I miss my father-in-law, Charles Dexter Hogan, known far and wide as “Deck”. Like many of his generation, Deck joined the Navy after Pearl Harbor. He’d played high school dances at Modesto High before the war. Once he joined up he toured the South Pacific playing his already legendary trumpet and trombone with the USO Shows. Deck played with all the greats of his time, The Tommy Dorsey Band, Red Norvo, Harry James, Dave Brubeck. He was in the USO band when Bob Hope and Bing Crosby played shows in South Pacific bases like Espiritu Santo.
Deck loved his family, boat racing and his music equally. He and his band “Hogin’s Heroes” played parties, weddings and every sort of event for years all over the Valley. Hogin’s Heroes played at our wedding and Deck personally played St. Louie Blues at my Father’s funeral. Deck was a student of Frank “Proof” Mancini and played for years and years with MoBand at Concert in the Park. He and the “Heroes” were often invited to play the Dixieland Jazz Festival in Sacramento and other jazz festivals. He even played in Japan as part of the sister City exchange under Mayor Lang’s administration.
Deck’s day job was delivering kegs of beer for Delta Brands throughout the area. In his younger days he was an avid hydroplane boat racer and would drag his family around the State to races. His racing days ended when he was seriously injured in a boating accident, fortunately the accident didn’t affect his ability to play his music.
Deck practiced every day. I sometimes think I can still hear him playing scales in the evenings. Upon his death, Deck left all of his musical equipment to our son, Alex. Deck must have known Alex possessed the “music gene” in addition to the “art gene”, Alex has become quite the guitarist and recently I heard him practicing the trumpet.
I firmly believe each and every one of us are unique. I’ve based my practice and life on this fact. But some people really step right into their calling, their uniqueness, and when they do, they change the world on their platform. Deck’s was call was his love of music and he played it out right here in Modesto.
Thank you Deck!
Deck’s Memorial at McHenry Museum – 2008
Watch “Dixieland Dirge” in Modesto for Deck’s wake