John Philip Hoche, MD

Obit-ISL- Hoche_PETERSBURG, FLA. – John Philip Hoche, MD, died at his home in St. Petersburg on Saturday, June 4, 2016. He was 71. Born in Hobart, Okla., on Sept. 28, 1944, to Angela Genevieve Hayes Hoche and Philip Anthony Hoche, he graduated from Winter Park High School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University.

Kind, thoughtful and generous with a keen sense of humor, he was a man of many talents. He won numerous firsts at the Florida State band contest in percussion and ensemble. He won a prestigious Bausch and Lomb scholarship, was a National Merit finalist, won a National Science Foundation Math Contest and was awarded a competitive scholarship from Martin Marietta to attend MIT.

At Chi Phi fraternity, he served as rush chairman and social chairman. He studied electrical engineering at MIT, but at the last minute switched to humanities and science to attend medical school. As a Hell Week stunt in freshman year at Chi Phi, he had to obtain a signed marriage proposal from Muffie Ison. He thought it would be a prank, but Muffie became his wife four years later. Throughout his life, he told everyone that he got the “pick of the Wellesley College girls.”

Following his internship, John was in the last physician draft in 1971. He became a lieutenant in the United States Navy, where he worked at the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Lab in Pensacola, Fla., doing research for NASA on partial earth gravity for Skylab. This culminated in his publishing “The Value of Exercise at One-Half Earth Gravity in Preventing Adaption to Simulated Weightlessness.” John developed motion sickness pills for the astronauts and was also the leading expert on the Lower Body Negative Pressure machine that enabled the astronauts to maintain stronger heart muscle while weightless. As a consequence of this, he was invited to a meeting with the leading medical experts in America in 1973 to consult on astronaut “patients” on Skylab 2. Despite only being a medical resident, the group accepted his recommendations.

After his fellowship in cardiovascular diseases, he became an assistant professor of cardiovascular diseases and cardiac ultrasound at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. He joined Dr. James Mason, a cardiologist in St Petersburg, Fla., in 1978 and together they formed Cardiology Consultants. John introduced the first nuclear cardiology imaging in a physician’s office in Florida. With the addition of other cardiologists to the practice, they became the Heart and Vascular Institute of Florida with 16 cardiologists presently.

John had so many interests — collecting wine, fishing, skiing, sailing, golfing and traveling, especially in rural France, Bordeaux and Burgundy. He started a wine group, Wine Buffs, in St. Petersburg over 25 years ago, as well as Pinot and Panfish, a wine and fishing group. He loved to spend time in Bar Harbor.

There, he was a member of the Northeast Harbor Golf Club, The Harbor Club, and The Pot and Kettle, where he was a popular president. Previously, he was a member of the Confrerie des Tastevin and served as cellar master and president of the International Wine and Food Society, St. Petersburg branch. He received the Haskell F Norman Award from the IWFS North America for his efforts in the local branch.

He also served as research chair and president of the American Heart Association, Florida and was on the Science Advisory and Coordinating Committee of the national AHA. He and his father were presented an award for being the only father and son to serve in the top two positions at AHA Florida. He was the recipient of numerous honors and awards for his service nationally and in Florida. He was a member of the Board of Directors of Palms of Pasadena Hospital and served on various committees for many years. He was a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and a member of the Aerospace Medicine Association.

John was a very humble, loving and caring person with an ever-present smile and wit that brought joy to others. He was a man of great intellect and insatiable curiosity. He is survived by his wife and best friend, Marilyn (Muffie) Ison Hoche; his beloved daughter, Amanda Hoche Klemm, her dear husband, Jonathan Gregory Klemm, and the light of his life, granddaughter, Taylor Alexandra Klemm, Lawrence, Kan.; a brother, August Henry Hoche, Cashiers, N.C.; and his Irish Water Spaniel, Puddleduck.

There will be celebration of life services in Bar Harbor in August and in St. Petersburg, Fla., in October.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Association, Florida Chapter and to Friends of Acadia or the Maine Sea Coast Mission.

Know when to pay your respects.