SIDNEY — Kenneth R. Hottle, of Sidney, helped pave the way for others when called to duty in serving during World War II.
He and three brothers answered the same call when it was time to protect their country.
Hottle joined his two older brothers in service during WWII. A younger brother served in the Korean War. Hottle will celebrate his 91st birthday, Nov. 18, at his home.
Hottle joined the U.S. Navy Seabees when he was 18. After basic training in Great Lakes, Illinois, he was dispatched to the South Pacific and the Caroline Islands, located north of New Guinea. He was discharged 18 months later, when the war ended.
His oldest brother, Eugene, served in the Air Force. His second eldest brother, Raymond, was called into the Army. His lone surviving brother, Ralph, of Richmond, Virginia, was with the Army during the Korean War. Also, a cousin was shot down and killed over the English Channel during WWII.
The mission of the Seabees was to precede the Marines into an area to construct military bases, outposts and strategic combat strongholds.
Hottle was born in Winchester, Virginia, where he met his wife, Joyce, prior to entering the military. The couple had been married for 67 years when Joyce passed away in 2015. They are the parents of three children, Greg Hottle, of Greeneville, Teresa Hottle, of Sherman Oaks, California, and the late Curt Hottle. The couple also had five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
While in Winchester, Hottle worked for an automotive retail store owner in a job that offered no opportunity for advancement. While there, he noticed an advertisement in a parts magazine seeking a manager for a Western Auto Store in Sidney. The position included an option to buy the business after five years, which he and his wife did.
Hottle owned the local Western Auto franchise from 1962 to 1992. Becoming involved in the community, he was a member of Sidney City Council in the 1970s and 1980s and a member of the board of directors of the Retail Association and Chamber of Commerce.
He was an usher for 40 years at the First United Methodist Church and a member of a local bowling team from 1957 to 2015.
Hottle said, “I didn’t do too bad for someone with a seventh-grade education. I’ve really enjoyed living in Sidney and live in a really nice neighborhood.”
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.