One of my favorite all time war stories from my dad:
To be left alone in the dark, with shrapnel wounds in both legs and back, shells exploding everywhere around us and with no way of knowing how badly I had been wounded is, to put it mildly, remarkably stressful. Once again, I tried to crawl into my helmet. Someone wrote once, “There are no atheists in the foxholes”. I think he was right for I distinctively remember asking God for help. Where he was involved or not, I don’t know, but I can testify that I didn’t die that day as I clearly thought I would.”
Memoirs of Roger A. Hoffman, 1924-2004+ —Roger Hoffman, 2002.
My dad was an avid naturalist, though not by trade. He purchased some land in Madison County, near Madison, because it had immense potential. Not only for a great deer population, but a small but hearty hillside of timber. I helped my dad one summer to build a pole barn at the bottom of the property for wood etc. My dad had felled many trees that day, and our mission was to drag them from the hillside down below. My dad completed his pole barn. This is in his memoirs also, dad built a small pond on the property. He went fishing in June, and caught five or so stocked brown and rainbow trout. He had prepared a live container for the fish, complete with an oxygen feed from a cigarette lighter he had built. He says in his memoirs: I suspect this can’t be legal (paraphrasing R. Hoffman Jr.) ! He repeated this trip four days in a row, he had an ample supply of trout. He fished it later on afterr they had become established, and caught good size trout every time! One day, he went and caught a bluegill. Then he caught a perch. No trout. He suspected that neighboring farm kids had placed the vermon fish in his pond. A couple months later he sold the property but used all of the pole barn timber construction for the back deck of his house, which could easily sit 16 people!
Brilliant, simply brilliant.
HAMILTON – Dr. Roger A. Hoffman, Biology professor emeritus at Colgate University from 1965 to 1990, passed away on the afternoon of May 11 at his home in Hamilton, NY. He was 93 years old.
He is survived by his daughters, Christine E. Hoffman, of Sherburne, NY, and Patricia A. Hoffman, of Sherrill, NY; his son, Roger Alan Hoffman, Jr., and his wife, Michelle, of Roanoke, VA; his granddaughter, Erin Zielinski, of San Francisco, CA; and numerous nieces and nephews in Hampton, CT. He was predeceased by his wife, Jeanette, who died in November 2016, and by his brother, Donald, from Hampton, CT.
Roger was born in Hampton, CT, the son of Vera and Albert Hoffman, and he was the only one in his family to go to college, earning a B.S. from the University of Connecticut-Storrs, and Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He was one of the first scientific research professors at Colgate University, bringing in significant grant funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. He was a much beloved professor and maintained strong enduring ties with many of his students and lab technicians throughout the years since his retirement.
Before college, Roger enlisted in the U.S. Army in June 1943 and served as a Private First Class with Company A, 38th Infantry Regiment, during World War II. He was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes region of Belgium and honorably discharged in November 1945.
After returning to Connecticut from the war, he married Elizabeth Pawlikowski; they were divorced in 1968. Following ten years of bachelorhood, while on sabbatical from Colgate and serving as a Rotating Program Director of Regulatory Biology at the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C., he met Jeanette Ruth, an Associate Program Director in the same department. They were married in 1979 and moved back to Hamilton that same year. Their 37-year marriage was comprised of travel and adventure, fun and laughter, close friends, and an enduring deep companionship that overcame all of life’s travails.
Roger was a true Renaissance man – a connoisseur of wine and Scotch, an excellent and adventurous gourmet cook, a bread baker extraordinaire, and a self-taught designer and crafter of fine furniture in his three-room basement workshop. He had a wide-ranging intellectual curiosity and read voraciously. He deeply appreciated the arts and creativity in all its forms, and his love of nature and animals – hamsters, in particular – was boundless. His passing leaves a profoundly-felt void.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Burgess & Tedesco Funeral Home. Calling hours will be held on Friday, May 26, from 1-3 p.m. at 25 Broad Street, Hamilton, NY, with burial following immediately at the Colgate University Cemetery, where he will be laid to rest next to Jeanette.”
Published in The Observer-Dispatch from May 14 to May 18, 2017– See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/uticaod/obituary.aspx?n=roger-alan-hoffman&pid=185388963&fhid=22225#sthash.vapZMY54.dpuf
The following obituary was written by Christina Hoffman.