‘Hotch’ gone, never to be forgotten (Editorial)
To all those out there who are going to miss getting phone calls with “Hotch here,” on the other end, we’re with you.
The loss of our Senior Editor Bruce Hotchkiss on Oct. 13, leaves a void in our hearts as we put this issue to bed.
Nearing age 91 at the end of this month, we knew this day would come but we were still not emotionally prepared for it.
We’ll keep it short — he would appreciate the brevity — but there’s no shortage of heartfelt love for the man who shared so much of himself with us.
His mark on us, on this paper and, you, dear reader, will last much longer, too, and we take comfort in that.
As a newsman he was straight out of Central Casting — stern voice, click-clacking a manual typewriter, impatient for information with an unending curiosity — but as a person he was genuine to his core.
In one moment, he would pound the desk over issues facing the farm community and in the next, tenderly hold one’s hand in quiet prayer over a sick loved one.
As so many friends and colleagues told us last week, Bruce was the heart and soul of the paper, building it from a weekly insert as the Central Shore Farmer to stand on its own as The Delmarva Farmer. He won over the ag community with his farmboy background, sense of humor and passion for their work.
Family was everything to Bruce but it went beyond bloodlines. Whether we worked at the paper a year or two or a few decades, we were family. He wanted to know about us and that often led to stories from his own life.
And his were usually better.
Like others, we’re left with the memories of what was truly Bruce: a voracious appetite for good food, good stories and good friendships.
We’re also left to continue his and the newspaper’s mission, to report on and stand up for agriculture and farming issues.
It’s a mantle we carry proudly, setting our compass to his star.
His laugh no longer booms through our offices as it did for so long, but his spirit remains.
As much as we wish for it, we know he’ll no longer answer our calls, but in all of us, “Hotch” is still here.
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