Philip Charles Hoffmann III was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, on January 11, 1932. He passed away on August 9, 2017, at the age of 85, in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. He’s survived by my mom, his wife of 60 years, as well as me and my brother, Chuck; three grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter he never had the opportunity to meet.
Dad attended George Washington High School in Alexandria, Virginia, and then joined the Air Force, serving in Korea, before returning home to work at Household Finance, where he met my mother. They were married in 1957 at Trinity United Methodist Church in Alexandria, the same church where, 27 years later, my husband and I were married.
I’ve made no secret of the difficult relationship I had with my father. The reasons are varied and complex, and I won’t go into them here, but I credit him with teaching me a love for language and words. He had me reading the newspaper at age 4. He wrote poetry and was a voracious reader of novels, going through a dozen paperback books per month, many of which I picked up and read, as well. In his younger years, he was a life-of-the-party type of person, doing stand-up in my grandparents’ living room. I can still hear my grandmother saying, “Phil, you should be on Carson!”
Dad had a lifetime of health problems. He was plagued by epileptic seizures throughout his life, suffered damaged hearing from multiple ear infections as a kid, and in later years dealt with skin cancer, intestinal issues, and several strokes. More than once over the course of the last decade, we thought he was near the end, but he always rallied, and I had begun to think he would outlive us all.
Yesterday afternoon, he decided it was time to go. He passed away peacefully, with my mother at his side.