We lost a very important person in our lives. Our dad was our rock and he will be missed.
Robert James Ocken Sr., husband and beloved father of five, passed away May 23, 2010, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, due to complications from heart surgery. He was 67.
Born March 2, 1943, in Evanston (Chicago), Illinois, Robert—or Bob, as he was known to friends—lost his father as a young man, before he had even graduated Central Catholic High School in Fort Wayne, which he did in 1961. He began college at Purdue University in Fort Wayne, and for a time made his living as a disc jockey, but then enlisted in the Air Force in 1964. He married Kathleen Duesel on March 28 of that year in Arcola, IN.
Initially stationed in Salina, Kansas, Bob’s Air Force service eventually moved his growing family to Guam in 1966, and there son Thomas David Ocken joined older brothers Robert James Jr. and John Martin, who had been born in Kansas. Bob served as an inventory specialist, ordering supplies to repair B-52 bombers being used in the Vietnam War.
The family returned to the United States in 1968, and moved to Missouri, where Bob was stationed at Whiteman AFB. He left the Air Force and returned to Fort Wayne in 1969, where son Christopher Michael was born, as well as daughter Jennifer Lynn. He applied his military know-how to a new career as a warehouse floor and operations manager, first for American Hoist in Fort Wayne, and later for Carter Precision and Atlantic Machine Tools in Houston, Texas, as well as Flexible Metal in Atlanta, Georgia.
But Fort Wayne was always his home, and he and Kathleen returned in 2001. Throughout his life, Bob was known for his easy laugh and his penchant for woodworking and home renovations, as well as for keeping everything he might possibly someday need in the basement. He loved to travel and will be remembered as always ready for an adventure with his children—whether on the golf course, through Texas and northern Mexico by VW van, or putting together a bridal show in Baton Rouge.
Preceded in death by his father, John (Jack) Ocken, and mother, Bernice Ketter Ocken, Bob is survived by his wife, Kathleen; his two brothers, Jack Ocken of Roanoke, IN, and Tom Ocken of Albuquerque, NM; his sister, Mary Ocken Hess of Roanoke, IN; and his five children, Bob Jr., John, Tom, Chris, and Jennifer, as well as 13 grandchildren.