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John W. Hench, Jr. age 94 of Mechanicsburg, PA, and formerly of Blain, PA, left his earthly home to join his eternal Father on December 30, 2023. Born at home on July 27, 1929 to the late John W. and Edith D. (Wise) Hench, Sr. of Blain, John was a loving husband, companion, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. He is survived by three children: John E. (Jayne) Hench of Monrovia, MD, Craig L. Hench (Kim Hileman) of Venice, FL, and Kelly J. (Mark) Weigle of Camp Hill; a special daughter-in-law: Sheila M. Hench of Mechanicsburg; eight grandchildren: John E. (Sarah) Hench, Jr. of Franktown, CO, Charles A. Hench (Charlotte Donovan) of Talent, OR, and Galen P. Hench (Misha D’Andrea) of Saratoga Springs, NY; Craig L. Hench, Jr. (Henry Watson) of Brooklyn, NY, Stephanie A. Hench of Mechanicsburg; and Robert J. Weigle, Rebecca J. Weigle, and Jacob R. Weigle, all of Camp Hill; three great grandchildren: Anna M., Abygail S., and Stephanie J.; and two brothers: Lloyd D. (Janice) Hench of Mechanicsburg and Ray E. Hench, Sr. (Joanne Fisher) of Blain.
In addition to his late parents, John is preceded in death by his beloved wife of 46 years, Jeanne M. (Lauver) Hench, of Shamokin, PA, who died in 2001. John and Jeanne were married on December 31, 1955 in Mount Holly Springs, PA. Following Jeanne’s passing, John was blessed to reconnect with a childhood friend, Kathryn “Kitty” Ann Smith of Mechanicsburg, PA in 2004. The two became loving companions until the time of her death in 2017. John was preceded in death by his sister, Joann W. H. (Gene) Motter of Gettysburg, PA, who died in 2019.
John graduated from Blain Vocational High School in 1947; he was class President and co-captain of the basketball team. Following graduation, John began work with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Harrisburg, as a Chemist Assistant. In 1951, he enlisted in the US Army and proudly served his country as a combat medic in the 7th Division, 32nd Infantry Regiment in the Korean conflict until 1953. During his service, John earned the following ribbons and medals: Combat Medical Badge, United Nations Service Medal, Korean Service Medal with two Campaign Stars (indicating that he participated in two named campaigns during the war), Purple Heart, and Bronze Star with “V.” (The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces who were wounded as a result of enemy action and were treated by a medical officer. The Bronze Star is awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces for heroic service in a combat zone and is the fourth highest military decoration for valor. The “V” device is awarded for specific acts of valor in combat.) Upon returning to civilian life, John attended Penn State University, completing his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering in 1957. His first job after graduation was as a Machine Shop Supervisor from 1957 to 1960 with Elliott Company in Jeannette, PA. Thereafter, John worked as a Civil Engineer for Benatec Associates, Inc. of Camp Hill, from which he retired in 1992, after 32 years of service. During his many years with Benatec, John thoroughly enjoyed his work designing highways, interchanges, bridges, and stormwater management facilities.
John was an active member of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Camp Hill. He was also a member of the Lowther Manor Lodge #781 of Camp Hill, American Legion Post #109 of Mechanicsburg, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #7530 of Mechanicsburg, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Fairview Hunting Club of Blain, where he was a member for 76 years and served as both a Trustee and Vice-president. John’s relationships with the Club’s members at Camp Fairview, which included many family members and childhood friends, were always an extremely important part of his life.
John was an avid outdoorsman and loved hunting, especially for ring-necked pheasants, wild turkeys, and white-tailed deer. He trained and hunted with two beloved Brittany Spaniel dogs, Mitzie and Duke. He also enjoyed trout fishing and summertime berry picking for wild huckleberries and elderberries from which Jeanne would bake his beloved pies. John shared his love of hunting and fishing with his sons. John also loved to golf, and especially enjoyed his weekly golf outings with various family members and long-time friends from Blain following his retirement. In the early 1970s, John and Jeanne built a small, second home on a couple of acres of land west of New Germantown, PA. John built the house and associated outbuilding himself, with help from his good, long-time friend, Philip “Phil” Gibson, sons John and Craig, and various friends around Blain. John and Jeanne’s beloved “cabin” served as the gathering point for many enjoyable weekends and longer vacations with family and friends (especially Phil and his wife Dorothy “Dot”) over the years. John loved following the Penn State football team and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He rarely missed watching their games on television. A few years before Jeanne’s passing, John and Jeanne, along with Phil and Dot, embarked on an extended driving adventure through the north central and western United States. The two couples visited many of our country’s National Parks along the way. For John, this was the “trip of a lifetime,” and he, Jeanne, and their good friends enjoyed it very much.
A Memorial Gathering of Family and Friends will be held on Thursday, January 11, 2024 from 12:30 to 1:30 PM at the Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1610 Carlisle Road, Camp Hill, PA 17011. John’s Memorial Service will immediately follow the Memorial Gathering at 1:30 PM. The Service will be officiated by Rev. Lois K. Van Orden. Inurnment will be private and at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1610 Carlisle Road, Camp Hill, PA 17011.
Arrangements entrusted to Nickel Lochstampfor Family Funeral Home, Inc.