Isaac Hockenhull became famous as Mahalia Jackson’s husband. Let’s learn more about his life in this article.


Isaac Lane “Gray” Hockenhull, a man whose life was marked by love and personal challenges, was born into a world of humble beginnings. Raised by John Gray and Martha Ella Gray, young Isaac had a complex family dynamic, with his biological father being Robert Hockenhull. Isaac’s life took a remarkable turn when he crossed paths with the legendary gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, ultimately leading to a union defining his early adulthood.


Isaac Hockenhull’s professional journey was a tale of unexpected twists and turns. Trained as a chemist, he found himself navigating the turbulent waters of the 1930s Depression. Times were tough, and Isaac had to take on a seemingly mundane job as a postman to make ends meet. However, fate had a different plan in store for him.

Isaac’s life took a dramatic turn during his tenure as a postman in 1935. He encountered the influential gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. Their meeting sparked a connection that transcended their different worlds. In just a year, their relationship blossomed into a profound love, and the couple decided to tie the knot in the vibrant city of Chicago in 1936.


The marriage of Isaac Hockenhull and Mahalia Jackson was a union of two talented and ambitious individuals. Mahalia was deeply impressed by Isaac’s character and determination, and their marriage was a testament to their love for each other. However, the early years of their marriage were marked by financial struggles.

Isaac’s mother, Martha, contributed to their financial journey by providing the newlyweds with a treasure trove of 200 formulas for hair and skin care products she had developed. The couple attempted to market these products, but success eluded them. The weight of their financial difficulties led Isaac to make a pivotal decision – he encouraged Mahalia to pursue her singing career.

Net Worth

Isaac Hockenhull’s net worth is a topic of historical speculation. His early career as a chemist postman and later as an American Car & Foundry Company employee provided him with modest means. However, his financial troubles due to gambling and subsequent divorce from Mahalia Jackson likely significantly impacted his net worth.

In contrast, Mahalia Jackson’s career continued to soar, leading to substantial financial success. Her investments in real estate and her beauty salon contributed to her wealth. The divorce settlement and subsequent separation of their finances further affected Isaac’s financial standing. As a result, the exact details of Isaac Hockenhull’s net worth remain a matter of historical curiosity.

Isaac’s life took a bad turn despite their common goals. He had a gambling problem that caused him to make poor financial decisions and put a burden on his marriage. While Mahalia was on tour, he used her assets as collateral for his obligations and bought a racehorse with the funds. They got a divorce in 1943 on good terms, which was good for both of them.