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Hoffman, Stanley L., MD

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Hoffman, Stanley L., MD

Age 95, (June 4, 1913-October 5, 2008). The world lost a shining beacon of Christian humility and kindness in the death of Dr. Stan Hoffman. Born to Presbyterian missionary parents in the mountains of North Korea, where his father was a circuit riding preacher, Stan grew up with a rock-solid faith in God and a determination to use his gifts to demonstrate the love of Christ. Arriving in the U.S. with little money for college, Stan graduated from the College of Wooster, where he helped make ends meet by shoveling coal in college furnaces. He was an avid soccer player, remembering with delight the day his college team beat the mighty Ohio State University Buckeyes. He met his future wife, Mary Kepler, the daughter of missionary parents in China, while both were working summer jobs at the Chautauqua Institute in New York. The two married just after they graduated from college, but were so penniless the pastor’s wife offered to bake them a wedding cake at no charge, and the wedding reception was held in the pastor’s home. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, Stan interned at Henry Ford Hospital, while Mary took nurses training. The couple, now with two children, headed to a Presbyterian mission hospital in China, where Stan worked as a doctor, but had to leave after two years due to the Communist takeover. He then worked as a physician for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, healing the sick amongst Navajo, Hopi and Rocky Boy Indians. Stan and Mary later moved to Howell, MI, where they felt their three children could get a better education, although there were many benefits to the adventuresome life they’d been living in Arizona and Montana. There he set up a private practice, where he became beloved by the community for his kindness, faithful house calls, and unswerving devotion to his medical calling. Stan is remembered by his children for his patience, his passionate love of the outdoors (parts of every summer were spent camping in the family’s old canvas army-surplus tent and many trails were hiked all over the U.S.), his vegetable gardening and his love of music. He had a beautiful, trained voice, and his wife was a gifted accompanist. Many were the evenings the children would go to sleep listening to him singing Schubert with Mary painistically anticipating his every vocal nuance. For three decades Stan taught Bible classes and sang in the church choir at 1st Presbyterian in Howell; he continued conducting Bible study at Westminster Presbyterian in Ann Arbor, after he and Mary moved to Chelsea. His quiet morning devotions were an enduring part of his life, and his life’s paths were based on I Corinthians 13. Stan will always be remembered for his complete lack of artifice, his courtly manner, and the gentle way his smile would light up his eyes. His beloved Mary preceded him in death in 2000.

He leaves three children, Jeannette (Don) Faber of Ann Arbor; Ken (Jan) Hoffman of Amherst, MA; Kathy Hoffman of New York, NY; six grandchildren, Mika (Matt) Hoffman, Jennie (Dan) Hoffman, Yanji (Chad) Lama, Sherrie (Tom) Sliski, John (Jennifer) Luton, Amber Luton, and six great-grandchildren. A memorial service celebrating Stan’s life will be held Saturday morning, November 22 at 11 a.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hope Medical Clinic, Westminster Presbyterian Church or Africa Christian Mission. The prophet Micah states, “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Indeed, Stanley’s life was the very model of this.