John W. Hocking, founder of The Shopping News, dies

By on January 22, 2014

John W. Hocking

John W. Hocking

John W. Hocking, 87, died Sunday, Jan. 19 at Landis Homes, surrounded by his loving family.

He was born in West Grove to the late John W. Hocking Sr. and the late Reba (Effinger) Hocking Marshall.

John was a 1944 graduate of Milton S. Hershey Industrial School for Boys, Hershey, Pennsylvania and was a WWII veteran, having served in the Army Air Force from 1944-1946. After returning from the service, John worked for “The Ephrata Ensign” newspaper where he was proud to earn $17 per week. He was also an employee of the Lancaster Advertiser and the Lebanon Daily News before realizing his goal of owning his own printing business. He opened John W. Hocking Printing Co. in a small garage at 27 Lincoln Ave., Rear in Ephrata in 1953. John learned his trade while attending the Hershey Boys School and was always grateful for the opportunities the education afforded him. With his strong business sense and work ethic, he grew the company into a successful, thriving printing and publishing company.

In 1965, he and his wife, Janie, published the first weekly issue of “The Shopping News of Lancaster County.” In 1986, a fire completely destroyed the business location and contents. However, the business continued uninterrupted and The Shopping News will be celebrating the 49th year of publication this April. John continued to be a strong presence at the company until his death.

John was active in civic affairs during his years in business in Ephrata. He was an active Member of the Board of the National Association of Advertising Publishers (now Independent Free Papers of America). He served as president of The Ephrata Jaycees in 1959. John also served as president of both The Ephrata Chamber of Commerce and The Cocalico Valley Republican Club. He was a member of The Ephrata Kiwanis Club; a founding member of the Ephrata Cloister Associates, serving as treasurer for many years; and was a member of the Ephrata Area School Board.

John served as Commander of the Ephrata American Legion Cloister Post #429, where he continued service as the president and member of the board of directors for many years. He was a member of the Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley, Ephrata Masonic Lodge #665, Lancaster Lodge of Perfection, Reading Consistory, Rajah Temple, and the Royal Order of the Jesters.

John was a member of the Ephrata Church of the Brethren and very much appreciated the visits and prayers from Pastor Tom Weber and the congregation at the Akron Church of the Brethren.

John’s family would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude to the staff at Landis Homes for their kind, loving and compassionate care for him during his year there. We are, as he was, especially grateful for the fun and laughter you shared with him. We will remember this with loving fondness.

John is survived by his wife: Betty Ann (Ginn) Hocking, Lancaster; three daughters: Sherry Lynn Getz, wife of Dana Edsall, Washington Boro; Vicki Ann Getz, Washington D.C. and Julie Ann Hocking, wife of James Nolt, Akron. Also surviving are two stepchildren: Rick Behrndt of St. Augustine, Fla. and Jackie Shahat, Manheim. He had four grandchildren: Nicholas John Fetter, husband of Heather (Severn), Ephrata; Vanessa Jane Fetter, Valerie Elizabeth Fetter and Jennifer Allison Sherk, all of Akron; step granddaughters: Wendy Edsall Kerwin and Christina Edsall; step grandsons: J.C. Nolt and Kyle Osborne and step great-grandchildren: Dorian Edsall and Imogen Nolt. He is also survived by his sister-in-law: Doris (Nies) Hocking of Ephrata.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 30 years, Mary Jane Hocking, and his brother G. Robert Hocking.

Funeral services will be held Jan. 24 at the Akron Church of the Brethren at 3 p.m. with Pastor Tom Weber officiating. Friends may call at Akron Church of Brethren on Thursday evening, Jan. 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. and Friday for one hour prior to the service. Military Honors will be accorded by the Red Rose Veterans Honor Guard and interment will be in Wolf Cemetery, Ephrata.

In lieu of flowers, those desiring may send contributions in John’s memory to the local volunteer fire company of your choice.

Arrangements by Stradling Funeral Homes, Inc., Akron/Ephrata. Online condolences can be given at

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