Richard Hockett

My father-in-law passed away on Sunday. He had been in poor health for a long time and his body finally gave out. It may have been a blessing, but that doesn’t mean it won’t hurt. We spent years preparing for this day and still weren’t ready when it actually came.

When I proposed to Missy, the first thing she said was, “Did you ask my Dad?” I had, and he was enthusiastic and unwavering in his support for me. That remained the case until the very end. Even when he was no longer able to physically get up and give me a hug, he always had a hearty, “Hi there, Matt!” for me when I walked in the door.

Missy and I had been married for three months when we drove up to Topeka for Thanksgiving with her family. As soon as the meal was done, Dad jumped up to get all the dishes and wash them. That act of service was a great example to me and something I tried to emulate over the years.

I was never as handy as he was and didn’t share his political views or love for fishing, but we connected via sports. I’m glad he was able to exit this world with his beloved Kansas Jayhawks as the reigning NCAA basketball champs.

It was an honor to be asked to write the obituary and I tried to give a glimpse into his personality within the factual confines of the format.

I really liked this photo montage put together by Kelli Mullins, one of Richard and Karen’s Cookson kids.

Richard Royal Hockett, 71, passed away July 24 in Oklahoma City. His wife of 49 years, Karen, was by his side.

Richard was born on Jan. 27, 1951 in Beloit, KS to parents Harriet Elizabeth and Gloe Elton Hockett. He graduated from Jewell (KS) High before getting a degree in computer programming from Wichita Business College. He took a job managing a fast-food restaurant, saying “computers aren’t going anywhere, but people will always eat hamburgers.” An avid story-teller, this was one of Richard’s favorites over the years.

Richard and Karen married in 1973 and brought son Aaron and daughter Melissa into the world while Richard worked as an inspector for Cessna. After 13 years there, the family moved to Cookson Hills Children’s Home in northeast Oklahoma. There he served as a carpenter and father to more than 70 foster children over the next 16 years. The Hocketts then moved back to Kansas as Richard became an independent distributor for Mountain Man Nut and Fruit Co. for the next 10 years before retiring to Oklahoma City.

Richard had many hobbies, none more important than talking to other people and putting his loving and ornery personality on display. He never met a stranger, nor was there anything broken he wasn’t willing to try to fix. Building, fishing and card games were among his favorite activities. In retirement, he was rarely seen without at least one of his two dogs, Charlie and Susie, on his lap.

He is survived by wife Karen, son Aaron, daughter Melissa Franklin and husband Matt, as well as sister Nyla Slate and husband Dan. He had four grandchildren via Melissa — Addison, Myra, Maddux and Hawk. He is survived by niece Jeanette Dow, husband Ed, and many other nieces and nephews. He developed a special bond with daughter Terri Core and her family — husband Joe and children Grace, Joseph Jr, Emmalee, Ethan and Neo — and remained close to dozens of the other children he helped raise at Cookson. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Dennis Hockett and sisters Marylee Rohla and Barbara Tabata.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 30, at Draper Park Christian Church, 8500 S. Walker Ave, Oklahoma City, OK, 73139. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Cookson Hills Children’s Home.

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