BANGOR – Captain John M. Hoctor, 88, died at home Wednesday, April 21.

He was born in Biddeford April 15, 1916, the son of John and Ellen Collins Hoctor. He graduated in 1936 from Old Orchard High School, and continued his education at the Madawaska Training School, completing his studies as a 1941 graduate of the University of Maine at Orono.

In 1942, he enlisted in the United States Army and remained in the service for more than 33 years, retiring with the rank of captain. He served in World War II as a commander of a rocket gunboat, participating in four major attacks for which he received two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart.

He was held in high regard by this crew as a commander who handled his duties with fairness, compassion and complete commitment to preserving the country’s freedom while vigilantly protecting his crew’s safety. He was very proud of his crew, who he fondly referred to as his “kids, all green-as-grass reservists.”

After his duties during World War II, he was assigned to Maine Maritime Academy in 1945, beginning what would become an outstanding and memorable career as a multi-sport coach, athletic director and school registrar. Initially, he coached basketball and baseball and was the driving force behind starting a successful football program at a school that didn’t have proper football or baseball facilities before his arrival. He was recognized for his extraordinary contributions to the development of sports activities in Maine during the 1940s and 1950s by being inducted into the Bangor Daily News Sports Hall of Fame in early 1956. His 14-year tenure continues to benefit MMA because his efforts helped create strong sports programs and a nationally recognized maritime school.

He resigned his MMA post in 1958 when he was appointed commanding officer of the United States Naval Reserve Surface Division in Bangor, as well as embarking in an insurance sales career.

He was employed by the State of Maine in the Bureau of Rehabilitation from 1967-1977, finishing his career in the rehabilitation field as a state regional director in the Bangor area.

He is survived by three children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild: a daughter, Betsy Valentine and her son Kenny of New Britain, Conn.; a son and daughter-in-law, Michael J. and Nancy E. Hoctor and their children, John, Sam and Michelle, all of Sanford; a daughter and son-in-law, Nell and Dennis Dalheim and their son Carson, all of Wayne, and their daughter, Sharon D. Robins and her son, John Linton Robins, both of Hardyville, Va.

He was predeceased by Betty, his wife of 60 years, in February, 2003; eight siblings; and most recently by his grandson, Kyle Patrick Valentine, 21, of New Britain, Conn., on March 18, 2004.

He remained active throughout his life, participating in many civic activities, playing golf and continuing his love of sports. He was an avid Red Sox and New England Patriots fan, and shared that passion with his children, grandchildren and friends. He left his mark on every endeavor he undertook.

He will be lovingly remembered by family, friends, coworkers, shipmates and MMA alumni as being a passionate and fair-minded teacher, always optimistic, loyal, supportive, caring and a very stubborn Irishman. His motto was always, “The most precious thing you can give someone is your time.” We believe that he is enjoying the next leg of his journey spending time with hose who have passed before, especially catching baseballs for his grandson, Kyle.

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