Cover photo for D.  Marie Hockemeyer's Obituary
D.  Marie Hockemeyer Profile Photo
1936 D. 2020

D. Marie Hockemeyer

July 15, 1936 — May 14, 2020

Her parents were from different worlds. She was named Dora after her maternal grandmother from central Indiana and Marie for her father's deceased French-Canadian mother. Dora Marie Turpin, later known as Marie Hockemeyer, would take the lessons of those distinct worlds and shape them into a life well-lived by a person greatly-loved.

Her father cut a dashing figure as a soldier. D. John Turpin, or Dick, ran away from an orphanage, found odd jobs in New York City, and joined the service at a young age. Although his youth had been difficult, Dick remained passionately optimistic throughout his life. Accordingly, Dick pursued his "retirement" career with the Indiana Department of Health with zeal, striving to protect people from the squalor he had suffered in the orphanage he escaped. Marie would credit his cheerful resilience to his family's background in the Catholic Church, even though he had lapsed formal practice of the faith as a young man. Dick would pass his nurturing optimism and zany sense of humor to Marie.

Her mother was a calm and cool librarian. Mona Belle (Albright) Turpin was the only child of a comfortable family from central Indiana. Mona Belle and Dick met while both were working at a large hospital in Tupper Lake, New York: Mona Belle as a librarian and Dick as an orderly. Dick always worked to keep Mona Belle comfortable. Unlike Dick, Mona Belle often occupied herself by looking to the past. She devoted much of her time to reading and, later, genealogy and capturing time in landscape paintings. Mona Belle instilled in her daughter respect for the discretion required to maintain polite company in almost any setting. Mr. and Mrs. Turpin welcomed Marie, their first child, to the world in Indianapolis on July 15, 1936. Marie was an energetic child, often told to "settle down" by her mother. At the same time, Marie's thumb-sucking, which also perturbed her mother, foreshadowed a self-comforting skill that would serve her well throughout life.

When she was about three years old, Dick re-enlisted in the Army for what would become his first career. The nuclear family would relocate to different states as Dick's service to his country required. For that reason, Marie considered herself an Army Brat, by which she meant a child "who is moved from one camp to another and never has any roots down."

In 1943, Dick was sent to the South Pacific and Mona Belle returned to Indianapolis with her children. There, Marie's maternal grandparents, again, became a part of the household. Her Grandmother Dora taught Home Economics at the Indiana School for the Deaf and helped an over-whelmed Mona Belle maintain the household, which now also included Marie's younger siblings, Marcia and Joe. Although Marie minimized the moniker "Dora" much of her life, the elder Dora would leave an indelible mark on her granddaughter - sharing a tireless work ethic and aptitude for domestic engineering with both skill and style.

Marie began attending Washington Center School in rural Whitley County, Indiana when her family moved to Tunker in 1947. She was an exemplary student who loved to debate in class and also worked on the school newspaper. Upon graduating from eighth grade, she received both the Citizenship and Scholarship awards. At school, she met and fell in love with DeWayne Hockemeyer, a farmboy with deep roots in the community. The two married on June 15, 1953, and began their own family before Marie graduated from High School, which she eventually completed at Central High School in Fort Wayne. Marie converted to DeWayne's Lutheran faith and was a fixture at the church for years to come.

Marie sometimes referred to the next twenty years of her life as a "blur." She modestly noted that she didn't remember doing anything but sterilizing bottles and doing laundry while raising five children next door to her parent's home in Tunker. Nevertheless, her children all remember that she was each of their biggest fan, serving, at various times, as room mother, 4-H leader, Sunday School teacher, PTA officer, and band booster. They also recall the occasional "en-route to church spit-bath," if they had failed to properly groom themselves. However, Marie would never use child-rearing duties to excuse her from maintaining a beautiful home, garden, and an impeccable personal sense of style.

Part-time employment at the Tunker Store supplemented household income. When the children were older, she was employed at the Sears outlet in Columbia City. She then worked in the office at Plastic Veneering in Tunker for 13 years, before a brief stint with Morsches Lumber and then serving as the first manager at the newly-renovated Lafontaine Center in Huntington. She retired from the position of Whitley County Chief Deputy Auditor in 2007.

Halloween was only one of the many opportunities she found to play "dress up" for the amusement and, sometimes, the embarrassment of her family and friends. She was a Clown College graduate and used costumes as just one outlet for her playful sense of humor. She would seldom drink spirits, noting that she was goofy enough without them.

Although she never completed the bachelor's degree she started at the regional campus of IU, Marie was a life-long learner. She completed classes on personal style and real estate. She was an avid reader with a particular taste for historical fiction. Marie loved visual and performing arts - especially music. Although she couldn't carry a tune, swim, or spell to save her life, she made sure all of her children could. Marie participated in various community and charitable organizations in Whitley and Huntington Counties but was particularly proud of her membership in Coterie Club and volunteer work at the Whitley County Historical Society, local Senior Center and Whitley Parkview Hospital.

After maintaining a residence in Tunker for almost 50 years, Marie and DeWayne moved to a new home on Loon Lake where they lived for several years. While DeWayne enjoyed fishing, she loved to mow the lawn or sit in her English Garden. Although she enjoyed having her family over for fish fries and holidays, Marie's energy to prepare her home before and clean up after such events waned as her health declined in later years. She eventually moved from her lake home to Millers at Oake Pointe, with DeWayne soon moving next door in the Oak Pointe apartments. Even as DeWayne struggled to walk, he would always come to spend time with Marie to make conversation or just watch television together. In doing so, he would observe that Marie had spent most of her life taking care of him and that he would now do whatever he could for her.

Dora Marie Hockemeyer, age 83, passed away Thursday, May 14, 2020 at Visiting Nurse and Hospice Home. She was preceded in death by her parents but is survived by her loving husband of almost 67 years. She is also survived by siblings Marcia Beasley of Floral City, Florida and Joseph (Hester) Turpin of Redland, California; children Richard (Lisa) Hockemeyer, Victoria (David Meyer) Thorson, Lorene (James) Jenkins, Greggory Hockemeyer, and Jeffrey (Sherri Lowder) Hockemeyer all of Whitley County; nine grandchildren; and nine great grandchildren.

Several churches benefited from her attendance and strong faith. She would sometimes observe that if a problem wouldn't result in eternal damnation, it should "go on the little problem pile."

Marie believed herself to have been blessed with parents who practiced unconditional love before the concept was popularized. The passionate soldier and reflective librarian raised a girl who would, in turn, bring unconditional love to her children. Because Marie's magical perspective enabled her to constantly seek improvement while still being content with her circumstances, she was an inspiration to more than just her family.

A private service will be held with immediate family and she will be laid to rest at Eberhard Lutheran Church Cemetery with Pastor Alice Smith officiating. Memorial donations may be made in Marie's name to the Whitley County Historical Society or the Woodlands Senior Center in Columbia City. Arrangements with DeMoney-Grimes Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Dr., Columbia City. Visit www.DeMoneyGrimes.com to send her family condolences online.

Pallbearers serving for Marie are Heather Thorson, Marcus Thorson, Christian Hockemeyer, Elisabeth Hockemeyer, Quentin Jenkins, Celine Jenkins, William Hockemeyer, and Trent Lowder.

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