Ike was born the son of Leo K. and Marie G. Harris Bocko in Mishawaka, April 17, 1923. He attended Saint Michael’s School in Plymouth as a child. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1941. On Sept. 26, 1942, he married Betty Jane Petty at Camp Edwards, Falmouth, Mass. After being hospitalized for spinal meningitis, and being given just one year to live, he was honorably discharged on Oct. 2, 1943. After his recovery he and Betty moved to the Plymouth area.
With the help of his step-father, Mike (William Walter) Williamson, he was hired as a Bourbon Police Officer. He, Betty and their two oldest children, and then moved to their current home in Bourbon — where they have been residents since. He currently was the oldest living World War II member of the Bourbon American Legion Post #424. Leo then took a night supervisor’s job at Heat Treet, Inc. in South Bend, where he worked until retirement. He later worked at his daughter’s restaurant, The Red Door in Bourbon. “Ike” as he was called, was known for his love of building and racing cars. He built his famous “Purple People Eater” midget dragster, where he was top eliminator many times at Bunkerhill Drag Strip. He brought home many impressive trophies and was labeled “The Man to Beat” at the drag strip. He also raced for a time at Warsaw Speedway. Ike owned and exhibited antique gas engines for many years and was a member of the Tri-State Gas Engine and Tractor Association. He loved pulling his engines in area parades. He will be greatly missed by all.
He is survived by his wife of 72 years; daughters: Jane (The late Jesse) Hartung, Plymouth; Linda (Mrs. Sherman) Stevens, Bourbon; Patricia (Mrs. Richard) McGriff, Waurika, Okla.; Carol Ann (Mrs. Gary) Buday, Stigler, Okla.;, sons: Mike (Donna) Bocko, Bourbon; James (Christina) Bocko, Wyatt; Robert (Krista) Bocko, Noblesville; 14 grandsons; 17 granddaughters; 34 great-grandchildren; and nine great-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by and infant son; son-in-law: Jesse Hartung; and a brother: Donald G. Bocko.
Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 29, at Deaton-Clemens Funeral Home, 115 S. Main St., Bourbon. Funeral services will follow on at 1 p.m. in the funeral home with Pastor Bonnie Shoaf officiating. Military honors will be conducted by the Bourbon American Legion at the conclusion of the funeral services at the funeral home.