Elon alumna and longtime supporter Irene Hook Covington '41 dies
The longtime volunteer and member emerita of the Elon Alumni Board cherished her family's deep Elon roots.
Irene Hook Covington ’41, one of Elon’s most dedicated alumnae, died July 14 at her home in Sanford, N.C. She was 93.
The daughter of beloved faculty member Alonzo L. Hook, Class of 1913, and Jessie Dawson Hook, Class of 1915, Covington was immensely proud of her family’s history at Elon, which spans four generations in the course of the past century. In addition to her parents, Covington also counted late husband M. Cade Covington ’41, three sisters, five children and five grandchildren among her fellow Elon alumni.
Covington was member emerita of the Elon Alumni Board, and a longtime volunteer with the Elon Alumni Association. She proudly served as an informal ambassador for prospective students and was a fixture at Elon’s homecoming celebrations for years. A loyal donor, Covington was a member of the university’s planned giving society, Order of the Oak, and founded a scholarship in her husband’s memory.
"Never has there been an alumna who lit up more enthusiastically when talking about her alma mater than Irene Covington," said Elon President Leo M. Lambert. "She was a great lady and we are really going to miss her."
Covington was born in Elon on June 5, 1920, and grew up on the university’s campus. In addition to a bachelor’s degree from Elon, she also earned a master’s of education from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University.
During her lifetime, Covington worked with husband Cade to establish a summer camp for girls, Camp Shawanagi, in Capon Bridge, W. Va. She was an early female pioneer in aviation and active in Petticoat Pilots. While living in Lee County, she helped her husband set up a thriving medical practice, became heavily involved in education and led the youth choir at Jonesboro United Methodist Church in Sanford.
Her family was her greatest source of joy. She was predeceased by her husband, son Martin Cade Covington Jr., daughter Nancy Irene Covington Dickens '92, eldest sister Sara Virginia Hook Burton ’37 and parents.
Her survivors include five sons, Alonzo Hook Covington ’73 (Pat) of Rockingham, N.C.; Donald Van Covington '75 (Ellen) of Rockingham, N.C.; Robert Lyon Covington '79 of Nashville, Tenn.; Frank Edward Covington (April) of Beaufort, N.C.; Raymond Paul Covington '86 (Cathy) of Whitsett, N.C.; and Nancy’s husband, Brannon Dickens of Sanford, N.C. Two sisters, Jean Hook Harrell '45 of Concord, N.C. and Patricia Hook Neal ’47 of Morehead City, N.C., also survive, as well as 16 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held Wednesday, July 17, at 11 a.m. at the Jonesboro United Methodist Church in Sanford. The family will receive friends prior to the service at 9:30 a.m. in the church’s Wesley Center.