James Edward Hogge

Posted by Belinda Howard Smith on August 18, 2016 in Miscellaneous |
James Edward Hogge 11-15-1954 7-26-2016

James Edward Hogge

In the book of Proverbs, chapter 22, verse 6, the Lord encourages us to teach our children the right path, and when they are older, they will not stray from it. Eddy was a devoted son, brother, husband, father, friend and colleague, and the formative years of his life shaped him into the man we all know and love: quick witted and funny, caring, driven and a leader with a strong work ethic.

For those of you who may not know, Eddy was born in Amarillo and grew up in a large family. He was the third child of 7. In 1956, our family moved from Amarillo to Plainview. At that time, our parents were only 28 and 27 and already had a 5-year-old, a 4-year-old, a 3-year-old, and a 16-month-old. By the time Susan and I came along, the Hogge family took up a whole pew at St. Alice Catholic Church.

Eddy went to school through the 6th grade at St. Alice and regularly served as an altar boy during mass. On more than one occasion, our mother watched with fear and trepidation as he lit the tiers of candles around the altar, which were precariously placed next to the burgundy velvet drapes. Legend has it that our priest took out an extra fire insurance policy when Eddy joined the ranks. I might have made up that last part.

A happy go lucky child, Eddy was always ready to take on new adventures. However, he didn’t like surprises. Every Christmas Eve, he went to great lengths to outsmart Santa by sliding a mirror underneath the living room door in the hope that he would catch a glimpse of Old St. Nick and the treasures he left behind. In the weeks leading up to the holiday, if presents were left unguarded beneath the Christmas tree, Eddy would wait until the coast was clear, unwrap every one of his gifts, wrap them back up and then deny that it ever happened.

Eddy was ultimately drawn to life in the big city, but one of the highlights of his childhood was visiting our grandparent’s wheat farm with our older sister, Becky. Every summer, they would help milk the cows, play with our Uncle Jimmy’s elaborate train set and invent new games to play. Unfortunately, one of their games did not go over very well with Grandad Hogge. When they were unable to successfully play a tune on their new harmonicas, they decided a good alternative would be to play a game they called “Toro” with the bull in Grandad’s corral. This involved using their harmonicas as horrendous noisemakers in an attempt to entice the bull to charge at them. Needless to say, that creative game landed them in a big heap of trouble, and they quickly realized that they better “pull in their own horns”, so to speak.

You see, Eddy was a bit of a thrill seeker, and he never really thought about failing. In his mind, missing the target was simply a bump on the road to success. This outlook on life played out vividly during one of our favorite family summer vacations to a private fishing resort in Red River, New Mexico. Just beyond the fishing pier, a single tree stump barely protruded from the surface of the lake, and our parents threatened us within an inch of our lives NOT to climb on it for fear that we would fall into the lake, which was very deep. But the stump beckoned. Confident that his skills were far superior to our parent’s concerns, Eddy fearlessly jumped from the pier to the stump…and promptly fell into the lake. This experience of being “dunked by a stump” was one of many that helped cultivate his spirit of resilience.

Eddy was extremely caring and protective of his sisters. Our neighborhood in Plainview consisted of 37 kids, the majority of which were boys. Always quick to create balance and equality, Eddy made sure that we were included in all of the typical front yard sports as well as Hide and Seek, Red Rover, Mother May I and Red Light Green Light. Unfortunately, his equal rights attitude did not extend to sharing the one bathroom in our home that was designated for all of the Hogge children. Let’s just be honest…Eddy hogged the bathroom. He took longer to get ready for his dates than all of my sisters combined, and he would not come out until his hair looked exactly like Tony Orlando’s. In fact, any time he wanted the bathroom and it was occupied, he would simply pick the lock with a bobby pin and pop us on the backside with a wet towel until we surrendered.

For as long as we can remember, Eddy was outgoing, popular with his peers and driven to succeed. During high school, he developed strong leadership skills as President of Student Council, Class President, and as a first string varsity player for the baseball and football teams. While he was president of the Key Club, he also demonstrated a genuine heart for serving others. For several years, he coordinated a Christmas food distribution initiative in partnership with the Plainview Salvation Army. It was a tremendous success, largely because of Eddy’s ability to inspire others to volunteer and then make it fun and rewarding for everyone.

In addition to extra-curricular activities at school, Eddy developed a strong work ethic and the discipline to remain laser-focused on achieving his goals. He mowed lawns in junior high, saved all of his earnings and bought a car for $500 long before he was old enough to drive it. Eddy’s first introduction to the health care field came through a class during his senior year that allowed him to work in a medical lab for half of every school day. He was so excited about this opportunity that he gave up his starting position on the varsity football team so he could accept it. He spent his high school summers paving roads and throughout college, he worked for an appliance company and still carried a full load of classes at Texas Tech University.

Eddy met the love of his life at Texas Tech, and the rest is history. We knew from the beginning that Jana was the perfect life partner for him, and for over three decades Eddy was fiercely devoted to their marriage and their two daughters.

Every person has a longing to be significant; to make a contribution; to be a part of something noble and purposeful. Eddy left us way too soon, but he definitely left this world better than he found it. He stayed true to the path he was shown by our parents and remained deeply rooted in unwavering loyalty to his family and friends. He was also firmly dedicated to his colleagues at Cardinal Health, and he embraced daily life with a sense of humor that was contagious to everyone around him.

On behalf of the entire Hogge family, thank you so much for being here today to help celebrate Eddy’s life – and more importantly, thank you for the countless moments of joy you shared with him throughout his life.

POST MEMORIAL NOTE: Eddy wanted all useable parts of his body to be donated. Prior to cremation, this request was honored and all body and skin parts were harvested.

Eddy is preceded in death by his father, William R. “Bill” Hogge and an infant brother, John Michael. He is survived by his wife, Jana; and their daughters, Caitlin Byrne of North Richland Hills and Jamie Hogge of Carrollton. He also is survived by his mother, Helen Hogge of Plainview, Texas; sisters Becky Disbrow of Eureka, Mont., Kay Hogge of Austin, Susan Atchley of Austin and Jeanne Marie Ellis of Lakeway; a brother, Larry Hogge of Silver City, N.M.; and son-in-law, Drew Byrne.

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