Trucker of the Month

Lanier Norville | May 04, 2010

“He didn’t miss many ballgames,” says Jerry, who adds that overnight trips with Frank made a lasting impact.

Jerry enrolled in driving school at age 23 and leased to CRST Malone. This year marks his 10th with the company.

Today, Frank Hockaday says having Jerry in the business has benefits. The two often convoy, hauling steel on their covered-wagon flatbeds.

“There’s a lot of stuff I’ve done on my truck that when he was my age he probably wouldn’t try,” Jerry says. “Now, with him getting older, I work on his truck and mine a lot.”

Through careful planning, Hockaday has been able to spend most weekends at home. He chooses mostly regional loads and ensures that he’s punctual, professional and reliable.

Joyce Merriman, Hockaday’s dispatcher of 29 years, enjoys working with him. “He’s been with the company for such a long time and he’s worked with our agents for so long,” she says, “They know if they put a load on him, it’s going to get picked up and delivered on time, even if it’s a Friday night.” She adds that his clean-cut appearance and polished equipment help.

Hockaday netted $50,000 last year, after $16,000 of his operating costs went to overhauling the engine and transmission on his Peterbilt 379, which had nearly 1 million miles on it. He says only the head on his 550-hp Caterpillar 3406E was cracked, but doing the overhaul now instead of just a repair will save him money in the long run. He says he hopes it to last another million, though he says he hopes to retire it in three years.

When that time comes, he may restore cars professionally part time, or try to instill his lust for classic cars in his grandchildren.

“I’ll do something,” he says. “I can’t sit still.” n

Trucker trivia

A 1964 FORD GALAXIE (above) is Hockaday’s favorite car. The restored vehicle is nearly identical to the one he drove as a teenager. His wife drives a matching 1964 Galaxie, though hers has air-conditioning.

FIVE HOCKADAYS have been leased to CRST Malone, starting with Frank’s father. Two of his brothers and stepson are leased to the company. “They all get along so well,” says Joyce Merriman, Frank Hockaday’s dispatcher.

Jerry Hockaday’s earliest memory of his stepfather, Frank Hockaday, is in this truck. “It was an ugly truck,” Jerry says . I remember him bringing it home for the first time and hopping up in there. I was probably 5.”

Frank Hockaday

1947 Born Nov. 12

1966 Graduates from Moline High School

1971 Daughter Kelli is born

1973 Daughter Danielle is born

1981 Moves home to Moline and became an owner-operator with the purchase of his first truck, a 1979 White cabover strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.