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Thomas E. Hoke

The Story of a Second World War Hometown Veteran. 

Thomas E. Hoke son of Joseph R. Hoke and Effie Eyler Hoke was born November 19, 1923 at his home in Emmitsburg, Md. Tom, as he is called by his family and friends, had one brother (John) and three sisters (Elizabeth, Ann and Rebecca) that are now deceased.  Tom had a typical life of a kid raised in the 1920's and 1930's and really enjoyed being outside.  

He had fun in the winter sledding and ice skating and in the summer playing ball and swimming. He likes to reminisce about his childhood and the one thing that sticks in his mind is about “The Willows” a swimming hole in Toms Creek where he and his friends and classmates spent many a summers day swimming.  

He remembers vividly the day he was swinging over the creek on a rope the kids had tied on the branch of one of the trees leaning over the creek and the rope broke and he hit his head and almost drowned and was saved by one of his friends, but , that would not stop a tough boy like Tom and he was soon back at it again. Tom and 26 of his classmates graduated from Emmitsburg High School in 1940. 

The second world war started shortly after Tom graduated and being of age on February 12, 1943 he was drafted into the U. S. Army. Tom went through training to become an army medic and served in the European Theater of War and participated in The Battle of The Bulge.  

Tom made many buddies while serving his country and still keeps in touch with them by attending Armed Service reunions all over the U.S. Tom was discharged January 9, 1946 with the rank of Staff Sergeant. Tom is one of the few remaining charter members of the Emmitsburg Veterans of Foreign Wars and also a member of the Emmitsburg America Legion Post 121 where his name is, as all Emmitsburg Veterans, on the Wall of Veterans displayed in front of the Post. 

Tom’s first job after coming home was with Charles Harner a local businessman who owned a grocery store and poultry house. Tom worked at both business locations. Stocking shelves and bagging groceries were among his many responsibilities at the grocery store. Tom jobs at the poultry house were killing, plucking and dressing chickens and turkeys to have them ready for delivery in Baltimore and Washington D C.  

He also worked for the Troxell Brothers Feed Store delivering coal to families in and around Emmitsburg. Tom said that was a hard , dirty and tedious job. He crawled around many cellars in town. Tom had a few more jobs around the Emmitsburg area over the years and really liked most of them, but found his career as a heavy equipment operator for Potomac Edison Electric Co. working out of the Frederick Md. Plant and retired from there in 1985 at 62 years of age. 

Tom met Ethel Grace long and married her August 23, 1947. Tom and Ethel had a son John Thomas ( everyone knows as Jack) and a daughter Rebecca Ann (known as Becky). The Hoke families first home was on Federal Ave. also know as (Bunker Hill) located at the north end of Emmitsburg. Tom had a house built on the Harney Rd. where he now resides.  

Jack and Becky got married and moved away and Tom and Ethel lived there alone together. They had a wonderful life together until Ethel passed away on May 27, 2003 and Tom has been living there alone. He says the house is getting too big for him. He is the sole housekeeper and in my opinion a good one. Tom has always loved gardening and being outdoors. He takes care of a large garden and a huge yard which he maintains beautifully and also has some nice fruit producing trees. He says it is getting hard for him to keep up but as always he will have a great garden and a well kept yard and when the garden is producing he will give the majority of the produce away to friends and neighbors absolutely free as a gift because Tom is and has always been a very generous man.  

Tom told me and he will tell you too that he is not a very interesting man and no one would want to read about him. I told him and I will tell you I consider anyone who fought for my freedom and survived the rigors of war then came home and made a life for themselves and their family to be very interesting and worth reading about. Tom is truly, in my opinion , is a man of valor, honor and interest and a person I am proud to know.