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Coronavirus

Former Iran hostage, wife die of COVID-19, buried in Kentucky veterans cemetery

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Donald Hohman, who was among the Americans held hostage in Iran for 444 days between 1979 and 1981, was laid to rest along with his wife in a veterans' cemetery in Kentucky.

The couple, both 79, lived in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and died within several days of each other this fall after contracting COVID-19, their daughter-in-law, Jocelyn Hohman, told the Lexington Herald-Leader. They were married for 52 years.

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American Legion Post 113 in Hardin County helped arrange to have a color guard and a bagpiper for the services on Friday, she said.

Donald Hohman, a retired chief warrant officer two, died Sept. 22, according to an obituary. Anna Hohman died Oct. 1, her obituary stated.

Jocelyn Hohman credited her father-in-law’s stubbornness with helping him survive the ordeal. She said he went on hunger strikes and spent time in solitary confinement because of it.

“Instead of being scared over there, he was angry,” Jocelyn Hohman said. “He gave them a run for their money.”

The hostages were released the day President Ronald Reagan took office, on January 20, 1981.

Hohman was later awarded the Soldier’s Medal, Purple Heart, Legion of Merit, and other military honors, media outlets reported.

In the years after the hostage crisis, Donald Hohman rarely talked about his time in captivity, his daughter-in-law said.

“He kept it close to his chest, for the most part,” she said. “He had a lot of psychological trauma from that.”

She described Anna Hohman as “a little powerhouse” who “kept the family together.”

“They were quite a team,” said Jocelyn Hohman, who is married to the couple’s son Yuri and lives in Elizabethtown.

Jocelyn Hohman said the family moved to Kentucky in 1998.

After retiring from a 25-year career in the military, Donald Hohman continued to work as a civilian at Fort Knox’s Ireland Hospital until 2005, his obituary stated.

Donald Hohman had been vaccinated for the coronavirus, and Anna Hohman was “very careful” in her interactions with others during the pandemic, their daughter-in-law said.

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