Tag Archives: Hoffmann

Sentimental Sunday -Grandma Hoffmann

Grandma Velma Marie (Swing) Hoffmann died nine years ago today at the age of ninety. Even after nearly a decade, she continues to play a role in the lives of those of us who knew her, sometimes quite literally, as on one Thanksgiving when, reaching to pull rolls out of the oven in preparation for sitting down at the dining room table spread with her dishes, I could inexplicably detect her scent.

One of Grandma’s books I inherited was her copy of the 1928 pioneer novel A Lantern in Her Hand. I can’t count the number of times I read this book while growing up (and afterward) but I remember most clearly seeing Grandma’s old copy sitting on the end table in the living room. This book and the story of Abbie Deal became entwined through the years with my thoughts about Grandma, but it was actually Abbie’s husband Will Deal who, before his untimely death, had told his wife that if he were to be taken from her, he would “go on with her, remembering…”


Beloved mother and grandmother, Velma M. Hoffmann was born Feb. 19, 1917, at Francesville, Ind. She died July 3, 2007, at Boise.

Velma was the daughter of Albert Carl and Lena (Hunkler) Swing, the second of three children. At the age of 2, she and her family moved to Elmwood, Ill., to live on her grandparents’ farm, then later moved to a farm south of the town of Wing, Ill., and then to a house in Wing. In the mid-1930s, Velma and her family moved to Forrest, Ill., where Velma attended high school. She graduated from Forrest Township High School as valedictorian of her senior class in 1933, at the age of 16. It was about this time that Velma met her future husband, Joseph Hoffmann of Fairbury, Ill., at a family gathering.

In February, 1934, Velma began working at the Corn Hog Assn. in Peoria, Ill., and in 1935, took her first trip to Idaho, along with her brother, future husband and several friends, all in a Model A Ford.

She married Joseph Hoffmann on March 12, 1938, at Peoria. She continued working for the Corn Hog Assn., then later worked at the Rock Island Arsenal where she was employed until 1940 when she and Joe moved to Idaho. They first lived in an 18-foot trailer parked below Canyon Hill, then moved to Boise where she worked for the Selective Service. In May 1942, they moved to Portland, Ore., where Joe worked in the shipyards as a welder. Their first daughter, Linda, was born in Portland. They returned to Idaho in 1943, first to a farm in Kuna and then to a farm outside Caldwell. At this time, their son Jay was born. In 1947, they moved into a house on Canyon Hill in Caldwell and while living here, Velma’s third and fourth children, daughters, Paula and Carla were born.

Velma assisted her husband in his business, Hoffman Sheet Metal, until Joe’s death in 1983. She was active in PTA in the Caldwell School District while her children were attending school there. Velma’s primary occupation was mother and homemaker, which were to her the most important and valuable jobs any person could have. The most important thing in her life was her family and her happiest times were when all her family joined together for holidays and special occasions. She was always a lover of children and of animals and in particular cherished the companionship of her last loving pet, a Siamese cat named Sam.

She was a member of the Grace Lutheran Church in Caldwell and greatly valued her membership in the church choir there.

She is survived by three daughters and their husbands, Linda and Ted Montgomery of Caldwell, Paula and Jim Johnson of Boise and Carla and Bill Oestreich of Eagle; a daughter-in-law, Nancy Hoffmann of Caldwell; four grandchildren, Matt Montgomery and wife Cheryl of Palmyra, VA, Mike Hoffmann and wife Erika of Redondo Beach, CA, Megan Montgomery of Waynesboro, VA and Cindy (Hoffmann) Crabtree and husband Aaron of Eagle and three great-grandchildren, Will, Leo and Owen Crabtree of Eagle.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Joe, her son, Jay, a brother and a sister.
The family would like to express their appreciation to the staff at Alterra and Ashley Manor for their kindness and their care. They would like to thank the members of St. Luke’s Hospice for all their support. In addition, they appreciate beyond measure, the continuing visits and ministries of Pastor Philip Bohlken of Grace Lutheran Church. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, July 9, at Grace Lutheran Church, 2700 S. Kimball, Caldwell. Friends may call Sunday from 1-4 p.m. at Flahiff Funeral Chapel, Caldwell.

Perhaps the most fitting words to describe Velma and her life are those of the Roman philosopher, Marcus Aurelius: “To live happily is an inward power of the soul.”

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Sunday’s Obituary – A Grandma by Any Other Name

Lena and Albert Swing

Lena and Albert Swing

Last night Mom and I were discussing family names, and how when she was a child she was grateful that she hadn’t been named after either of her grandmothers because she found their names very old-fashioned.

Lena Agnes Hunkler was born 22 December 1892 in Washington, Illinois (hit by the recent devastating tornado). At 20 years of age she married Albert Carl Swing, and they had three children. After living mainly in Illinois and Indiana, they eventually moved to Texas for Lena’s health. Lena died in Harlingen, Texas, on 13 June 1964 and was buried in Restlawn Cemetery in LaFeria. Apparently this newspaper needed to hire a new editor.

Mrs. Lena Swing

Forrest (PNS)–Mrs. Lena Swing, 71, died at 5 a.m. Saturday in Harlingen, Tex.

The Cox Funeral Home is in charge of services, which will be at 2 p.m. Monday in Harlingen. She was the former Lena Hunkler, and was born Dec. 22, 1892, in Washington, Ill. She married Albert Swing June 18, 1913, in Washington. Surviving are her husband; one son, Roy, Harlingen; two daughters, Mrs. Marilyn DuRuary [sic], Harlingen, and Mrs. Thelma Hoffman [sic], Boise, Idaho [sic]; two sisters, Hilda of Missouri [sic], and Bertha of Texas, and a brother, John Hunkler, who lives near Peoria. She and her husband operated the Swing Transfer Co. in Forrest. They left here 18 years ago to move to Texas.

Emma Alice Slagel was born 5 March 1880 in Fairbury, Illinois. She married Paul Hoffmann on 7 December 1902 in Fairbury, and she gave birth to 10 children. Paul died in a tragic railroad accident four days after their youngest child, Clyde’s, seventh birthday. Emma remained in Fairbury, dying on Christmas Day 1961. She is buried in Fairbury’s Graceland Cemetery.

Services for Emma Hoffman Thursday

Mrs. Emma Hoffman, 81, died at her home, 505 S Fourth, at 11:45 a.m. Monday. She had been ill three years.

Her funeral will be at the Cook Funeral Home at 2 p.m. Thursday, Rev. Peter Schaffer officiating. Burial will be in Graceland Cemetery.

Visitation begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.

She was born in Fairbury, March 5, 1880, the daughter of Sam and Mary Demler Slagel. She was married to Paul Hoffman in 1902. He passed away in 1933. She lived on a farm south of Fairbury until moving to town in 1943.

Surviving are three daughters, Mrs. Marie Kilgus, Fairbury; Mrs. Alice Himelick, Kokomo, Ind.; Miss Leona Hoffman, at home; five sons, Joe, Caldwell, Idaho; Sam, Paul, Clyde and Ralph, all of Fairbury; one brother, Dan Slagel, Fairbury; 36 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, a son and a daughter.

She was a member of the Apostolic Church Fairbury.

The family suggests that any tangible expressions of sympathy be in the form of donations to the Cancer Society.

I actually like both “Lena” and “Emma,” but then I tend to like the old-fashioned names best.  Well, usually.  My own grandmothers take the cake in the old-fashioned name department, even if Blanche and Velma were the sweetest grandmas ever.

Blanche Wilson 1926 Confirmation

Grandma Montgomery

Velma Swing Graduation Photo

Grandma Hoffmann

Friday Funny – Grandma’s Pants

Velma Swing in Roy's Pants

This photo is one of many shared with me by Grandma Hoffmann. Luckily I had Grandma’s word for it that this was actually a picture of her, wearing her older brother, Roy’s, pants. I don’t know if there was a particular occasion for this cross-dressing, or if Grandma regularly wore Uncle Roy’s hand-me-downs, but it’s pretty entertaining. I also like the pump there in the corner.

This picture always reminds me of a funny story Grandma once told during a family interview.  Eventually I’ll finish transcribing the interview, but this particular anecdote involves Grandma, storytelling, and a slop bucket. When about three years old, Grandma was talking to her family and walking backward while doing so. She stumbled up against a big bucket in the kitchen where they put scraps and dish water for the hogs, and poor Grandma sat right down in the bucket.  “And everybody laughed at me.  It wasn’t a bit funny.” Though relaying the story all those years later, Grandma was able to laugh.

It reminds me of another NOT FUNNY experience someone else had that involved falling into water accidentally. And also being dressed in someone else’s clothes….

Megan and Matt at Oregon Coast

 

Tombstone Tuesday – Sophia Hoffmann Kuntz

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My great-great-grand aunt, Sophia/Sophie Hoffmann, was born in June 1864 in France. The fifth child of Jacob Hoffmann and his first wife, Annette (Meyer) Hoffmann, she was the younger sister of my 2G-grandmother, Catherine, and the older half-sister of my great-grandfather Paul. At age 18, Sophie traveled with her family from France to America, arriving May 16, 1883.

A little over three years later Sophie married John W. Kuntz in Pontiac, Illinois, on July 26, 1886. John and Sophie were the parents of six children:  Samuel Henry, born June 15, 1888; William John, born about April 1, 1890; Walter Louis, born February 17, 1894; Frieda Ann, born about January 14, 1897; Raymond Napoleon, born about August 21, 1899; and Joseph, born about January 26, 1901. All of the children were born in Woodford County, Illinois, where the family was also enumerated in 1900, in Metamora Township:

June 14-15, 1900 Metamora Twp., Woodford, Illinois
Kuntz John W Head W[hite] M[ale] Nov 1858 41 M[arried] 14 Illinois Switzerland Switzerland Farmer
—Sophia Wife W F June 1864 36 M 14 5 5 France France France 1884 16
—Samuel H Son W M Jun 1888 11 S Illinois Illinois France At School 8 
—William J Son W M Apr 1890 10 S Illinois Illinois France At School 8 
Kuntz, Walter L Son W M Feb 1894 6 S Illinois Illinois France At School 6
—Frieda A Daughter W F Jan 1897 3 S Illinois Illinois France
—Raymond N Son W M Aug 1899 10/12 S Illinois Illinois France
Dargel, Wm H Boarder W M Apr 1883 17 S New Mexico Germany Germany Farm Laborer 0 yes yes yes

About six days after the birth of her son Joseph, Sophie died at age 36, presumably as a result of complications from childbirth. Baby Joseph lived only another week. Sophie was buried in the Roanoke Apostolic Christian Cemetery in Roanoke, Illinois.

Following Sophie’s death Raymond, the youngest surviving child, was raised by Sophie’s sister Lena (Hoffmann) Yost, who had no children of her own.  John and Sophie’s second child, William, died about February 7, 1907 at age 16. John himself lived to age 92, dying on June 7, 1951 in Bluffton, Indiana. He shares a tombstone in Uniontown Cemetery, Zanesville, Indiana, with his son Ordie Smith, who died in 1940 at age 15.

Family Recipe Friday – Aunt Leona’s Rhubarb Dessert

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Tucked inside Grandma Hoffmann’s recipe binder, amidst all the booklets from Kraft, Good Housekeeping, and Better Homes and Gardens, are a few hand-written recipes. One is for a recipe famous within the family: Aunt Leona’s Rhubarb Dessert. This particular recipe card was written out by Grandma Hoffmann and credited to her sister-in-law. I can imagine Grandma requesting the recipe and writing it out on one of many trips back to Fairbury, Illinois, from Idaho.

Not being a fan of rhubarb, I’ve never had this particular dessert, but I do know from two trips to Fairbury as a child that Aunt Leona was a marvelous cook.  I remember the smell of yeasty, warm buttered rolls in particular, as well as a particular smell Aunt Leona’s house itself had. I’m not the only one to remember that smell, either – the house at 505 S. 4th Street was the scene of many childhood memories for my mother as well, as my great-grandmother and Aunt Leona, who never married, had lived there beginning around 1943. On occasion my own front door here in Virginia has given off that same distinctive odor – is it something about all the woodwork Aunt Leona had in her house? I have also learned that the family who lived in my house from about 1930-1960 had a large rhubarb patch in their backyard garden. Perhaps I ought to plant some…

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Wedding Wednesday – Samuel and Lena Nussbaum

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Today’s post comes courtesy of Cousin Millie, who sent me this photo. I can’t be sure this is a wedding photo, but I am grateful not only for the picture itself but also for the inscription written on the back: Samuel and Lena Nussbaum. If not for that, this photo might have ended up in “Friday’s Faces from the Past” instead.

Lena (or Magdalene) Swing was born July 26, 1887 in Fairbury, Illinois. Her younger brother was my great-grandfather, Albert Carl Swing. They were two of 13 children born to Albert Carl and Catherine Marie (Hoffmann) Swing.  The family appears in the 1900 census in Ash Grove, Illinois, then in 1910 in Pulaski County, Indiana. On May 2, 1911, Lena married Samuel Nussbaum in Winamac, Indiana. Samuel had been born, also in Fairbury, Illinois, on October 22, 1882. Samuel and Lena were the parents of five children, all born in Fairbury: Morris, born June 28, 1913; Richard S., born August 23, 1916; Wilma, born May 24, 1919; Marjorie, born April 20, 1923; and Nelson, born May 20, 1924. My mom reminds me that I once met Marjorie when we, along with my Grandma (Marjorie’s first cousin), visited Illinois in 1984. Samuel and Lena’s family was enumerated in Forrest, Illinois in the 1930 census. Samuel died thirty years later, on August 15, 1961, but Lena lived until August 1983 when she died at age 96.

Tombstone Tuesday – Uncle Joe

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Seven years ago Mom and I took one of our many genealogical side trips while visiting our Fairbury (Illinois) relatives. This side trip took us to Roanoke, Illinois, some forty miles west. I knew a large number of relatives were purportedly buried in Roanoke, and we found the Roanoke Cemetery fairly easily.  Wandering through the rows of graves we saw a lot of familiar surnames: Weyeneth, Fehr, Schumacher, Hodel, Zimmerman. But we couldn’t seem to find any of the really close connections we were looking for.

As luck would have it, it was mowing day, and an older gentleman was at work between the rows of graves. Neither Mom nor I are good at this sort of thing, but we ventured over. Perhaps he had seen “the look” before because he readily asked if he could help. I told him we were looking for some relatives’ graves but hadn’t been able to find them, and he asked who we were looking for.  A little hesitantly, I said, “Well, Joseph Hoffman…” Immediately he said, “Oh, Uncle Joe!” He went on to explain that there was a separate Apostolic Christian Cemetery near the church, farther out in the country, and told us how to get there. I never did figure out if he was really a cousin of sorts (this Joseph Hoffman was my great-great-grand-uncle, not to be confused with my grandfather Joseph Hoffmann), or if everyone in Roanoke knew our Joseph Hoffman as “Uncle Joe.”

Mom and I set off again, another 3 1/2 miles southwest. And here were all the names we had been looking for, Uncle Joe among them. Joseph Hoffman was born May 2, 1872 in Renaucourt, France, the youngest full brother of my great-great grandmother Catherine (Hoffmann) Swing, and a half-brother of my great-grandfather Paul Hoffmann. He emigrated to America with his family in 1883. On February 27, 1898 he married Lydia Hodel, six years his senior. Lydia died January 23, 1940 and is also buried in the Roanoke Apostolic Christian Cemetery. A year later Joseph married Lydia’s younger sister Emma; he was 68 and she was 60. Emma died September 17, 1957 and is buried in the same cemetery as well. Joseph himself lived to the age of 95, dying October 22, 1967 in Morton, Illinois, and being laid to rest near his two wives.

Joseph Hoffman

Roanoke (PNS) –Joseph Hoffman, 95, died at noon Sunday at the Rest-Mor Nursing Home, Morton, where he had lived for six years.

His funeral will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Remmert Funeral Home and at 10:30 a.m. at the Roanoke Apostolic Christian Church.

Burial will be in the church cemetery.

Visitation will be 2 to 5 p.m.; 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Mr. Hoffman was born May 2, 1872, in Alsace-Lorraine France, a son of Jacob and Annatte [sic] Meyers Hoffman. He married Lydia Hodel Feb. 27, 1898. She died Jan. 23, 1940. He then married Emma Hodel Feb. 23, 1941. She died Sept. 20, 1957.
Surviving are a brother, Sam, Cissna Park; and many nieces and nephews. Four brothers and nine sisters preceded him in death.

Mr. Hoffman was a member of the Apostolic Christian Church, where he served as a trustee and Sunday school teacher. He was a retired farmer and had lived in Roanoke for 71 years.