Richard Allen Hockenberry

richard hockenberry
Richard Allen Hockenberry, 81, of Walton, Kentucky passed away peacefully at Inova Fairfax Hospital on February 28, 2023 after a brief illness. Rich was surrounded by his family and loved ones as he transitioned to his next phase of life.

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

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Memories Timeline


  1. Rich was a great husband and wonderful father. He was very loving and caring towards me and our daughter, Shelby.

    He was a great man and a great human being always helping people. He loved working in the airline industry. We traveled to Los Angeles, San Fransisco, Florida many times to Disney World, Hawaii with our daughter, and London, England

    He will be missed everyday! I know you are in heaven with your family!

  2. Uncle Rich was my fathers youngest brother, and while my father was all brut and Braun, he used to tell me that him and his other 2 brothers were the muscle and Uncle Rich was the brains of their family and definitely my grandmothers favorite. He protected Uncle Rich all his life and always had more admiration for him than anyone. Uncle Rich followed my career with the closely and always gave me advice. He then also followed my children’s athletic careers in high school and college. We had many conversations and lots of laughs.

    I will miss you dearly sweet Uncle Rich.
    May your memory be eternal.

  3. Shelby, I’m so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and all your family at this time.
    Deepest sympathy,
    Laurie Howard Felton

  4. My Uncle Rich, I adored you. I will miss your quick wit, you could always make me laugh out loud. I am so proud of you in all that you did and accomplished. You were such a kind and loving man. My heart is still aching from your passing. Heaven’s glory is now in your vision and I know I will see you again. I can’t imagine the joy you experienced seeing Mom-mom. I’ll love you and keep you in my heart always.

  5. RICH was a very good friend of mine for 20 plus years. He dedicated several years as President of the HOA condo community at The Reserve/Steeplechase and deeply cared about the people and community.Rich will be greatly missed by all who knew him

  6. Rich H. Was a decent person well liked by everyone. I worked with him at Pan American Clipper Cargo at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) for a more for decades. He was a hard and very dedicated worker. He got along with everyone and he did have a great sense of humor. He will be truly missed.
    May he rest in eternal peace!
    May his passing be a memory to his family!
    Narottam Khatri

  7. My deepest condolences to Shelby and family. Rich was a wonderful person and I will miss him dearly. He was always kind and helpful and very dear to me. His Florence, KY UMC church family wishes to express our sincerest condolences.
    Doris Daugherty
    Administrative Assistant
    Florence UMC

  8. Our family is so sorry for your loss. Rich was a kind and gentle soul and we are honored to have worshiped with him at Florence United Methodist. He was our head usher. He always worked with me on Children’s Sabbath encouraging the children who served as ushers on that special day. I remember a recent phone call I had with Rich. He was upbeat and hopeful. I am thankful I was able to talk with him. God bless you all and bring you peace.

  9. My brother Rich and I were more than brother and sister, we were best friends. We were the youngest of five children and only 16 months apart. At a very young age Rich contracted rheumatic fever and he became quite ill. He was bedfast for many months. I thought I could make him better. I would be his nurse and bring wet cloths and put them on his head. My parents would tell me to leave him alone so he could rest and get well. I could not stay away. I would sneak in and put his shoes on even though he was too weak to walk. After what seemed like forever, he finally regained his health and we were able to resume our adventures at the train station, library and down to the point stadium to watch the bigger boys play ball.
    Our adventures lasted the rest of our lives. Although we were miles apart we still got together and phone calls were often made. My husband became close to Rich as well, and the three of us would have three way conversations that would last for hours. When I had eye surgery, he cooked my husband and I a Thanksgiving dinner at his home in Kentucky. He was always such a caring man. When our mother became ill, and no longer able to care for herself, he came to our house every other weekend to be by her side, and mine as well. He was selfless, kind and loving. I will miss him deeply.

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