A Celebration of Life...Ned Hockman

Today people came from all over the United States and gathered at the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism & Mass Communications for a Celebration of Life: Remembering Ned Hockman.

Ned was one of those bigger than life kinda guys who had an amazing journey.

Jon Vittitow had this to say about Ned, "He was on the front line of history in World War II, in Burma. He was at the dawn of modern film and television and worked with Sony in developing technology for the military that would become part of many consumer products. He captured the glory days of OU Football with Bud Wilkinson and beyond. He has a still photo collection that captures yet another side of his artistry. Ned had an amazing ride in life, and he knew and appreciated it. Ned was down to earth and approachable."

During both WWII and the Korean War, Ned was a combat cameraman. He came back to Norman and became "the" film and photography professor at the university and touched the lives of thousands of students. Many came to day to remember him.

Connie Smith from Norman remembered him this way. "Ned taught us how to take pictures and how to tell a story from our own unique perspective. When a student asked why he he wasn't spending more time talking about developing film, Ned said "Read the paper in the box. That's all you need to know about that!" And he was right, the mechanical part is easy. It is learning to see that is the hard part. In 1999, for the University Women's Cookbook, I staged a table for two, complete with china, crystal and candlelight, at dusk in front of Bizzell Library. Bill Williams took a magical photo of the scene and I showed to to Ned, who said" Aw Connie, it's amazing what you can do with those digital photos!" I cherish that surprised look and big smile he gave me because we had done it " the old fashioned" way. How lucky I was to have taken his classes and know him for more that 30 years!"

Marianne Ray McLean sent an email with this, "I'm sitting in my office here at Walt Disney Imagineering and I know in no uncertain terms that I am here because Ned Hockman slapped a Bolex in my hand and told me to go out and "shoot some movies." He said, "don't worry about the can drop kick a Bolex and it will still run," and though I never drop kicked the camera, I did drop it once and he was right. It is hard to hurt that old camera. Because of Ned, for the first time in my life I felt I was really doing something that I wanted to do, something I passionately enjoyed. I loved the classes but more than that I loved the times we sat and talked surrounded by all the film cans and equipment. I loved how he so enthusiastically told me how great I was. I needed to hear and believe that and so I worked even harder making little movies and trying to make good grades. I wanted him to be proud of me. What great motivation."

Ned always encouraged his students. He made them believe that they could do it. Ned who was the king of sticky notes left this on one of them, "The success of a teacher is his students."

Ned left us on December 20, 2009 at 88 years young, he will be greatly missed but as one of his former students said, "Everything has a beginning, middle and end, but for Ned, today was not an end to his life but a reset.

If Ned were here he would say just one word..."FANTASTIC!"

1 comment:

  1. I am one of Ned's former students and did the portrait that is on the screen in the background. I would love to know if there are any similar events in the future and am so sorry that I missed this one.

    Suzanne Butler


We would love to hear from you, so please write a line or two when you visit.