Herman J. Hochman, 90, beloved brother, uncle, father, grandfather, mentor, and friend died Thursday, January 20, 2011. Upon his death, the world lost not only a man of service, courage and valor, but surely one of God’s best and funniest characters.
Herman rose from humble beginnings and limited education to found of one of the earliest brokerage houses in the United States specializing in bank stocks. In the span of his career, he brokered the sale of over 25 banks for the titans of business, and even an astronaut. Because of his experience and expertise in his field, he was called to Washington on several occasions to testify before Congress on matters of stock regulations for the banking industry. Herman was on a first-name basis with many of the giants in the fields of banking, business, medicine and politics, but you’d never know it.
As a basically quiet, unassuming younger man, Herman was a B-24 tail gunner in the Army Air Force during WWII. After being shot down and taken prisoner three times, he successfully planned, and executed escape missions after each capture. During his final escape, he hid out in the mountains of Italy for over three months, eating when and what he could. Over the course of his three escapes, Herman saved the lives of twelve soldiers he managed to take with him…a group from all over the United States that would keep in touch the rest of their lives. They would get together occasionally and speak on the phone frequently. With Herman gone, there is only one left.
For his heroic deeds, Herman received the coveted Silver Star as described in the following excerpt from a 1993 U.S. Air Force article written about him:
For his conspicuous gallantry, courage, and daring during an extraordinary sixteen months behind enemy lines, SSgt. Hochman was awarded the Silver Star, presented by Maj. Gen. Nathan F. Twining, commander of Fifteenth Air Force…
Herman Hochman loved people. If ever there was a man born to make others laugh, it would be Herman. He had just the right twinkle in his eye, and nothing short of flawless comedic timing. He had his favorite targets, too, whom he chided unmercifully. They loved being chided, and he loved being chided back.
Herman was the third of five children born to Eva and George Hochman of Rosenberg, TX, and even his birthplace became fodder for his playfulness! He would tell people that Rosenberg had some of the finest gourmet restaurants in the world. Then he would cite Joe’s Hamburger Shack as one of them.
This remarkable man leaves behind his treasured siblings: brother and sister-in-law Alex and Muriel Hochman of Houston, and sister Seline (Dolly) Keeper and husband David, of Austin; his grandson Todd and wife Valerie, Santa Fe, NM, as well as several generations of devoted nieces and nephews. He also leaves his adoring, and adored, caregiver, Nellie Gonzalez, his dog, Tina, and three special nephews who looked after him with unquantifiable love and devotion: Harris Miller and Dr. Stuart Cohan, both of Houston, and Dr. Gerald Reed, of Chicago, Il. They, along with Herman’s brother Alex, were with him steadfastly throughout his final days, and he was profoundly grateful for their loving care.
Also surviving Herman are granddaughter Dayan Hochman and Herbert Simon Hochman.
Graveside services were held Tuesday, February 1, 2011, at 3:00 p.m., Emanu El Memorial Park, 8341 Bissonnet, Houston, TX 77074, Rabbi Roy A Walter officiating.
The family requests with gratitude that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Herman’s memory to Shriner’s Hospital: 6977 Main, Houston, TX 77030, Attn: Becky www.shrinerhospitals.org; or Lucky Dog Rescue, P.O. Box 56512, Houston, TX 77256; or Furry Pals Rescue www.furrypals rescue.org
If you would like to sign the online guest book and perhaps share your thoughts and/or memories of Herman, please go to www.houstonjewishfunerals.com