John J. Hoffman passed away September 19, 2020 at the Michael J. Fitzmaurice State Veterans Home in Hot Springs, SD, surrounded by family, after battling Alzheimer’s disease. He was 83.
John was born to Ludvigs and Vilma Hofmanis in Riga, Latvia, on June 24, 1937, and named Janis Juris Hofmanis. Tensions in Latvia following WWII forced the family to flee the country when John was 7. They eventually settled in a displaced persons camp in Germany for 5 years before the Lutheran church sponsored the family immigrating to northwest South Dakota to the Claud L. Cray Ranch near Slim Buttes. He was proud to become a naturalized citizen of the United States on September 5, 1957, and he soon after joined the U.S. Air Force, where he served for four years mostly in Amarillo, TX, and London, England, where he played football for the USAF London Rockets.
After leaving the USAF, John worked to build a successful career in the grocery store industry, filling store manager and supervisory roles at stores throughout Wisconsin and Nebraska. He married Nancy Paull on November 30, 1974. Together they raised six children. John and Nancy went on to fulfill their dream of being self-employed by purchasing Pike Haven Resort with Nancy’s parents Gene and Alice Paull in 1982. John was a true outdoorsman, and he shared his love of hunting and fishing with his family, friends, and the thousands of people who would visit Pike Haven every year. He was well respected by friends and neighbors, and his high opinion was always sought by his children and valued by friends. He was a good husband, a good father, and a good man.
In 2006, after 24 years of working long hours as resort owners, John and Nancy retired to western South Dakota, to be near some family. They have spent the last several years living in a cabin overlooking Lake Angostura, enjoying the quiet of country life together, appreciating regular visits from family and friends, and celebrating the beauty of the lake, the buttes, and their wildlife visitors.
John is survived by his wife, Nancy Kay Hoffman, Hot Springs, SD; mother-in-law Alice Paull, Rapid City, SD; sister Ilse (John Riley) Hoffman, Denver, CO; brother-in-law Richard (Dianne) Paull, Piedmont, SD; and cousin Mara (Andy – dec.) Riteris, Whitefish Bay, WI. John and Nancy have six children: John T. (Teresa) Hoffman, Pierre, SD; Sandra (Marlin Ellington) Hoffman, St. Joseph, MO, Suzanne (Lawrence) Vogel, Aberdeen, SD; Catherine (Monte) Leiferman, Chamberlain, SD; Kimberly (Michael) Albertson, Rapid City, SD; and Scott (Danita) Hoffman, Aberdeen, SD. Grandchildren include: LaShana Leiferman Muller, Kaleb Farley, Katie Vogel Blocker, Skyler Leiferman, Kara Farley, Ashton Hoffman, Abigail Vogel, Megan Albertson Carreiro, Kylee Hoffman, Layton Hoffman, and Jason Albertson. Great-grandchildren include: Caroline and Savannah Muller, Aidan Haas, Skaists Hollar. Great niece: Violet Paull. He was preceded in death by his parents Ludvigs and Vilma Hofmanis, his father-in-law Eugene Paull, and his cousin and great friend Andy Riteris.
John was strong and stubborn and loyal to a fault. If he loved you, he loved you whole heartedly and would mercilessly tease you. We will miss his humor, his quick playful wit, his chuckling laugh, and his mischievous smiles, and we will hold his great love for us forever in our hearts.
John will be laid to rest at the Black Hills National Cemetery with military honors. Kirk Funeral Home, Rapid City, is handling the arrangements. In lieu of flowers, tributes can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, or cards can be sent to Nancy Hoffman at 28373 Angostura Rd., Hot Springs, SD 57747.
2 Timothy 4:7-8: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the LORD, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”