Woody Hochswender
  • 64 years old
  • Date of birth: Jun 20, 1951
  • Place of birth:
    Brooklyn, New York, United States
  • Date of passing: Dec 31, 2015
  • Place of passing:
    Sharon, Connecticut, United States
Jesus he was a handsome man and what i want to know is how do you like your blue-eyed boy Mister Death

A memorial service for Woody will be held Sunday, Jan. 17, at 1 p.m. at the Grove building on the shores of Lakeville's Lake Wononscopomuc. Everyone is welcome, if you can let us know if you plan to attend that will help us with planning, send an email to jensen_kirstenm@yahoo.com or cindyinsharon@gmail.com. Thank you for your love for Woody and the stories and photos you have shared. We will add more photos after the memorial service, after we get them scanned, of old friends in the old days.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Peter Suydam on 5th September 2016

"I met Woody at Colgate in '68 or '69. We were in the same pledge class at DKE. I didn't really know him well but wanted to because he was very interesting - kind of ahead of his time. I remember he was a great writer - something that was lost on me. God Bless you Woody. Say hi to Hubbard and Hancock if you run into them!"

This tribute was added by RUBEN PREUSS on 20th June 2016

"There is not a week that goes by without me thinking about Woody.  Miss you. You'll always be in my heart."

This tribute was added by Kenneth Torti on 20th June 2016

"The last time I saw Woody was at the Memorial Service held for our Varsity Football coach John Reardon at Noth Shore High School a few years ago. At the reception afterward we all gathered in the cafeteria and were reminiscing and Woody announced his idea for a piece he wanted to write.  It involved getting all of us together and going through hell week preseason football practice at our current advance ages to see how we would hold up.  I told Woody that I'd sustained a complete tear of the anterior cruciate ligament and major tears in both my medial and lateral meniscus in our last hell week of our senior year.  The damage was all surgically removed and my orthopedic surgeon couldn't believe that I continued playing through the season with those injuries when I had it surgically treated in the late 1980s. I told Woody that if we were going to proceed, all would have to sign general releases and we would need EMTs and an ambulance at the ready.  He thought for a moment and he was up for it.  We all miss him dearly."

This tribute was added by marc black on 20th June 2016

"Because he was so present, Woody had a way of helping his friends see just a little bit farther both into the future and into the past.  My life is bigger and more joyful thanks to you, Mr. Hochswender."

This tribute was added by Jodi Rothe on 17th January 2016

"I met Woody through a friend, Marilise Flusser, in New York when I was moving to the Berkshires - and Woody was a district leader in Sharon, Ct.  Although he seemed strident in every thing Buddhist - from being on time, to doing things correctly, he was so sincere and he helped me practice and keep other people practicing.  What I loved about Woody was his love of his family - it was always about Kate - and Cynthia - and those goals of his in life that kept him practicing.  He was a writer and that was important - but I always though he was more proud of himself as a father and a husband.  I loved that about him."

This tribute was added by Alison Sneed on 17th January 2016

"Woody Hochswender was superhuman.  I am reading all of these notes and learning even more about his life - a life that was already amazing in my eyes from my experience of him.  He was integral in my now 29 year long Buddhist practice even as recently as last year.  Just having dinner with him at a mutual friend's house reinvigorated me to share Buddhism with someone who marched right on to get her Gohonzon almost on contact.  Woody's reach is so far, so vast, so infectious.  It seems impossible that a man with so much humility could wield such influence, such power.  If he was a king we were his willing, smiling subjects.  It makes me feel such gratitude to have known someone of such humor, intelligence, wit and style.  He remains a positive life force that might live on forever.  He makes up for a lot of other people one encounters in this world.  I, for one, am better for having felt his warmth and watched him shine his light."

This tribute was added by Dan Jordan on 16th January 2016

"When I heard the name Woody Hochswender it rang a bell from 50+ years before.  My sister, Katherine, confirmed that the Hochswenders lived on the corner of Foster and E 29th and went to St. Jerome’s with us.  Woody was a year ahead of me and Patricia was in my sister’s grade.  
Reading about Woody’s life has been inspiring.  Our condolences to Woody’s family and many, many, many friends.  The young boy I knew by sight became quite a man.  We are sorry for your loss.

Dan Jordan"

This tribute was added by John Emelianoff on 12th January 2016

"Woody and my older brother Ali were very good friends. i always had fun when i was allowed to hang out.        So here, a few random Woody-istics :
i played "Oh suzy Q" off the new Creedence Clearwater album for him. Ali said,"It's like 1950s Rock & Roll". Woody said, "it is 1950s Rock & Roll".
Jump forward a decade or so when Woody was coming out from the City to visit Ali. When he arrived at the house he had cuts and bruises on his face and arms. Then he proceeded to tell us he was dozing off when the train arrived at the Sea Cliff Station. Followed by " you know how you see the characters in the movies jump off the moving trains. Well it is not as easy as it looks"

Much, much Love to a good man!!!
Thank You, Thank You!!!"

This tribute was added by Francesca Turchiano on 10th January 2016

"I'll always remember you as the sole writer for The New York Times who made me laugh, one of your many gifts.  Thank you spreading your light to many.  Condolences to your loved ones."

This tribute was added by Bettie Snyder on 9th January 2016

"Woody:  Witty.  Wise. Wonderful."

This tribute was added by Dave Cadwell on 8th January 2016

"I can measure the amount of time I knew Woody in hours, which is certainly less than anyone here knew him. But having the pleasure of driving him to his doctor in Philadelphia made our time together Memorable, and a true delight for me. I subscribe to the adage of "I seldom learn anything when I'm doing the talking" so as you might imagine, I was able to learn quite a lot from Woody, far too much to write here, but I will make this observation, of how much and many Women Loved him. The meaning of "ex-wife" has been redefined for me watching Cynthia minister to him, when he needed it the most, along with the squad of other Women who Loved him. I have so many memories in such a short period of time, including taking a pee into the Hudson River...like I said...Memorable! with a capitol M!! RIP Woody"

This tribute was added by Kirsten Jensen on 7th January 2016

"When I was in middle school in the mid-80s, the hot book was The Thorn Birds. The jacket copy contained quotes like "A saga, and everything, simply everything happens," and the interior summary was breathless, exciting: “Spanning three generations and an infinite range of human emotions, The Thorn Birds is the story of a singular family…who leave New Zealand to live on a vast Australian sheep station, where their triumphs and tragedies are interwoven with the wonder and terror of a land ravaged by cycles of drought, fire, and torrential flood.” You. Really. Wanted. To. Read. That. Book. And we did, by flashlight, late into the night, hoping our parents wouldn’t notice. We passed it around, girl to girl. Woody later told me that he selected the quotes and wrote the summary, and the night he died, I read the first chapter to him, reliving the excitement of first reading it, and my excitement of being with him, such a singular man. Woody also wrote the jacket copy for many of the books by Jorge Amado that I read in college. I loved those books, and I picked them out because Woody made them interesting with zippy lines and pithy quotes. The name Woody Hochswender meant nothing to me then, but what he said, did. So, you could say I fell in love with the words before I met and fell in love with the man who wrote them. Everything, simply everything, happened."

This tribute was added by Bill Miller on 7th January 2016

"Woody first entered my life in the 4th grade. We were competitors in a Catholic "religious instruction" class contest. Woody nosed me out in sudden-death overtime. I realized I had lost out to someone smarter then me and I had an immediate admiration for the red head. Our friendship from that day on seemed to be a competitive search for adventure, excitement and learning. We shared many "1st's" together; most of the variety that were trouble in the making: 1st drunk, 1st joint, 1st trip, 1st suspension... Ironically the punishment for a misdeed at school was banishment to Woody's unsupervised home apartment in Sea Cliff. We were of a small group of close friends that were inseparable over our school years. We all shared a love of sports and we were always in search of the next way to compete with each other.... Woody always had "game" but never the "wheels" to pull it off. Never stopped him from talking a good game. I have a strong recollection of Woody introducing me to my first adult unassigned novel- Kurt Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle". The conversations that followed were the origins of a lifetime love of literature. Woody was always the leader and mentor when it came to writing and literature. I wish he were the one doing the writing now. His gift was evident from a very young age. The beauty was that he was always willing to share it. Woody wrote more then one English class assignment for me. Not what sure what I gave him back in return. I assumed he always enjoyed it. Woody always "got" me. Over the 50+ years we knew each other, conversation was always seamless. Woody had a great passion for sharing his experiences and knowledge. Despite the time and space that took its place between us, it seemed we could always just pick up where we left off with no explanations. In recent years our personal connection was often limited to an occasional golf outing. From our early days of caddying, we shared a passion and love of the history and tradition of golf. The irony is that we were both lousy golfers. Always were! But somehow we always played as if today would be the day we found our swing. I suppose this is the perfect metaphor to end this remembrance. Woody is probably out there right now on the "twilight loop". I will miss him all of my days. There was never anybody quite like him."

This tribute was added by John Treiber on 7th January 2016

"God Bless you Woody - also frequently referred to as "Red" - too many memories to concisely convey.  From our earliest days together at his Bay Avenue, Sea Cliff house to all the crazy things we did throughout high school and college!!  I never laughed harder or longer with anyone else in my life during those days.  The Caddy Yard, poker fames and always incisive conversations about numerous topics of interest.  He was the smartest guy I ever knew.  His writing was a gift.  I've never seen anybody who had a way with words like him - concise/pithy/occasionally cutting and always subtly to the point.

An under rated athlete - show a foot but extremely cerebral.  A great eye for hitting a baseball, filling the gap as a linebackers and he loved playing basketball especially when it was against somebody who was 5' 7" like me!

My mother loved him and it was the ultimate compliment he gave her when I saw him last at her Memorial Service that she was the only adult who he was ever comfortable being around when he was on LSD.  Remembering those days and experiences - that's quite a compliment!

There's obviously a lot more but that's it for the time being and I look forward to being with everybody at his Memorial.  Good luck and happiness in your new journey Woody.  Your friend, John Treiber"

This tribute was added by Michael Sragow on 6th January 2016

"I first knew Woody at the LA Herald Examiner. He was always a witty and expressive writer and a supportive colleague. I later found out that he was a terrific editor, and a loyal one, too. He gave me the first national magazine assignment I got after being moved out of a dream job when Tina Brown took over The New Yorker. Out of the blue, for Esquire Gentleman, he assigned me to do a piece on the style of Steve McQueen. It was the first time I talked to costume designers and I had a blast with them and with Woody. My deepest condolences to his family and close friends on the loss of such a vibrant spirit."

This tribute was added by Kenneth Torti on 6th January 2016

"When I saw Woody's obit in the Times I was saddened.  He was always the smartest guy in whatever room he was in, he was also the most well liked.  Your right Kate, it's not right."

This tribute was added by Divya Symmers on 6th January 2016

"Years before meeting him, I knew Woody for his byline in the Times and other publications. Seeing it meant the story was guaranteed to be funny, sharp, erudite and quirky. As a writer and as a human (and a Buddhist) he was absolutely one of a kind. I will miss his kind and energetic greetings and the possibility of another evening of lively storytelling. Gone too soon, “The answers quick & keen, the honest look, the laughter…
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave…”
(Edna St. Vincent Millay)."

This tribute was added by David McNeill on 5th January 2016

"My deepest condolences to Cynthia, Kate and Kirsten. Woody will be deeply missed. I had the privilege of working with him to produce "The Buddha In Your Mirror," which has introduced hundreds of thousands of people around the world to Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. The poetry of his words made that book possible.

I'm sure that he will be quickly reborn so he can continue his mission and grace us once again with his intellect and passion."

This tribute was added by Pat Leri on 5th January 2016

"And so my handsome, winsome baby brother is gone—a man who loved his family and friends and took care of them as he would his own self.  He was a good, good man. When comes such another?

I remember playing cowboy and girl shoot-outs under Grandpa’s Brooklyn mulberry trees;
Searching for surprises in Grandpa’s elegant desk;
Letting the emergency brake go in Dad’s MG  and flying backwards, miraculously unharmed, into busy Foster Avenue traffic;
Forging snow forts in the side yard’s bent over shrubbery;
Raising city Easter bunnies and chicks;
Piling the entire recital cast of kiddies into Dad’s VW to celebrate at Doyle’s Bar and Grill
Marvelling at Dad’s model TV and stereo;
Munching unknowingly on Mom’s chocolate covered ants;
Guzzling champagne at the Surf Club (following sink or swim tosses into the ocean off Dad’s shoulders);
Dining with the Bowens and surviving consequent car accidents;
Playing stoop ball and kick ball in the city streets;
Scaring ourselves silly watching Bela Lugosi movies Saturday afternoons and then frightening ourselves in the dark confessional booths of St. Jerome’s

Remember . . .
Your fire engine and my doll house
Lady, Brandy (and the old Russian lady who lured him away with dainty treats), Ginny—Dad sleeping in the bushes at Park Way House with the dogs on top of him.
Mom’s enormous furniture, walk-in fireplace, and gigantic Christmas trees
Her idea of civilizing Lady by leaving us alone with a hostile dog on the Veranda (it worked!)
The lazy water and sky days at Jones Beach Ocean and Glen Head Pool
The freedom of freewheeling up and down Sea Cliff hills, never knowing until the last minute whose house we’d eat at or sleep in and without any kid’s head gracing a milk carton
Our endless charge at McCarthy’s delicatessen because Mom shared his last name
Scudder’s Pond—our ice palace in winter
Begging Mom and Dad to eat hot dogs at home rather than have another lobster tail dinner at the Swan Club
Mom’s dinners of a half a gallon of ice cream and a shared Sara Lee cake
You were Tom Swift.  I was Nancy Drew
You played Rolling Stones; I spun opera
You stuck up for me in a pinch and I took care of you.

I remember your horribly broken leg and your healthy no-sugar (yuk) yogurt at Colgate
You babysitting Alessandra at Avon while I fed the parking meter
Your agonizing search for the precise word, the perfect phrase, the fit meaning
My “Her name was legend and the legend was America” and your “beautiful spear of a dying nation,” regarding Sacagawea
Your Plaza wedding and Alessandra as last minute flower girl
The West Side Apartment and Main Street House in Sharon with beautiful Kate and Cindy
Your wonderful performances in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas (who knew you and Jay had such voices?)
You at Matthew’s wedding on the red rock arch in Utah and your speeding ticket
You at Alessandra’s wedding walk to the Kaaterskill Waterfall, encountering the bear
Skiing Alta Christmas week and locking the keys in the car rental (it really was both our faults); it was a good thing Matthew knew the local police.

Then there was Philly and compassionate, creative Kirsten and Freya and Finn and the drives to Jefferson
Sharon Hospital and “Lost Horizons” Rehab
Philly Hospital and Hank’s smiling, sad face
Jay’s patience
        Tommy always loyal
Cindy, Kate and Kirsten’s caring presence
Joseph’s optimism
My ache for you.

I love you always and will forever miss you.
Hochey a/k/a Fat Pat the Water Rat"

This tribute was added by Jenny Ho on 5th January 2016

"Woody, wow, what a presence.

I met Woody years ago at Cynthia's and his wedding.  After that, I met him a handful of times, our lives being separated by distance.  

I will never forget Woody's towering and graceful stature, his damn booming voice (I'm sure that it did grate on Cynthia's and Kate's nerves on occasion), and yes, what a beautiful head of hair!!  His hair was an amazing color, wavy in all the right places and thick!!  All that, plus Woody's incredible, nonchalant style.  How did he do it?  Did it take any planning, because, Woody really did have that je ne sais quoi.

Together with Cynthia's tall string bean figure, they were honestly a bit like the whisper of the wind and the......thunder...guess who's who??  Woody whether he tried to or not, ALWAYS, made an entrance!  Everyone noticed him!  And yes, when one was with Woody, a lot of energy was drawn towards him in to Woody's world.  I still remember him sitting at my kitchen counter, reading the NYTIMES, voice booming, "Cindy!"

I'm sure Woody was mercurial, he wasn't exactly subtle or a wallflower, he had his ways and opinions, but he left his mark and I know that he will be missed by all those who loved him.  

Katie, I know that you will miss your dear father and that he was taken from you way too soon.  Do know that in the hardships of life, there are always blessings.  You will find joy in your memories and love and grace from unexpected places that will uplift you.  Somehow or other, your father's time with you and your mother was meant to happen and this time and passing is a gift.  

May you, your mommy and all those who loved him find strength and many blessings in the days to come.

I love you two.  xoxox


This tribute was added by Kirsten Jensen on 5th January 2016

"Woody was an avid and life-long swimmer, so am I, and so it's really no surprise that we met at the Hotchkiss swimming pool and that swimming continued to be a part of our life together. Today, with the publication of his obituary in the New York Times, I was feeling rather low. But I went swimming anyway. All the lanes were taken and I was just getting ready to share with someone (so very like the day we met, a busy day at the pool, when I suggested Woody share my lane), when another swimmer popped out of his lane. I walked over and said, "Are you done?" "No," he said, "I'm Kevin." I hesitated a beat, and then I realized, that was exactly what Woody would have said, and I laughed. Woody's spirit was reaching though Kevin to make me smile. So thank you, Kevin for giving me what I needed today, and thank you Woody, for always making me smile."

This tribute was added by RUBEN PREUSS on 5th January 2016

"I wish I had a photograph of a Halloween night in the early eighties when Woody dressed up as a tampon.  He wrapped a white board around his upper torso and attached cotton at both ends.  I know Woody as a fun loving person never shying away from the outrageous.  

I met Woody in January of 1971 at Skidmore College, an all female college at the time. We were both visiting students for one semester. We were paired as roommates.  While the other 51 male visiting students came equipped with stereos, large vinyl collections, psychedelic décor and suitcases filled with who knows what, Woody and I showed up with one suitcase, identical suitcases, mid size with a red Scottish pattern. That was the beginning of a life long friendship.

We both signed up for a sociology class taught by the only black professor, a part timer.  Skidmore had only approximately 30 black students, most of which were also enrolled in this class.  After weeks of discussing the injustice and racism that blacks were experiencing, Woody stood up and said something like  “Talking does not bring change. Action brings change”. Half an hour later Woody and myself, a tall skinny red head and a kid from Argentina, were leading a group of twenty plus African-American girls in the take over of the administration building demanding the hiring of black full time professors and the acceptance of more black applicants.  We were holed up in the building for several days.  Woody sat down at the president’s typewriter and typed, “Papers are bullshit. This is being typed on the president’s typewriter” and submitted this in place of the assigned ten-page term paper. Woody got an A.

After Skidmore I didn’t see Woody for four and a half years until we ran into each other on 8th Avenue in Manhattan. Woody was working at Avon books and I was unemployed.  A week later I was also working at Avon books.  Woody always looked after his friends. He composed my letter when I reached out to Michael Mann.  When my youngest son struggled with his college application essay he stepped in.  When I impulsively got married in Mexico City he was there. When Julien, my first child, was born he was the first person I called.  Julien got married on August 15, 2015 and Woody travelled cross country, a few months after his surgery, to participate in the celebration.  I thanked my son for getting married as it offered me the opportunity to hang out with Woody, share many laughs and fantasize about a trip together to India.

After the wedding we met at one of our old hangouts, the Beachwood Café. It was closed so we sat on a bench around the corner and spent three hours chatting.  He brought up a book by Joseph Kanon, Stardust, about the film industry in post WWII. The next day I purchased a copy and Woody had me back reading after a twenty-year hiatus.  A week later I called him up and he turned me on to Lawrence Block Hit Man series. Three weeks later I asked him for other titles and he mailed me a box full of books.

Cynthia recently reminded me of “the time we all spent together with you and your wife (Christina?) and Julien (when he was ... maybe 4 years old?) in New York, one Thanksgiving. It was the night Woody and I got engaged, you were the first people we told”.

Woody and I have a forty-five year long friendship with no end in sight. I am a lucky guy."

This tribute was added by Brooke Loening on 4th January 2016

"I always appreciated Woody's great sense of humor, his directness, and his ability to have a very honest conversation about almost anything.  Most of all I appreciated that he had a sensitivity about him which was accessible.  I will miss meeting him on the bike path and golf course, and our conversations which did not have limits."

This tribute was added by Peter Cook on 4th January 2016

"I have known Woody for my entire life through my father, Warren Cook. I recall him as a presence at our Thanksgiving or Christmas celebrations, a living relic of my parent’s connection to a more decidedly cool existence. I distinctly remember being taken by my parents to visit Woody, Cindy and Kate’s house in Sharon, and being appalled that anyone would live voluntarily in such a rustic setting.

I was lucky to spend more time with Woody in the last few years as he and my brother undertook various agricultural endeavors.  Now older, I was impressed with the tranquility and beauty of his home on that little mountain. Through the course of our visits and conversations, I gathered the impression of him as kind of redheaded king living an enlightened bohemian existence from his mountain seat.

In the kind of semi-conscious way we believe what is good will last forever, I assumed Woody would live to be a very old man on top of that mountain, surveying the world beyond with a wise enthusiasm more the result of than despite his advancing age.

And while it was not to be, I am grateful that in a smaller way it was. He did live on that mountain, with his ridiculously good hair, and his crazy stories. And he was a king for a time.  


I listened to this song while writing this:



This tribute was added by Tom Walsh on 4th January 2016

"As I reflect on the ever-fascinating Woody, it’s amazing for me to realize how often he served as a genuine pioneer and trailblazer in my life – a man of “firsts.”

I met Woody at my very first Buddhist meeting, in 1986. He was one of the first people there to speak to me (at the Flusser home), and within a few weeks he was the first person to visit me at home to talk about the practice and chant with me. He became a true mentor, in my Buddhist practice that continues to this day, and in journalism. We turned into good buddies.

In 1991, when Woody was at the “Times,” I had an idea for a feature story I wanted to report and write for the paper. Woody told me the right person to pitch, how to write the pitch, how not to write it, how to follow up (and how not to). I followed his directions to the letter. The pitch was a big success, the article was eventually a home run (front page of the “Weekend” section), and Woody was a major reason why.

Five or so years after that . . . Woody turned me on to an area of New York state about which I knew nothing. We had become golf partners, and he invited me to meet him one day in Dover Plains, New York, to play not far from his home in Sharon, Connecticut. In the months that followed, we played golf at half a dozen courses that were new to me, most of them within a 50-mile circle around that area, and two of them in the little town of Copake, New York. The golf was hilarious, but the best part, aside from Woody’s companionship and his service as a tour guide, was experiencing that gorgeous region for the first time, and being enthralled by all of it. So much so that in 2004, my family and I bought a house in Copake, 18 miles northwest of Woody’s home. We’re still there.

Woody was an extraordinary man. I regularly thank him in my heart, and I will miss him always.

Tom Walsh"

This tribute was added by Lisa Hanover on 4th January 2016

"Thank you, Kirsten, for introducing us to a gentle man and a scholar, fellow Long Island dweller, Colgate alum (as were our fathers way back in the 40's, 50's) and cheerleader for all of our efforts. His gracious presence, snazzy look, and sublime sense of humor enriched every gathering together.  Seersucker has never looked so good...and we will miss his wry observations at our various museum events - and having a beer or two for fun.  We extend our deep condolences to you and the family.  With love from Lisa & Steve"

This tribute was added by cynthia hochswender on 4th January 2016

"A memorial service for Woody will be held on Sunday, Jan. 17, at 1 p.m. at the Grove building on Lake Wononscopomuc in Lakeville, Conn. If you need directions, email Cynthia at cindyinsharon@gmail.com. If you can let us know if you think you'll attend, at that same email, it will help us plan. Thank you and we hope to see you."

This tribute was added by Winslow Lowe on 4th January 2016

"I had the privileged of practicing Nichiren Buddhism with Woody throughout the years. I was truly honored in sharing our quest together and to the best of our abilities to live life to the fullest without no regret. He was always ready and willing to speak at different venues from our small local meetings located between Falls Village and Middletown to larger gatherings at the UConn campus.

I appreciated his insights, friendship and goodwill not only as practicing Buddhists but also as good friends. One of my cherished memories was him and Cynthia inviting Linda and I to one of his singing performances. He was so excited participating in the play. It was a joy to see his huge smiling face.

I will forever appreciate Woody's friendship and our time together creating value in our lives through practicing the law of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo."

This tribute was added by Sara Woodbury on 4th January 2016

"I met Woody when he accompanied Kirsten Jensen on a research trip to New Mexico, and those two days were some of the most fun I've had as a curator. Driving around the winding hills of the Hondo in search of forgotten paintings, listening to him banter with artist Peter Rogers over a bottle of port, learning about his experiences as a writer, it all made for a wonderful adventure. He was a genuinely warm soul, and his passion for life, his work, and exploring new places was infectious. Though I only got to talk with him for two brief days, I'll always be grateful for the time that I was able to spend with him."

This tribute was added by Kirsten Jensen on 3rd January 2016

"Woody was always a charmer. When I said good-bye to him in the pre-op, he was obviously nervous, but he was still able to flirt with the nurses and chat up the doctors. He asked everyone their full names, what their job during the operation would be, who would be wielding the saw....he was most specific about the saw, and even made gruesome sound effects. You had to laugh. I mean, what else could you do? I spent an anxious four hours in the waiting room with a lot of other people in the same predicament, all in our own little worlds, doing our own little useless things to keep ourselves distracted as best we could.

When I was finally allowed into the NICU recovery room, I walked past other patients, all completely blank, suffering. I had no idea what to expect. But then, when I came to Woody's "room," there he was, flirting with the nurses, chatting them up as best he could. They asked him what kind of painkiller he wanted, and in true form, he started singing Jolie Holland's "Old Fashioned Morphine." There's one line in the song that goes, "It was good enough for Billy Burroughs, it is good enough for me," and Woody sang that flawlessly. The nurses, wanting to check his neural systems, asked him who Burroughs was. Boy, were they in for it. Just barely out of anesthesia, Woody gave them a fairly good synopsis on Burroughs and his significance to 20th century literature. That was Woody, erudite even in the face of life-threatening diseases. What a gift. What a man."

This tribute was added by Hank Bjorklund on 3rd January 2016

"When I was in the seventh grade, in the month of April my family moved from Hicksville to Glen Head.  I remember my first day at North Shore Junior High School.  I knew no one, but I ventured to the play ground after lunch and was able to get into a baseball game.  While I was waiting for my first at-bat, I noticed this kid with freckles and red hair leaning against the fence studying me intently.  I didn't sense hostility in his gaze, just piercing curiosity.  Something told me that if I could impress this kid, I would probably be all right in this new school.  Fortunately, I cleaned the bases with a shot over the chain-link fence.  I had the redhead's respect after that.  

Woody turned out to be a great teammate in football, baseball, and basketball.  He also was one of the smartest kids in the Class of 1968 at North Shore High School.

During my senior year at Princeton, our football team played Colgate at Princeton.  In the field scrum after the game, Woody came running across the field from the Colgate side to greet me, his shoulder-length red hair bouncing as he ran.  He came up to me and gave me a big bear hug.  My father was apparently watching all of this from the Princeton side of the stands and announced to everybody, "Well, that must be Hank's new girlfriend", mistaking Woody in the distance for Victoria.  We had many a laugh about that encounter over the years.

Then when I was practicing law in NYC in the 1980s, I went for a lunchtime run around the reservoir in Central Park.  Who should I run into--literally--but Woody.  We stopped and caught up for an hour.  I was late getting back to work but it didn't matter.

We always caught up at special occasions over the years, including two basketball reunions Victoria and I hosted in Manhasset and in Sea Cliff.  But I am so grateful that I got to spend extra time with him over these past two years.

Woody and Kirsten visited us in Sea Cliff one day before his illness was discovered.  He seemed so fit and happy and was obviously excited to be showing Kirsten the village where he grew up and that he loved so much.

Victoria and I were also thrilled to find him feeling so well when we visited Woody and Kirsten in Doylestown PA shortly after his first operation.  We had a lovely tour of Kirsten's exhibit at the Michener Museum and a fun lunch afterwards.  I am so grateful that I was also able to visit Woody in the hospital in Philadelphia just after his second surgery.  His humor and wit were on full display.  We all knew that the prognosis was not good but that did not stop Woody from cracking jokes.

Woody was a man of extraordinary curiosity, wit, and intelligence--a seeker who had no limits on his interests.  And, while I never had the privilege of meeting his daughter Kate, he talked about her frequently and his love for her was always evident.  

Woody, I am proud to have been your friend.  And honestly, the day you died, I could feel your presence as I looked over the waters of Hempstead Harbor and the Long Island Sound, that you knew so well."

This tribute was added by Meiko Chandler on 3rd January 2016

"The world will not be the same without you. I have so many great memories of the times that Linda, Winslow, you and I were chapter leaders for Northwest Corner District. We were pioneers for that area. You were an inspiration to us all. I will miss you Woody. I know that you are already on your way to continuing your mission in your next life and that you will once again be in our lives. Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo."

This tribute was added by John Touhey on 3rd January 2016

"Michael and I had the privilege of being in Woody's company only one time. I have always felt the measure of a person is their first response and Woody's warmth and humor was immediate. We looked forward to more times together but that won't happen for now."

This tribute was added by Helen Condzal Swartz on 2nd January 2016

"I met Woody during the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in college. I once stayed up with him all night drinking coffee in Constitution Square in Athens where I had run into him and Warren Cook. A few months ago I had a feeling that things weren't going well for him and I messaged Warren on Facebook who responded a few months later saying that Woody would love to hear from me.

It was on 11/13/15 that I received Warren's message when I had gotten into a cab from LaGuardia and headed to NYC. I first thought I'd call Woody once I arrived at my hotel but kept remembering the poem he'd write to me in his letters, 'Gather Ye rosebuds while ye may,' and called him right at that moment from the cab. We laughed quite a bit and shared memories going back to that summer and the Autumn that followed! I had to confess that I had shared his letters with some women in my dorm because we were in awe of his writing! He laughed and told me that he'd go to his dorm phone with a roll of dimes to call me! I'm so glad that I called him that day and so, so heavy hearted that he passed away. Through the passing years I had never forgotten him and know that for my remaining years I will remember that last conversation."

This tribute was added by Kirsten Jensen on 2nd January 2016

"Woody fixed our bikes and helped us ride them.
Woody liked to color with us.
He liked to take naps with us.
He read us great bedtime stories when we couldn't sleep.
He taught us how to play catch and bought us mitts.
He let us make big fires in the fireplace.
Woody liked hot dogs and we loved that he liked to eat at places where we could get them, too (Black Rabbit and MOMs).
He loved playing the Barbie game.
We will miss him, Finn (almost 8) and Freja (6 1/2)."

This tribute was added by Tom Cirina on 2nd January 2016

"Woody and I were childhood friends, we grew up in Sea Cliff and did all the small town things that kids will do. Little League, swimming and working at North Shore Country Club. I have so many great memories of Woody, who in my opinion was the smartest guy I knew. One of the last stories he told me was, when I went to visit him this past October I mentioned to him how the leaves seemed to be staying on the trees longer each year. Woody had a full explanation about this. I found his knowledge and humor to be so entertaining and useful. Woody was my best friend that I will miss a lot."

This tribute was added by Claudia DeSantis on 2nd January 2016

"Woody was my stepbrother. We never lived in the same household, since our parents married long after we became  adults.  Back when I was in boarding school and college, though, when his father and my mother were living together, and I caught the occasional glimpse of Woody,  I remember thinking of him as this exotic creature, enough older than me to be an adult when I was still a teenager. He was always doing something interesting and unusual.  Bicycle racing (or maybe it was fixing bicycles?) and hot-air ballooning bubble up through the mists of perhaps fallacious memory.  And then there was the Hair.  And his aura of style and (as I recall) languid grace, which led to some modeling work. When he started writing and working at the Times, I felt the tiniest little throw-off glow, though I really didn't deserve to, given our attenuated relationship. I didn't have much contact with Woody, in fact,  until I myself started writing in my late 20's.  He gave me one of my first assignments when he was at Harper's Bazaar.  I was transitioning from editing at a financial newspaper to freelance writing, and we cooked up a topic that had enough sizzle to sell, even coming from a tyro: "Five Glamorous, Fun Investments." Genius. Woody helped me get started, and although after a decade I again transitioned into teaching, I owe him a debt of gratitude that I did not get a chance to pay when he was alive."

This tribute was added by Kirsten Jensen on 2nd January 2016

"Woody and I did not see each other every day when we first met--we'd occasionally see each other at the pool, or at Irving Coffee in Millerton, New York. So music and music videos shared through email became the way we communicated our thoughts about each other, our day, or moments in our past. Woody made me a cd for Christmas 2013, and the first song on it just happened to be one of my all time favorites, David Bowie's Moonage Daydreams. My response was immediate and visceral: How could he know that was my favorite song? I knew I was in love with this man. We continued to share music throughout our two years together, there was always music playing in our house, our cars, and at Windy Ridge. What was so wonderful was that Woody was interested in listening to anything new, and sharing it--he loved the cds his daughter made him with stuff she'd picked up at Bard. Every time she made one, he'd eagerly pop it in the player and we'd wait to hear the new tunes and bands she'd discovered. Hair bands were a big part of my teenage years, and Woody, grudgingly, admitted to liking a few songs by Def Leppard and Bonjovi that I shared with him on mixes. And he reintroduced me to classical music--his knowledge of it was encyclopedic. But this was Woody in all things--always interested in what was new and in re-exploring what was in the past. It could be books, music, films, tv shows, you name it.

Woody made us jump into the air. The world will be less bright now that Woody is no longer in it, but it is definitely brighter for having known him. So Woody, my darling Big Red, here's a song for you, one more time:

I'm an alligator, I'm a mama-papa coming for you
I'm the space invader, I'll be a rock 'n' rollin' bitch for you
Keep your mouth shut, you're squawking like a pink monkey bird
And I'm busting up my brains for the words

Keep your 'lectric eye on me babe
Put your ray gun to my head
Press your space face close to mine, love
Freak out in a moonage daydream oh yeah

Don't fake it baby, lay the real thing on me
The church of man, love, is such a holy place to be
Make me baby, make me know you really care
Make me jump into the air

Keep your 'lectric eye on me babe
Put your ray gun to my head
Press your space face close to mine, love
Freak out in a moonage daydream oh yeah

Keep your 'lectric eye on me babe
Put your ray gun to my head
Press your space face close to mine, love
Freak out in a moonage daydream oh yeah

Keep your 'lectric eye on me babe
Put your ray gun to my head
Press your space face close to mine, love
Freak out in a moonage daydream oh yeah

Freak out, far out, in out"

This tribute was added by cynthia hochswender on 2nd January 2016

"So many people have asked how daughter Kate is coping. This very thoughtful piece she posted on her own website shows how maturely and how well she is doing. The hardest years will be in the future, thank you all again for posting on this page so she can read about her dad in years to come.
Kate Hochswender wrote:
One of the "good" things about a terminal illness is that there's a lot of time to prepare for saying goodbye.
Everyday he had visitors from friends and loved ones.
When he passed he was being held by me, my mother, and his girlfriend all telling him how much we loved him.
I have no regrets about that.
And for Woody's sake, he had a very beautiful and creative quick mind, full of knowledge. To be deprived of his ability to think and speak was not right. He was very willfull and independent. To be deprived of his ability to move and eat and survive on his own was not a good way for him to keep on living. I am happy he passed when he did because I don't think he should've had to suffer through that any longer than he did.
He lived a VERY full life. Full of adventures and good times and happy memories and passion and dreams. He lived more in his lifetime than many people do their whole life even if it was longer than his. I don't feel that he missed anything that life had to offer. I think he saw and lived it all.
That's all any person can hope for. So let's celebrate a good life and not feel too sad about the way it ended. The grief is in that the world has lost a true individual; there will never be another person like Woody and there are no others like him. I think many of us will feel that loss deeply in our lives. But since he was ill and he was suffering, it is better that he is at peace now, playing with Lola and feeding the birds in the afterlife."

This tribute was added by Nancy Butkus on 2nd January 2016

"Woody was my first serious boyfriend. We met at Colgate in 1971 but most importantly, he introduced me to New York City. He helped define those early years in New York. He taught me to always bring a book on the subway, showed me how to deal with cockroaches (place all dirty dishes in the frig), how to roll a joint, and lots of great reading, a red-headed sexy tutor. This included a pilgrimage to Kauia where we shacked up with Fred Exley, one of his favorite writers. I always admired Woodys own flawless writing. He will always loom large in my memory and I am grateful to have had him in my life."

This tribute was added by Ellen Breslow Newhouse on 1st January 2016

"How sad i was to wake up this morning, the first day of the new year, to discover Woody's passing. We worked together at Harper's Bazaar in the '80s, but lost touch until he reached out to me out of the blue about three years ago. We had a lovely lunch together at the (old) Conde Nast cafeteria, where we laughed about old times, caught up with current events and were constantly interrupted by Conde Nast editors who recognized and stopped by to say hi to Woody. He spoke sadly of the break up of his marriage and glowingly of his daughter Kate. As we all know, Woody was smart, funny, a deep-thinker and he contributed much to many in his lifetime. He'll be missed."

This tribute was added by Claudia Payne on 31st December 2015

"it was a privilege to work with him at The New York Times, where he unfailingly wrote keen but kind reviews, columns and features.

Woody was a visionary: in a year-end Patterns column devoted to predictions, he wrote that in the future we would all belong to tribes.

At the time, it seemed a bit mysterious, but in the years that followed, the marketplace did, indeed, become tribal in so very many ways.

Condolences to his family and close friends.  Claudia Payne"

This tribute was added by Joanna Torrey on 31st December 2015

"While Copy Chief at Avon Books Woody took me on as a copywriter.  I was working as a temp in the art department and approached him, asking for freelance work.  He put me through my paces.  Book after book, revision after revision.  Eventually he hired me.  I remember sitting on the other side of his desk where he hunched over his Selectric, banging out copy, stopping to read a line out loud with theatrical gusto.  He was obsessed with writing the perfect copy for the novel Birdy by William Wharton, which he loved.  He would rewrite the copy and read it again.  And again.  Sometimes he took my suggestions. One day he called me into his office and with great lack of fanfare announced that he was leaving and that he would recommend that I take over as copy chief.  His matter of fact confidence forced my hand and I applied for the job, feeling wholly inadequate to replace him.  Woody taught me a seat of the pants creativity, the importance of endless rewrites, a work ethic that said every piece of work counted. He was an inspiration for a new writer in search herself.  I am so sorry for his passing."

This tribute was added by Mitch Owens on 31st December 2015

"Godspeed to a writer and editor I greatly admired and whose precision with words filled me with awe ... and my condolences to his family and loved ones."

This tribute was added by Wendy Silverstein on 31st December 2015

"Woody, you are in my thoughts.  Rest in peace.  Much love.  Wendy"

This tribute was added by Andrew Cort on 31st December 2015

"Sad loss to end the year. I hadn't seen Woody for many years, and then we reacquainted a couple of years ago when I moved to Woodstock which he visited with some frequency. Wonderful character, wonderful writer, wonderful guy."

This tribute was added by marc black on 31st December 2015

"My inspiring friend, Woody, was in and around my life for many decades. I've loved knowing him.  Thank you, for helping me believe that more is possible.  For trekking through the forest looking for jewels... and finding them.  For reminding me to keep my eyes on the light.  You are a treasure.  And now I say to you, dear friend...  keep your eyes on the light."

This tribute was added by Gary Jacobs on 31st December 2015

"Woody was a man of the Earth in both body and soul.  He always looked part of nature when out and always strove for an ethereal understanding of the mind when meditating.  His presence will be forever felt on our little corner of the world."

This tribute was added by Amy Reiss on 31st December 2015

"Woody added character, cool and a 60's flare to our neighborhood. Whether mowing, biking or just passing by in his Duck truck, Woody was present on Windy Ridge Road. He'll be missed, and always remembered."

This tribute was added by Spencer Reiss on 31st December 2015

"be the Buddha in his rearview mirror...



This tribute was added by cynthia hochswender on 31st December 2015

"From Peter Rothfarb:
Many of us knew Woody well. He moved to Connecticut from New York City where he had worked in jobs as diverse as a bicycle shop mechanic and men's fashion editor of the New York Times and Esquire magazine.  In CT he continued as a free-lance author, participant in his local Gilbert and Sullivan Operetta Society and sang in the CT SGI Chorus.

He was a devoted sgi member and disciple of President Ikeda. Of his many wonderful contributions, perhaps the best known to those in the Buddhist community was his book "The Buddha in your Mirror" which sold hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide , was translated into several languages and for many was their first, and highly positive exposure to Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism. Perhaps typical of this response was a review left by one reader at Amazon.com.

I didn't know that Buddhism was common sense!
By A Customer on June 13, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Till I took a look at this work, I had always thought Buddhism was something exotic. Of course, it's been in the
news lately,but still I figured it had no relation to me. Now I've read this book and it sort of crystallizes how I've always viewed life--or at least how I always thought it should be. And this book gives me a way to put these great ideas into practice. I'm highly impressed and will share this book with my many skeptical friends.

Woody struck a balance between being a deep thinker and a keen observer of everyday life and its humor. He had a Mark
Twain-like quality in sharing his observations with his own unique take on them. After The Buddha in Your Mirror was first published, Woody used to say "Buy this book and make us both happy."

He was a beloved friend and a wonderful example of the richness, brilliance and enjoyment that a fellow human being can
bring to our experience of life."

This tribute was added by cynthia hochswender on 31st December 2015

"Buffalo Bill 's
Buffalo Bill ’s
               who used to
               ride a watersmooth-silver
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat

he was a handsome man
                                                  and what i want to know is
how do you like your blue-eyed boy
Mister Death"

This tribute was added by cynthia hochswender on 31st December 2015

"William Joseph ‘Woody’ Hochswender

SHARON — William Joseph Hochswender III, known to everyone as Woody, died Dec. 31, 2015, at his home in Sharon. He was 64.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on June 20, 1951, he was the son of the late Roslyn (McCarthy) and William Joseph Hochswender II. The family moved to Sea Cliff on Long Island when he was a boy and he attended Sea Cliff schools and North Shore High School, where he earned many academic and athletic honors.
Woody attended Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y., and was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. It was an all-male school at that time; he also attended the all-women’s Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., as an exchange student for one semester.
After graduation, he had a number of odd and colorful jobs. He liked to tell stories about working at UPS and about selling yo-yos on the steps of Lincoln Center. At one point he ran the bicycle rental concession in Central Park. He was a model for a while, and was in magazine photo shoots and runway fashion shows, hired by the woman who would be one of the biggest professional influences in his life, Kezia Keeble.
Kezia introduced Woody to Nicheren buddhism, a practice to which he remained faithful for the rest of his life; and she encouraged him to follow his dream of becoming a professional writer and working in the publishing industry.
It was his buddhist chanting and Kezia’s mentoring that led him to his first job as a book jacket copy writer for Avon Books, which was owned by the Hearst Corporation. For most of his career, Woody worked for Hearst, first at Avon, then at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner (where he worked for the legendary editor Jim Bellows) and then at Harper’s Bazaar, where he was a features editor.
Thanks in part to his training as a book jacket editor, Woody became a master at writing pithy, witty sentences. In his writing, he never wasted words.
He was also a particularly fine editor who could gracefully and skillfully reshape his writers’ words (although only when necessary). He was also exceptionally compassionate toward and considerate of his writers.
He was hired away from Bazaar to become a fashion reporter for The New York Times. In addition to traveling to Paris, London, Milan and other major cities in Europe, Asia and the United States to cover runway shows, he wrote a weekly column for The Times called Patterns, which covered the business of Seventh Avenue (as the fashion industry is known).  
As a New York Times fashion journalist, he was courted by the wealthy, the powerful and the beautiful, but he always remained true to who he was.  In part because of this, there was an honesty, simplicity and purity to his writing that made his work exceptional.
Throughout his career, many editors tried to hire him away; eventually he left The Times to join his friend Terry McDonnell at Esquire (another Hearst publication). In addition to writing about menswear and men's style, and editing a special publication called Esquire Gentleman, he wrote a column for Esquire’s sister publication, Harper’s Bazaar, called Pins and Needles. He remained at Esquire after Terry left, working under another legendary editor, Ed Kosner. When Kosner left, Woody left, too.
Around that time, his father was badly injured in a boating accident at his summer home on Block Island, R.I.  While his two broken legs were being treated, it was discovered that Bill also had a cancer that had spread throughout most of his body. Woody was living part-time in Sharon at that time; his father also had a Sharon residence. Woody nursed his father through his illness and wrote from home until his father’s death.
Woody meanwhile had discovered that he liked working from home and that in many ways it was easier to write when he could spend part of the day puttering around the house and playing with his golden retriever, Lola, before sitting down to type. He loved the Northwest Corner’s country roads and expansive views, and the many lakes and ponds. He loved to swim and even though he always preferred the ocean beaches from his Long Island youth, he was always happy to be swimming outdoors at Mudge Pond and indoors at The Hotchkiss School.
While living in Sharon, he was a freelance writer for many publications, including The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and Sports Illustrated’s Golf magazine.
He wrote two books on Nichiren buddhism: “The Buddha in Your Mirror” and “The Buddha in Your Rearview Mirror.” At the time of his death, he was working on a book about buddhism for teens.
While he was working at home, he was able to spend time after school every day with his beloved daughter, Kate. From time to time he would work as a substitute teacher in Region One schools, which he enjoyed because it allowed him to sometimes spend the day at Sharon Center School with Kate; he also taught for a year at the private Salisbury School.
In February 2015, he was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in the right frontal lobe of his brain. It was removed successfully, and he spent the remainder of the year traveling across the country with his girlfriend, Kirsten Jensen.
Woody is survived by his daughter, Katharine Hochswender of Lakeville; his former wife, Cynthia Hochswender of Lakeville; his sister, Pat Leri, and her husband, Ron, of Hunter, N.Y.; his niece, Alessandra Leri of New York City and her husband, Louis-Pierre Arguin, and their daughter, Mariette Leri Arguin; his nephew, Matthew Leri of Salt Lake City, Utah, and his wife, Julie; his girlfriend, Kirsten Jensen of Doylestown, Pa.; and countless loyal friends, many of whom he had known for decades.
Burial will be private. A memorial service will be held at a later date.
Memorial donations may be made to the Nichiren buddhist organization SGI-USA (www.sgi-usa.org/.../contributions); the Salisbury Visiting Nurse Association; and the Sharon Fire Department Ambulance Squad.
The family would like to thank Woody’s caregiver, Joseph Adjetey, from Companions and Homemakers in Litchfield; Janet Carlson of the One Eleven Group; Donna DiMartino of Salisbury Visiting Nurse Association’s Hospice; and Karin Wexler for her massage and reiki; they were truly Woody’s bodhisattvas in the last days of his life.
Arrangements are under the care of the Kenny Funeral Home in Sharon. We loved him and will miss him."

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