978, and then spent a year in Albuquerque, New Mexico, near his grandparents, Robert and Darlene Young. The following year, he rejoined his mother and stepfather, now in Pensacola, Florida and then began college at the University of South Alabama (1979-1981). He later transferred to the University of North Carolina- Asheville, where he received his B.A. in Meteorology in 1986. He continued his studies at Florida State University before he was recruited by NOAA as a Meteorologist/Programmer at the NOAA NWS Climate Prediction Center, where he worked from 1988 until his death.In 2008, he was awarded the Department of Commerce Silver Medal for exceptional service. It was also at FSU where Jon met his partner, Tim.
Books meant everything to Jon. He had a particular love of science fiction and fantasy and enjoyed collecting first editions. His favorite authors were Robert Heinlein (whom he met in 1976), Arthur C. Clark, Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, and Neil Gaiman. Yet his favorite author at any given moment would be the one he happened to be reading right then. He also loved rewatching old television, especially Red Dwarf, Dr. Who, Star Trek, and Babylon 5 (he particularly loved the character of Londo Mollari). He never missed a Star Wars premiere growing up and indulged his younger sisters in taking them along, using car rides as a good time to talk up science fiction, the fun of advanced mathematics, and the possibilities of alien life. His musical tastes included a great love for Queen and Freddie Mercury; he also shared his mother’s love for Debussy. He was a Quaker, following in a long family tradition.
Jon grew up playing chess and participating in karate, bringing that same mental focus to the world of electronic games later in life. An avid gamer, Jon loved Second Life (maintaining his own server and island), as well as Civilization. He was a collector at heart; his rooms were always filled with unusual plants, figurines, geodes, swords, Celtic symbols. He was also an active member of Cactus and Succulent Society of America in his 30s and was greatly interested in genealogy (like his mother) later in life, tracking down ancestors’ stories and hoping to compile an exhaustive family history. He loved to build things, leaving bits of robotics all over the house. Throughout his life, Jon’s great love of programming and computer engineering stayed with him. Just before his death, he complained that he was missing his newest project at work, a neural network using Python, which was bringing him great excitement.
Jon always wanted a family and worked for 10 years to start one. On October 23, 2012 he finally met Chase, his future son, when Chase was 15. Chase was living in Washington state at the time and on February 1, 2013, Chase came to Maryland to live permanently with Jon and Tim. For the next 8 years, they lived a happy domestic life, playing games, watching TV, and helping to build the family Chase had also been looking for. This was the single greatest source of joy for Jon and he took tremendous pride in his role as a father.
His family is left in shock at the sudden loss and remains committed to keeping his memory alive, taking what was best about our beloved father, partner, and brother into our own lives. As Jon wrote: “I don't like labels when applied to people; humans are far too complex for that. I've been around awhile, done some really fun things & aim to do more.”
Donations in Jon’s honor may be made to The Planetary Society/Planetary Fund