William O. Hoch

Bill Hoch, 63, passed away unexpectedly at his home in San Francisco Towers at Crown Center in Kansas City, Missouri on July 26. He was born in Emporia, Kansas on December 13, 1948. He leaves the light of his life his son, Luc of Westwood, Kansas. There will be a Memorial Service on Friday at 2pm at The Pilgrim Chapel, 3801 Gillham Rd., Kansas City, Missouri.

The “O” in Bill’s middle name was from his dad, Orville Hoch. His mother was Olive Hoch. They were the perfect parents who raised Bill on a dairy farm and sent him to Roosevelt Grade and High School, a private school on Emporia State Campus. Bill went on to graduate from Emporia State University with a degree in political science. He used to say he got all of his education in one square block. However, he did go on to graduate school at the University of Kansas where he was Assistant to the Dean of the William Allen White School of Journalism. There he was afforded the opportunity to write and lecture extensively on communications law.

Bill then served as Legislative Assistant to United States Senator James Pearson (R-KS) and was Press Secretary and Chief of Staff to Kansas Governor John Carlin (D-KS) (1979-1982). Bill moved to Kansas City in 1984 and began a career in communications. He was president of his own communications firm, Bill Hoch and Company, for many years and also worked for two of the most prestigious advertising and public relations firms in the Kansas City market. Bill’s creativity was recognized with regional and national ADDY and EFFIE awards for his work on the Slattery for Congress Campaign.

A noted filmmaker, Bill wrote, directed and produced prime-time programming for The Arts & Entertainment Network and for The History Channel. One of his most proud accomplishments was the film he wrote and directed on William Allen White which was hosted and narrated by Walter Cronkite. The film was shot on location in Emporia in 1996.

Bill traveled throughout the world, including Western and Eastern Europe, China, Africa, New Zealand and virtually all of North America. He was responsible for coordinating media relations for the first-ever Kansas Trade Mission to China when he worked for the governor.

Bill attended and MC’d every Roosevelt High School reunion, getting great joy out of creating the video with his classmates’ old photographs and putting them to ‘60s music — then reminiscing all night about the good old days. He could name every teacher he ever had. He loved visiting his parents on the farm and going up to his room where his mother hadn’t moved a thing since he left home.

He made many friends both in and out of the media during his career. He had a reputation for being ethical, honest and trustworthy.

Bill loved playing catch with his son Luc when he was young and watching him become the great young athlete that he is today. He also loved sharing his baseball card collection with Luc and watching Royals games together.

His friends remember him as a great communicator, combining his dignity, passion and a great sense of humor.

He leaves his son Luc and his family of cousins: Tracy Wilson and Philip Wilson (Kansas City, MO), Scott Wilson (Kansas City, KS), Corey Wilson and Dr. Donald Wilson, DDS (Topeka, KS), Donna Jo Swengel and Mary Bert Scott, (York, PA) and his aunt, Doris Wilson (Kansas City, KS) –and many longtime friends who will miss him.

A memorial fund in remembrance of Bill is being established for Luc’s education. Donations can be made to The Luc Hoch Education Fund, 7215 Madison Ave., Kansas City, MO 64114



  1. Rex Beach on August 21, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Bill was my best friend

    We grew up together

    We played cowboys when we were little

    Bill drove miles and miles through a terrific snow storm just to be in my first wedding

    We shared so much on the football field

    We struggled together
    We learned the meaning of hard work, integrity and sportsmanship
    We celebrated together in our victories and were there for each other in defeats
    Before our senior year in high school we were both nominated to attend the Fellowship of Christen Athletes camp in Estes Park, Colorado.

    To our surprise my parents let Bill and I drive their new baby blue VW Beetle from Emporia to Colorado to attend the camp.

    This was our first big adventure on our own. We were on 16 but we felt so grown up.

    We planned every detail of the trip.

    We took turns driving further and further and with great anticipation until we saw just above the horizon the snow caped mountain peaks.

    I remember the beauty and the power of the mountains that summer but the trip was much more than getting there and back and every thing that happened in between. It was a journey of self discovery for both of us. We returned home to Emporia, Brothers for life.

    I was able to visit Bill last year. We talked about our life adventures and we laughed and laughed until our eyes watered and our sides hurt.

    Bill also loved music. He would often send me the lyrics to songs that held meaning for him. One of Bill’s favorite singers was Bruce Springsteen who sang in one of his songs

    “May your strength give us strength,

    May your faith give us faith

    My your hope give us hope

    May your love bring us love…”

    Bill certainly did this for me.

    Bill and I also took inspiration from Teddy Roosevelt. This is fitting because after all Roosevelt was the name sake of our high school. This quote from Roosevelt has touches me with I think of Bill.

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have don them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

    Bill was interviewed in 1989 by the LA Times for an article about the transition from rural to city life. Bill said in this interview:

    “I never turned away from the farm, I just physically left. I wrestled with the choices. On the one hand there were dependable, stable values and a very predictable way of life. On the other…the excitement and challenge of the unknown.”

    So to my best friend, my Brother Bill; you are now returning back home again after your many life adventures and my friend you can now rest in peace.

    I love you Brother and will miss you greatly.

  2. Robert T. Stephan on August 7, 2012 at 9:31 am

    I just learned of Bill’s death. I regret that I did not know earlier. I always admired Bill and appreciated his sense of fairness.

  3. Del Brinkman on August 2, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Bill was my graduate assistant when I was dean of the William Allen White School of Journalism. He was bright, sensitive and inspirational. I knew about his family’s dairy farm since I grew up on a farm near Olpe. I also attended Emporia State and Bill and I shared memories of our time there. When he was press secretary and chief of staff for Governor John Carlin, Bill would call me often to talk about issues facing the Governor and the state of Kansas. I have not been in contact with Bill in recent years and I am saddened by his tragic death.

  4. Christopher Ryan on July 30, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Many years ago, in Emporia, Kansas, the milk and butter came every day in a Hoch Dairy truck. For a while, my brother Scott drove one. My parents counted Olive and Orville Hoch among their good friends, and Bill shared his pony with us when we visited the dairy. I didn’t know Bill well, but I remember his warmth and good humor. The world is a little less now that he’s gone. My sympathy to his family and friends.

  5. Peggy Dold on July 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    We absolutely adored Bill who had such love for his family and who held high his core values and beliefs with honesty, respect and integrity.

    We had many conversations about music, art, and culture from around the world; Bill embraced the diversity of life with such passion! I feel honored to have known Bill since I was a little girl, and to have had him as a friend as an adult. He will be so very missed.

    We send our love and heartfelt thoughts to Luc and to all of Bill’s family and friends,
    Peggy and Pat
    Westlake Village, California

  6. Art Hoch on July 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Although I only met Bill once, I was impressed.

    My sympathy goes to his son and his family.

    Bill and I are 3rd cousins.

  7. Stephanie Salzer on July 30, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    To Luc, I am so sorry to hear about your Dad’s passing. I hope you know how much your Dad loves you and that you are truly his best friend. I’ve known him for many year and he always spoke about you with such love and pride. I hope the memories your two made together will comfort you today and always. With Deepest Sympathy, Stephanie Salzer (Mark’s Pharmacy)

  8. Don Smith on July 29, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Bill was my first boss. Between 1979 and 1981 I was Gov. John Carlin’s Assistant Press Secretary, a position that reported to Bill.

    Despite having worked for him (and the Governor) for only two years, Bill had a great influence on me. In fact, he’s one of the most insightful individuals I have ever worked for and I sense his influence nearly every day. Moreover, he gave me hundreds of opportunities to learn and develop.

    Bill had a great sense of humor. We loved seeing who could be more clever, with Bill often winning that competition!

    It has been nearly 30 years since I worked with Bill on a day-to-day basis, but I will never forget him. His many acts of kindness on my behalf have inspired me to comport myself in the same manner towards others.

    Bill and his family will be in my thoughts in the days ahead. He was an individual of conviction and integrity. All of us will miss him.

    Don C. Smith
    Denver, Colorado

  9. John and Kathy Muller, Scottsdale, AZ on July 29, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    We are so sad and our hearts hurt to hear about Bill. We worked with him on various projects and he was so smart and fun. He was also so encouraging to our son, Johnny, when he was a young film student. He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with his son at this difficult time.

  10. William L. "Bill" Muir on July 29, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Bill was my friend and colleague when we both were a part of Governor John Carlin’s staff in 1979-82. His smile was infectuous and his laugh and sense of humor were contagious. May he be at peace with Our Holy Father in Heaven. My condolences to his family and friends.

    Bill Muir
    Manhattan, KS

  11. John Neff on July 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    I was truly stunned to read the sad news of Bill’s passing. It’s been a few years since I’d seen him, but for many years I was truly blessed with his friendship.

  12. Charles D. Donohoe on July 29, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Bill was a wonderful friend and a great gentleman.He had many talents including a unique ability to connect with everyone on a personal and very charming level.We are saddened by his untimely death and we will certainly miss him. Our condolences to his son and the rest of his family.

    Holly & Charles Donohoe
    SM, Ks.

  13. Dave Seaton on July 29, 2012 at 9:46 am

    I am saddened by Bill’s death. He and I were in contact about the William Allen White film, which I hope can somehow be revived. I was Senator James B. Pearson’s press secretary before Emerson Lynn III and Bill. I hope to come to the memorial service and look forward to meeting his family. Please accept my condolences at your loss.

  14. Connie Coffey on July 29, 2012 at 9:26 am

    I am so sad an sorry. Bill was my boss at CCG. He was a great story teller and enjoyed working with him. He will be missed.

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