James and Jennie Hockenhull moved to Natoma, Kansas, in the mid-1890s. Their son, Floyd was born there March 10, 1897. His middle name, Langley, paid tribute to Jennie’s father, William Langley Paris; later he passed it on to his son, James Langley Hockenhull.
The Hockenhulls spent a brief period of time in Ottawa, Kansas, at the turn of the century but soon returned to Natoma. Jim set up shop in general merchandise, billing himself as “J. A. Hockenhull, Dealer in Dry Goods, Groceries, Notions, Boots and Shoes, Hats and Caps.” Floyd attended grade school and high school in Natoma. He and five classmates made up the 1914 senior class of Natoma High School. Upon graduation, Floyd immediately moved to the other side of the desk and taught school at Pleasant Vale and Natoma–his pupils were often older than he was! In 1916 he enrolled at Kansas University (KU) in Lawrence, Kansas, majoring in journalism, and his parents moved to Lawrence with him.
Swept up in the patriotic fervor of World War I, Floyd enlisted in the army instead. His service stint was short, but it enabled the small-town boy to see other parts of the United States, including the “Big Apple,” New York City. Travel became one of his life-long passions.
Returning to Lawrence, he married his college sweetheart, Lorna Marie Raub of Delphos, Kansas, then went to work for Capper Publications in Topeka, Kansas. Tragically, Lorna was stricken with a fatal illness and died in 1926, after only four years of marriage. The heartbroken young widower plunged himself into his work for Capper. Among other things he initiated the “Jayhawker Tours,” a series of guided rail excursions around the United States. On the 1930 tour through Glacier Park and the Northwest he met young Juanita Rose, an employee of the Kansas Gas and Electric Company. The two fell in love and were married shortly thereafter. In 1933 their first child, Marjorie Rose Hockenhull, was born.
Floyd’s work at Capper had driven him up through the ranks until he became Director of Circulation for the firm’s ten magazines and two daily newspapers, building a paid subscription base of over two million. In 1935 he decided to strike out on his own. With his mother, wife, and daughter, he moved to Chicago, Illinois to start his own magazine, a trade journal called Circulation Management. In the spring of 1939 their second child, James Langley Hockenhull, was born.
Circulation Management put enormous demands on Floyd’s energy. The magazine’s headquarters were on Jackson Boulevard in the city, but for over 25 years Floyd’s evenings and weekends were spent in his secondary office at home. As a result, he built a world-wide reputation as an expert in his field. He was in wide demand as a lecturer to professional organizations (which extended his opportunities for travel) and taught classes at Northwestern University in nearby Evanston, Illinois. Only after leaving Wheaton for the Ozarks of Missouri in 1966 did Floyd actually retire. He was seventy years old.
Always the journalist, he continued to write newspaper and magazine articles, including a series for the Kansas City Star on life in the good old days in which he relived childhood memories of auto trips, balloon ascensions, shivarees, Hallowe‘en pranks, and the like. He continued to travel.
After 15 years in Missouri he and Juanita decided to settle in Hutchinson. Floyd continued to write and publish, and taught English to Spanish-speaking people as a VISTA volunteer.
Floyd died at his Hutchinson home on October 27, 1990, just a few weeks short of his 60th wedding anniversary. He was buried in the Mount Hope Cemetery in Topeka next to his first wife Lorna.