Hoke Harper

September 19, 1983

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Chief Petty Officer Hoke Vandigriff (Gus) Harper, Jr. passed away Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Astoria, Oregon at the age of 38. Hoke graduated from Auburn High School in 2002. Following graduation, he attended Auburn University and in 2007 graduated with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Business Administration. He was a member of Phi Delta Theta social fraternity.

Hoke met Carrie Elizabeth McLeod at Auburn University, and they married on April 18, 2009. In 2017, they welcomed a son, Finnian Hoke Harper, who was the light of his daddy’s life, especially when flying together in his Piper Archer airplane. Hoke’s passion for flying was fostered by his father, Vandy Harper; his uncle, Bryan Torres; and cousin, Steve Torres which led him into obtaining his private pilot’s license.

After graduation from Auburn University, Hoke’s future in flying advanced when he joined the United States Coast Guard Air Operations. Following basic training and serving on the USCGC Sawfish in Key West and at Coast Guard Station Cortez in Cortez Florida, Hoke entered Air Operations, became an Aviation Electronics Technician (AET), and eventually advanced in rank to Chief Petty Officer. His duties as AET included dismantling and reassembling the MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter he flew on, conducting search and rescue missions, and instructing other members of the Coast Guard. Additional assignments were in Clearwater, Florida; Kodiak, Alaska; and Astoria, Oregon. In his free time, Hoke was pursuing an instrument rating to his pilot’s license.

Hoke always had a love of sports. Starting from a young age, he played t-ball and continued with baseball through high school as a player, and as a fan loved the Atlanta Braves. He was an avid fan of the Auburn Tigers, sometimes begrudgingly, and found a love for hockey through the Tampa Bay Lightning. His love of the outdoors started very young with family and friends gathering at the Harper Family Lodge. This love was carried to Kodiak where he fished for salmon and hiked every chance he could.

Hoke is preceded in death by his maternal grandfather, Albert A. Schmidt, Sr.; his paternal grandparents, Kathryn Summers and Charles Stephen Rush, and Martin Gilmer Harper; uncle Robert Martin Harper, and cousins Michelle Marie Parker and Carly Marie Parker.

He is survived by his wife, Carrie M. Harper, son Finnian Hoke Harper; parents Hoke Vandigriff (Vandy) and Marie Schmidt Harper; brother, Charles Rush Harper; grandmother, Virginia Davis Schmidt; parents-in-law, Robert Darley and Carol Smith McLeod; many loving aunts, uncles, cousins, a brother-in-law, a niece, friends and his huge Coast Guard family.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, April 3, 2022, at the Ag Heritage Park in Auburn, Alabama at 2:00 p.m. central time. A reception will follow the service in the Ag Heritage Park Pavilion.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Coast Guard Foundation, 394 Taugwonk Road, Stonington, CT 06378,;  or to your local United Service Organization (USO)

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