Joseph Eugene "Gene" Hoggard left to teach the angels about marching and music Monday, Nov. 19, 2012.
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"Papa," to his family, was 84. His wife of 61 years, Dorothy Walker Hoggard, had gone ahead to set up housekeeping in July of this year. Their love for, and devotion to, each other was the stuff of legends.
Born June 15, 1928, in Henderson, he was a graduate of Barrett Manual High School. He was a very proud alumnus of Western Kentucky University and an Air Force veteran who served during the Korean conflict with the 515th Air Force Band armed only with his saxophone.
He and Dorothy returned to Kentucky in 1954 where he founded LaRue County's first band at the former Hodgenville High School. When LaRue County High School was established in 1959, he built– from scratch–what continues to be one of the Commonwealth's finest high school music organizations: The Band of Hawks.
He served as leader of the band until 1975, interrupted only by a one-year stint as principal at LCHS. The last six years of his teaching career were as principal of LaRue County Junior High School. However, he remained involved with his Band of Hawks, serving as mentor for the directors who followed him.
A former minister of music at First Baptist Church in Hodgenville, he was an avid fisherman, watch collector, Hawks sports fan, great neighbor and overall "fix it" man. One of his proudest accomplishments was recently receiving his 34-year chip from Alcoholics Anonymous. He also served on the Hodgenville City Council in the early 1980s.
He was the only child of Rankin Bromley and Pearl Glenn Hoggard of Henderson County.
He is survived by a daughter, Judy Hoggard Jaggers of Danville; and two sons, Keith (Chris) Hoggard of Louisville and David (Jinni) Hoggard of Greensboro, N.C. He took great pride in his eight grandchildren, Joshua (Megan) Jaggers, Lindsey (Dan) Cox, Zack Hoggard, Jackson Hoggard, Kellie Hoggard, Josie Hoggard, Jesse Hoggard, and Ellise Jaggers. He also had two great-granddaughters, Nora Cox and Avery Jaggers.
Visitation is from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, at the LaRue County High School gymnasium in Hodgenville followed by a sharing of memories and music. A sunset graveside service follows in Red Hill Cemetery at 5 p.m. officiated by the Rev. Gordon McDowell.
Expressions of sympathy may take the form of contributions to the Gene Hoggard Instrument Fund. This fund was established by the family to purchase musical instruments for LaRue County students in need.
Bennett-Bertram Funeral Home in Hodgenville is in charge of the arrangements.
Bennett-Bertram Funeral Home
208 West Water Street Hodgenville, KY 42748
Published in The News-Enterprise on Nov. 21, 2012