Anthony Martin Hoch
May 4, 1943 ~ April 28, 2022
AKA: Tony the Twister (T.T.T.), Antwon, and Hoch
Tony was born in Chicago, Illinois on May 4, 1943. A short time later he was adopted by Winton and Helen Hoch from Burbank, California.
Tony was the oldest of three boys, with two younger brothers, Steven and David. Tony grew up in an upper-class family because his dad, Winton, was a well-known cinematographer in Hollywood (winning 3 Oscars and an Emmy award for his excellence in cinematography). Tony went to Ralph Emerson Elementary School in Burbank, CA while growing up. Some of his classmates were the sons of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.
Tony was always up to something. Once, on a cool evening, he found a beehive. Because the weather was cool, the bees were very lethargic. He thought it was a good idea to take it to school and put it in his locker. When the bees warmed up, they took over the school, shutting it down for three days. Tony said he got 3 whippings that day, one by the principal, one by Helen, and one when Winton got home. Tony was fascinated with reptiles. When in Jr. High he took a reptile exhibit to UCLA and won an award. Tony really struggled with the adoption thing, like many adopted kids, wondering why his biological parents didn’t want him. I heard him say more than once that he thought his mother was probably a prostitute and his daddy was a riverboat gambler. Because of this struggle, he was in and out of reform schools growing up. This struggle also cost him several opportunities in the movie industry. He once had a job as a stagehand on the set of “I Love Lucy”. One of the other stagehands did something to make Tony mad, so he punched the guy in the face, and that was the end of his Hollywood career.
Tony had an incredible IQ, but sometimes he did not show a lot of common sense. In the late 60s, Tony did a 5-year stint in San Quinton prison in California for armed robbery. Shortly after getting out in the early part of 1972, Tony met a good-looking Idaho girl named Donya with four kids. He gathered her and the kids up and headed to California, on the way there they stopped and got married in Las Vegas. In California he got a job on the Paramount Ranch in Agoura, CA, where he trained some racehorses and showed a few jumpers. As kids growing up, he and his brothers, Steven and David, showed jumping horses. In 1977, Tony and Donya separated, and he took a job in Iowa building apartment complexes. As always with Tony, trouble wasn’t very far away. He got into a bar room brawl and stabbed a guy 4 or 5 times and almost killed the man. He was arrested on an attempted murder charge and did 4 years after being returned to an Idaho corrections facility. He and Donya were still married at the time, and she agreed to not file for divorce until he was released in 1981. He then took a job building houses in central Idaho and rodeoing on the weekends with his two stepsons, Scott and Rick, along with John Berry, Shawn Jones, Troy Juker, and several others. Sometime in the late fall of 1981 Tony met Bonnie Laughlin and they had a son on September 23, 1982 and named him Sterling. But because of a bull riding accident in January of 1982 that left Tony completely blind, he was never able to see his son physically.
During his time in prison Tony taught himself how to play guitar and write songs. One time one of the other inmates got mad at Tony and said he was going to kill him. Tony diplomatically convinced the man (also a song writer), to write a song about Tony dying, instead of actually killing him. The man agreed, and they together wrote a song called Tweedel-O-Twist! Some years later the two men had an opportunity to present the song to Johnny Cash. Cash liked the song and put it on one of his albums under the title of “Tony.”
Tony’s life was full of all kinds of trouble. Job5:7 says, “Yet man is born to trouble, As the sparks fly upward.” Tony had been blind for 40 yrs. He was in total darkness. On more than one occasion Tony told several different people that he had asked Jesus into his life. If that is true, then right now, Tony sees more clearly than he ever has before!
A Celebration of Tony’s Life will be held at 2:00 pm, Monday, May 30, 2022 at Farnsworth Mortuary, 1343 S Lincoln Ave, Jerome.
Memories and codolences may be shared with the family on Tony’s memorial webpage at www.farnsworthmortuary.com.