Aug. 11, 1935 – Aug. 19, 2020
BETHESDA, Md. – Colonel John R. Hocker, U.S. Army retired, of Bethesda, Md., peacefully passed away on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, in Colorado Springs, Colo. after a brief battle with cancer.
John was a devoted husband, loyal brother, loving father, and proud grandparent. He was a man of deep faith who loved his family, his country, his years of military service, and the many friends he made at every stage of life. He will be missed by all in his community who loved him for his gentle spirit, humility, and eagerness to help others.
John was born in Elwood, Ind. and distinguished himself in academics and sports which earned him an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy, and a spot on the West Point track team. He graduated from West Point in 1957 with honors.
During his Army career, he served as an airborne ranger, with over 600 parachute jumps, completed combat tours in Vietnam and Cambodia, and accepted positions all over the world.
John had a spirit of adventure and curiosity and a passion for experiencing the world. Early in his career, he was selected as an Olmsted Scholar to receive his master’s degree in applied mathematics at the University of Freiburg in Germany and was later selected to teach math at West Point. He was also chosen to attend the French War College in Paris for a two-year tour where he represented the U.S. and parachuted into the D-Day memorial ceremony in Normandy in 1977.
Following a distinguished career in the Army, John joined Martin Marietta for 12 years as a director in the space and communications division. Later, he was appointed Executive Director of the Nationals Science and Technology Medals Foun-dation, a non-profit organization to support and enhance the profiles of the laureates of Science and Technology awarded medals by the President of the United States each year.
In retirement, he faithfully volunteered until January of this year for SCORE, a D.C. non-profit, where he mentored small business and non-profit leaders. Through-out his career, John never lost his love of serving and inspiring others, and always left an organization better than he found it.
John was married to Barbara (née Siemers) of Wakefield, Kan., for 58 years. They met and married in Bamberg, Germany while he was on assignment and she was a school teacher, later becoming a reading specialist. Their first assignment was as Aide-de-Camp in Naples, Italy to Admiral Russell, the second highest ranking officer in the Navy, and commander of Allied Southern Forces in Europe. There they entertained the likes of then Vice President Johnson and many other dignitaries from around the world. John was a man of many talents: fluent in German and French, an expert ski instructor along with wife Barbara, accomplished parachutist, elder of his church, community volunteer, and Sudoku and crossword aficionado.
Most important to John was his family and his Christian faith. He is survived by his wife, Barbara; daughter, Connie (husband Greg) Buchalter of Colorado Springs, Colo. and son, Guy (wife Michelle) Hocker of Arlington, Va. He was a loving grandfather to Allison (husband Sam) Ivan, Ryan and Cameron Buchalter, and Rachel and Julia Hocker. John’s siblings include: Margaret (husband Bill) Muston (both deceased), twin sisters, Nancy (husband Larry) Pedro (both deceased) and Linda (husband Mike) Hardin, and twin brothers, Jerry (wife Bonnie) Hocker and Larry (wife Sharon) Hocker.
He was preceded in death by his parents Joseph and Helen Hocker.
John was a long-time member of the Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Md. where he served as an elder, directed the new members class for over 25 years, and developed many of his closest and dearest friends.
John will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery with honors and have a memorial service on a date yet to be determined