Bochert leaves legacy of leadership

2017 Progress file photo

Ray Bochert

A Dawson Springs man who served in two wars with two branches of the military and then served his community as councilman for 25 years has died.

Ray Solomon Bochert Jr., 91, died Saturday at his home.

Bochert was born in Dawson Springs and raised in Maryland. He served in the Navy in World War II and then went to college. Following graduation, he became a second lieutenant in the Army and served in Korea. He received the Purple Heart for injuries received in Korea and was also awarded the Bronze Star Medal.

He worked for the Associated Press for 26 years and retired in 1976. He then worked for York International in Madisonville until his retirement in 1991. He often submitted Letters to the Editor to this newspaper.

Bochert came to Dawson Springs in the 1970s after having a career with the AP and a stint in the Korean War with the Army, said former mayor Jenny Sewell at a February 2018 meeting of the Dawson Springs City Council. Bochert had "several unsuccessful campaigns" for city council. But he got the vote and served from 1988 to 2006 and then from 2011 to Jan. 8, 2018, when he resigned due to ill health.

Sewell said Bochert was instrumental in writing and mapping the city planning and zoning ordinance and he worked to make the city and school district boundaries match. He also helped write the grant to have Dawson Springs labeled as a Gold Kentucky Renaissance City.

In addition to his service to the city, he has been a master of the Al E. Orton Lodge No. 628, a member of the Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars, and a 60-year member of the American Legion. Bochert was also a charter member of Daysprings Assembly of God.

"It has been a wonderful experience dealing with the people of Dawson Springs all these years," Bochert said in his resignation letter, which was read at the January 2018 city council meeting.

Before Bochert became ill, he was chosen to take an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., with several other veterans from the area serviced by Honor Flight Southern Indiana. His grandson, Tyler Flinner, accompanied him on the trip in late October 2016.

"I couldn't tell you how proud I was," Bochert had said.

When the flight returned to the Evansville airport early on a Sunday morning, several children greeted the veterans. Bochert said he asked Flinner to stop for a minute.

"'We don't need to rush out of here,' I told him," Bochert said in an interview with The Progress. He shook the hands of children who were there to see the veterans. "Their eyes lit up. They'll remember that all their lives."