Bob H

May 27, 1928  – November 6, 2022

Captain Robert Hoke Hartzell, Sr

Captain Robert Hoke Hartzell, Sr., US Navy retired, age 94, peacefully passed away surrounded by his loving family on November 6, 2022. Bob was born on May 27, 1928 and reared in Royersford, Pennsylvania as the only child of the late Louise Hoke Hartzell and Carl George Hartzell. He graduated from Royersford High School in 1946.

Bob joined the US Navy in April 1946, while still a high school senior as part of the limited Mid-Shipman Aviation Program. He attended two years of his four year undergraduate degree from Ursinus College, a private liberal arts college in Collegeville, Pennsylvania before beginning his military service. Bob attended pre-flight school in Pensacola, placing top of his class with further flight training at Whiting Field in Milton, Florida. He earned his wings as a Naval Aviator in February 1950. He volunteered for deployment and flew 64 combat missions in the Korean War.

In 1953, Bob met the love of his life, Jo Alice Osborne, at the Naval Air Technical Training Center in Millington, Tennessee. They were married on May 8, 1953. Bob finished his undergraduate degree from Ursinus College in 1972 and Master of Arts from Webster University in 1975. Bob loved flying and he flew more than 16 different aircraft, including propeller and jets. His favorite was the F3H Demon which he flew to Mach 1.27, faster than the speed of sound. Bob flew from eight different aircraft carriers making a total of 147 carrier landings. He served in the Korean and Vietnam wars. His military decorations include a Bronze Star, Air Medal with two gold stars, Naval Commendation Medal with Combat “V”, two National Defense Service Medals, three Korean Service Medals, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, two Vietnam Service Medals, a United Nations Service Medal, and Vietnam Campaign Medal. After 32 years of military service, Bob retired in 1978 as Captain, at his final duty station, NAS Corpus Christi.

Bob and Jo built a life together, raising their children living all over the country and deploying as a family to Japan where they completed their family of five children. Bob was a humble, compassionate, gentle man that was loved by all who knew him, most especially his wife and family. He was committed to his faith and providing for Jo and his children. Bob (and Jo) joyfully served on the Salvation Army Board of Directors in Corpus Christi, Texas and as part of the bell ringer Red Kettle Campaign each Christmas season. He was a faithful church member and usher at the NAS Corpus Christi Protestant Chapel for more than 45 years and most recently attended The Worship Place in Georgetown, Texas over the past six years. He enjoyed a lifetime of family gatherings, was an avid golfer, bowler, radio-control airplane enthusiast and motorcyclist.

Bob is preceded in death by his parents and maternal uncle and namesake, Robert Heinly Hoke, Corporal US Army, killed in action, World War I, Battle in North of Montaucon France, the first and deadliest battle of the Argonne Forest. Bob is survived by his devoted wife of 69 years, Jo Osborne Hartzell; his five children, Lynn Davis and her husband Jesse Davis, Robert Hoke Hartzell, Jr. and his wife LuDonne Hartzell, Jan Rhodes and her husband Michael Rhodes, Jennifer Harris and her husband James Harris, and Valerie DeSantis Bechtel and her husband Philip Bechtel; along with his eleven grandchildren, Jessica Childs, Claire Allison Arnold (Christopher),  Robert Hoke Hartzell, III (Briana), Christine Hackney (Jordan), Nicholas Holt, Dillon Holt (Mari Zavala), Charles Harris (Faythe), Wesley Harris, Samuel Harris (Andrea), George Harris (Claire), Joseph Osborne DeSantis; as well as eleven great grandchildren, Caiden, Colyer, Constance, Kaia, Reagan, Evelyn, Julian, Audrey, Piper, Cameron, and Malcolm.

Memorial gifts may be made in his name to the Veterans Program at The Salvation Army of the Coastal Bend, 1802 Buford St., Corpus Christi, Texas 78404 (361-884-9497). Or online at:

A time of visitation began at 9:30 a.m., with the Celebration of Life following at 10:30 a.m., on Tuesday, November 15th, 2022 at The Worship Place, Sun City, 811 Sun City Blvd., Georgetown, Texas. Pastor Daniel Patrick will be officiating.

Cpt. Hartzell was laid to rest at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 15th, 2022 at the Central Texas Veteran Cemetery, 11463 SH 195, Killeen, Texas 76542, with Military Honors.