James Richard "Rich" Hoctor, 82, lifetime Ellensburg resident, passed away at his home on Friday, June 11, 2021. Viewing for family and friends will be from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Thursday, June 17 and Friday, June 18 at Johnston & Williams Funeral Home in Ellensburg. The Rosary will be prayed at 7:00 p.m. Friday at St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Ellensburg. Mass will be celebrated at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, June 19, also at the church with vault interment to follow at Holy Cross Cemetery.
Rich was born on August 20, 1938 in Ellensburg to Richard & Mildred (Dulick) Hoctor. He grew up in Ellensburg and graduated from Ellensburg High School in 1956. Following graduation, Rich went on to attend Central Washington University where he studied pre-med and had every intention of becoming a physician before someone pointed out that he’d be known as “Doctor Hoctor”. He also served honorably in the Washington National Guard.
Rich started working at Happy’s Market when he was a junior in high school and continued to work there, moving up from box-boy to manager. He bought Happy’s in the early seventies and continued to operate it until he sold the business in the early eighties. In 1982, Rich ran for Kittitas County Commissioner and served two terms, retiring in 1990. As commissioner, Rich was instrumental in starting the process of the construction of the new Kittitas County Jail. He also owned and managed several rental properties around town.
Rich met Shirlie Ann Wales at a dance at the armory and the two hit it off right away. They married on September 30, 1961 at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Ellensburg. Shirlie passed away in 2019.
Rich enjoyed anything having to do with the outdoors including boating, motorbiking, snowmobiling, camping or shooting. He and his son, Joe, took many hikes up Mt. Stuart over the years. He had a great sense of humor, a love for his wife and family that could not be beat, and a strong belief in his Catholic faith.
Rich is survived by his sons Joe (Cindy Dillard) Hoctor and Rob (Paula) Hoctor of Ellensburg; grandson Tyler Hoctor; siblings Judi Lyons, Tim (Kathleen) Hoctor, Bob Hoctor and Angie Hill, all of Ellensburg and Kathy Hoctor of Pasco. In addition to his parents, Rich was preceded in death by his wife Shirlie, daughter Joanie Marie Hoctor and sister Becky Breitenstein.
Memorial contributions in Rich’s honor are suggested to Hospice Friends, 302 E. Second in Ellensburg. Johnston & Williams Funeral Home and Crematory of Ellensburg has been entrusted with caring for Rich’s family. Online condolences may be left at www.johnston-williams.com
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