In Memory of

Michael

Hoehn

Obituary for Michael Hoehn

W. Michael Hoehn, 78, passed away August 28, 2023, after a brief but fierce battle with lung cancer. His powerful, peaceful presence and playful humor will be deeply missed.

He was born in Radford, VA, July 27, 1945, to the late Kenneth William Hoehn and Jean Meredith Hoehn. He met the eventual love of his life — Kathryn Lant — as 17-year-old seniors at Manhasset High School in New York; they reconnected in 2001, when Kathy called Michael from Taiwan to find comfort in a fellow New Yorker after 9/11. They married in 2005.

Among Michael’s passions were the arts — you may have heard him sing under his breath in his deep bass/baritone. After training at Bradley University, where he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha, he sang in choral groups at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. He played Caiaphas in “Jesus Christ Superstar” at the Norfolk State Playhouse and Gogo in “Waiting for Godot” at the Maryland Theatre, among other regional theater performances. He was the lead singer in a rock group.

At 22, Michael joined the U.S. Army, serving 1968–1971. He worked at Site R while stationed at Fort Ritchie and televised briefings to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, trusted with clearances above Top Secret.

Among his professional points of pride, he built a TV station from the ground up — WMDT-TV, an ABC affiliate in Salisbury, MD. As Vice President and Director of Broadcast Operations, he did everything from renovate the studio to hire and supervise employees.

Over the years, he served as Senior Director at WHAG-TV, an NBC affiliate in Hagerstown, MD. He was a contractor to Westinghouse Defense and Electronics. Always hustling, he embraced many roles in entrepreneurial gigs: manager, producer/director, engineer, and broadcast announcer.

He became a Master Radio Broadcast Technician at Voice of America, broadcasting news to millions of people worldwide. Continuing his trend of hard work, he managed a second job as a Senior Tax Advisor at H&R Block.

After retiring, he and his wife split time between Lauderdale by the Sea, FL in the winter and Hagerstown in the summer — he golfed year-round without the threat of overwhelming humidity or freezing snow. He volunteered at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens where he gently and patiently helped orchids thrive. He was a passionate birder, whether watching hummingbirds dance from his window in Hagerstown or looking for the white ibises at Bonnet House. He loved to read, always with a Martin Walker, David Baldacci, or Stephen King book in progress on his coffee table.

Through every hectic work season, he kept family at the center. He welcomed his daughter into the world, Meredith Wagner-Hoehn, in 1987. He took her to visit his sister, Carol Diefenbach, her family, and other extended family almost every summer. He prioritized making memories, as simple as fishing on his lake in Boonsboro, MD, where he lived for many years, or as grandiose as a Cirque du Soleil show or Art Basel fair.

Michael is survived by his wife, Kathryn; his daughter, Meredith (Meredi); his sister, Carol Jean; and his nephews and niece, Christopher Michael, Peter Brandon, and Laura Jean.

We leave you with his own words: His family found a handwritten list of reminders to himself among his documents. We should all choose to live so mindfully:

• Be willing to redefine yourself every day.
• Watch yourself falling into old habits and beliefs, then stop as soon as you catch yourself.
• Accept total responsibility for every response and feeling you have. Do not cast them out onto anyone or anything external to you.
• Take the world to be a true mirror of who you are at this very instant.
• Receive whatever is trying to come in. Messages are everywhere. Your next step doesn’t have to be thought out. It will simply appear before you at the right time.
• Don’t act when you are in doubt. Don’t make decisions when you are uncertain. Practice patience until you know for sure.
• Assume that God has His total attention on you.

Instead of a funeral, a private celebration of life will be held in FL with close friends and family.

In lieu of flowers, his family invites donations to Bonnet House, keeping Michael’s beloved orchids well cared for. Contributions can be made online at https://7813.blackbaudhosting.com/7813/Unrestricted--4120. Please note “in memory of Michael Hoehn” in the Comments. Or checks may be mailed to Bonnet House Museum & Gardens at 900 North Birch Road, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304.