Marion and Carol Hochstetler are retired science teachers.
By JACQUI L. HERSHBERGER
If you drive down Church Road, you may notice Hochstetler Orchards. Several hundred fruit trees offer a stark contrast to the open fields. In the late summer, if your windows are down, you may get the comforting scent of ripe apples and peaches. It is managed by Marion and Carol Hochstetler, who both retired from teaching science at Dalton Local Schools.
“Retirement hasn’t been much ‘retirement’ in the traditional sense,” Carol Hochstetler wrote in an email.
In 2006, Hochstetler retired to help take care of the couple’s first grandchild. Their son is in the medical field and their daughter teaches many of the same classes at Norwayne that Hochstetler taught when she started her teaching career in 1974. “I couldn’t be prouder to pass on that legacy,” she wrote.
Hochstetler keeps busy taking care of the orchard and working with plants in their greenhouse. Other activities she enjoys are using her embroidery machine, sewing, reading, and keeping up with the grandkids. At their church, she plays in the hand bell choir and is in charge of a Blanket Ministry.
Marion Hochstetler retired from teaching on May 31, 2007. After that, he was a substitute bus driver. In 2008 he started driving Dalton’s blue school transportation van. He and the students “have a ball singing songs,” he said. “I try to make their day better and more enjoyable.”
Earlier this year, Hochstetler completed his 368th blood donation to the American Red Cross to reach the 46-gallon mark.
The couple met in chemistry class at Kent State Stark.
“Marion claims now that he was ‘just a shy farm boy’ when we met,” Carol recalls.
But, it turns out that their chemistry matched, and after both graduating with science teaching degrees in 1972, they were married.
Marion graduated March 18, 1972, and 10 days later started teaching 7th and 8th grade science at Dalton Junior High. He taught his entire career at Dalton Local Schools, teaching various science classes.
“The only constant I had was teaching 8th grade earth and space science. But, I always felt that the outdoor education setting was my true calling,” he wrote.
He was involved in Outdoor Education programs that included other Wayne County schools for over 30 years.
Carol substitute taught in Wayne County and was hired to teach science classes at what is now Norwayne in the summer of 1974. She re-mained there for four years until their son was born. In the spring of 1979, Carol took a tutoring position at Dalton High School. It became a full time job and she taught general science, and then biology. She then got a master’s degree with an emphasis on technology and added computer classes to her repertoire.
Over the years, Marion helped construct different buildings a the school, including the football concession stand, bleachers, storage buildings, dugouts, and the high school auditorium. Their family donated over 5,000 hours to help complete the auditorium.
“It was great to see people of all ages working side by side to bring to fruition a structure that was all funded by donated time and resources,” he wrote.
“I have had the privilege of being in the presence of some very great minds and also those who struggled, but there has been so much satisfaction in seeing the students in their aha moments as they grasped a difficult concept and the ‘light bulb’ came on,” Carol wrote.
Many of their memories with students came from doing activities outside the classroom. But the memory that stands out to Marion the most was eating lunch every day with the students.
“It always touched me to be able to talk with the students and occasionally, when asked, to give a hug to a student who was having a rough day,” he wrote.
Some former students call him Marion, others, Mr. Hochstetler, or simply “Ho Ho.” “I no longer have students, I have friends,” Marion wrote.
Their former students are always welcome. “The orchard door is always open so stop in and visit.”