Richard Allen Hockenberry
January 3, 1942 ~ February 28, 2023
Rich was born on January 3, 1942 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania to Howard Henry Hockenberry and Clara Mae (Ream) Hockenberry. As a young man, Rich’s childhood was spent playing in the beautiful mountains, enjoying nature with his siblings, and attending First United Methodist Church (then First Evangelical United Brethren Church). Rich was a 1961 graduate of Johnstown High School where he was a drum major in the marching band and a member of the Order of DeMolay.
After high school, Rich joined the United States Navy where he served on the USS Kidd during the Cuban Missile Crisis and on the USS Tidewater. He traveled extensively around Europe, recalling his time in Italy and Greece among his favorite memories during his years of service.
Upon his honorable discharge from military service, Rich attended airline training school in Kansas City to prepare for his career in the airline industry. Throughout his career, he served in a variety of roles while working for National Airlines, Pan American World Airways, and Delta Airlines for more than 40 years in the Washington, DC and Cincinnati areas. He was a forward thinker on the job, pioneering staff methods for baggage tracking and location in his role in the baggage service office at both Pan Am and Delta. During his time with the airlines, Rich traveled to England, across the United States, and to the Caribbean and loved the idea of being able to see the world at a moment’s notice. Rich took great pride in assisting everyday travelers, as well as many notable individuals, along their journeys, and often shared his unique experiences with friends and loved ones.
Rich loved being a father to his only daughter, Shelby. He spent her youth accompanying her to cello lessons, girl scouts, and school activities. It gave him great joy to support his daughter’s passions in life, whilst also sharing his love of music, providing practical guidance and advice, and proudly raising her to be a self-sufficient woman.
Rich believed in the power of positive thinking, adopting the motto “tough times never last but tough people do” from the late Rev. Robert Schuller as his mantra in life. He believed in the Golden Rule and extending a hand to those in need. His Christian faith guided his daily life in word and deed. He enjoyed serving as an usher for many years at Florence United Methodist Church in Florence, Kentucky. He was very proud of his military service, regularly volunteering his time to welcome returning veterans home at the airport. During his retirement years, Rich took great pride in becoming a Freemason. He not only studied to become a 32nd Degree Master Mason but continued his studies by joining the York Rite and earning the Commandery of Knights Templar. Among his hobbies were participating in masonic charitable events and reading about masonic history.
Rich was predeceased by his parents and brothers William Hockenberry of Johnstown, Pennsylvania and Howard Daniel Hockenberry of Peoria, Arizona. He is survived by his beloved daughter, Dr. Shelby M. Hockenberry of Gainesville, Virginia, his dear sister Patricia (Hockenberry) Haer and her husband Randy of Somerset, Pennsylvania, and his brother Kenneth Hockenberry of Carbondale, Kansas. He is also survived by his extended family including his former spouse, Lorelei (Haley) Van Sickel, her husband Michael, and their son Ryan Van Sickel, of Gainesville, Virginia. He leaves behind many closely loved nieces, nephews, great nieces, great nephews, several lifelong cherished friends, work colleagues and neighbors, and one much adored grand puppy, Bella Rose.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date in conjunction with a service and interment at Arlington National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Rich’s name to the Knights Templar Eye Foundation or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Online condolences and fond memories of Rich may be offered to the family at www.moneyandking.com