Allen Eugene GocioLancaster, CA, 1920 - 2018 0comment
Allen Eugene Gocio, longtime resident of Lancaster, California, died Wednesday, May 2, 2018, at St. John of God Retirement Center, Los Angeles, California. The son of the late Charles Louis Gocio and Hazel McCarty Gocio Estes, he was born in a log cabin on April 15, 1920, on the Starr Ranch near Stillwell, Oklahoma, which was owned by his grandfather, Benjamin Louis Gocio. His father's French ancestors, who originally spelled their name Gocieaux, were early pioneers and landholders in Illinois and Arkansas Post from ca. 1725.
In 1924, the family purchased the Massey Hotel in Bentonville, Arkansas, and moved there from the countryside so that the three children could attend public school. Allen graduated from Bentonville High School and attended the University of Arkansas for two years. In 1940, he moved to Los Angeles with his mother, Hazel, where he attended USC. He joined the Navy in 1942 and was sent to flight school. He served with distinction as a fighter and bomber pilot, based on the aircraft carrier USS Lexington in the South Pacific. He was a decorated war veteran. He flew Grumman Hellcat Fighters and Douglas Dauntless Dive Bombers in raids against Japanese forces, and he flew with George H.W. Bush. After the USS Lexington was bombed in the Coral Sea, Allen was then assigned to the USS Bunker Hill and saw action in the Southwest and Central Pacific. His younger brother Charles Gocio, and brother-in-law, John Rigsby served in the Pacific Theatre at the same time. Allen remained in the Navy Reserve and retired at the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He flew various aircraft for the rest of his life.
After WWII he obtained his real-estate license and worked in Los Angeles and Lancaster, opening his own business in his beloved Antelope Valley. While in Los Angeles, he dated many famous movie stars and dabbled in the film industry. He attended parties at Hearst Castle, swam in the indoor pool, and coached actor Van Johnson on how to look like he was flying a plane for WWII movies. He was a registered horse trainer and ran horses at Santa Anita, Hollywood, Los Alamitos, and Del Mar. He took Royal Orbit, owned by Halina Braunstein, to the Kentucky Derby, where the horse finished fourth on May 2, 1959. Royal Spectrum, sired by Royal Orbit, was trained and owned by Allen and ran at Santa Anita.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Charles L. Gocio, 2001, and sister, Lucille Gocio Rigsby, 2009. He is survived by his brother, Charles' wife, Bettye Currier Gocio of Bentonville, Arkansas; two nieces, Dr. Barbara Frank, of White Post, Virginia, and Missy Gocio, of Fayetteville, Arkansas; and three nephews, Dr. John Gocio (Susan) and Dr. Allan Gocio (Danette)of Little Rock, Arkansas, and Charles Rigsby, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; four great nieces, Laura Newbern, Laura Gocio, Kelsey Gocio, Suzanne Harris; three great nephews, Charlie Gocio, Coleman Gocio, Daniel Harris (Amanda); and very dear friends, Halina Braunstein, George and Laura Braunstein, Margo Lane, Phoebe Duff, Rod Mimbs, and Dr. Debra Olsen.
Graveside service will be on Friday, May 11, 2018 at 2 p.m. at Eternal Valley Memorial Park, 23287 North Sierra Highway, New Hall, California. www.ruebelfuneralhome.com.
Published May 9, 2018
OBITUARY SUBMITTED BY:
Ruebel Funeral Home
6313 West Markham Street, Little Rock