The Kentucky Wesleyan College Department of Business honored the life and career of Talmage Hocker ’27 in presenting the Benjamin Best Lifetime Achievement Award in Business to his family.

The award, established in 2010, recognizes alumni and faculty successes by honoring persons who have distinguished themselves over a period of at least 20 years.

Alumni recipients are chosen for their significant impact in business or a business-related career and their contributions to the positive reputation of the college. “I can’t imagine Kentucky Wesleyan College or Owensboro today without the influence of Talmage Hocker. Countless people still benefit from his vision and hard work,” remarked Professor of Economics Sally Asefa.


Hocker, born in Daviess County in 1906, graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan when the college was located in Winchester. He taught math and science in the Owensboro public schools for 16 years.  His second job with the Daviess County Planing Mill led to a successful career as a homebuilder and real estate developer. He developed Wesleyan Park Plaza in 1964, and he and his son, David, opened Towne Square Mall in 1978. Hocker was instrumental in helping relocate Kentucky Wesleyan to Owensboro in  1951, and he was president of the KWC Alumni Association for a number of years. Hocker served the college and community in many ways.

 A 1995 Messenger-Inquirer editorial at the time of his death said it best, “As long as Owensboro stands, Hocker’s impact on it will be written in concrete, steel and timber for all to see.” His wife of 53 years, Margaret McClanahan Hocker, died in 1988. Their son, David, and daughter, Christy Hall, both of Owensboro, accepted the award in memory of their father. Another daughter, Pat Riddle, resides in Lexington. Their daughter, Jane Anderson, died earlier this year.

The Department of Business established the award in memory of the lifetime contributions of the college’s first graduate, Benjamin Desha Best, the only member of the Class of 1868. He was president of Lovell & Buffington Tobacco Company in Covington. A Methodist publication said of Best, “He was widely known and established a reputation for integrity and uprightness

More From WOMI-AM