116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
And above all, his energy.
“He was just a force of nature,” said Richard Barker of Cedar Rapids, who collaborated with him on musicals at Theatre Cedar Rapids. “He was boundless energy.”
Colleagues and friends from the realms of education, theater and worship arts are mourning Hoffman, 61, who died this week in his home in Marion. The cause of death was suicide by asphyxiation due to carbon monoxide inhalation, Linn County Medical Examiner Don Linder said.
Hoffman was the Alma A. Turechek Professor of Music at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, where he had taught since 1976. He had also taught music at Washington and Kennedy high schools and Mount Mercy College, and had been musical director at Theatre Cedar Rapids, director of the Cedar Rapids Concert Chorale, music director at First Congregational Church and choirmaster at Westminster Presbyterian Church.
“He was the consummate aficionado of musical theater and he loved to share that,” said Julia Titus of Cedar Rapids, who teaches piano lessons and music theory classes at Coe. She also played in numerous pit orchestras for Hoffman at Theatre Cedar Rapids and served with him on the musical staffs at both church parishes.
Her favorite memories are from the theater, which she felt made use of all his talents.
“It's where he was allowed him to shine the most,” she said. “I remember him grooving on the podium. He just had fun with that.”
“He was the best teacher around,” Barker said of his theatrical experiences with Hoffman. “He was just a pure ball of energy. He made people better than when they came in. If they came in as singers, he always made them better. If you were not a singer, he made you a singer. He was a worker.”
“Effervescent” is the first word that comes to mind for the Rev. Don Houdeshell of Cedar Rapids, interim pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church. “He was kind of a huge personality that lit up the room and people loved. He was so passionate about music, especially good music, and he communicated that in his words and in his body language.
“He was just very expressive, very much in love with music and the gift that God had given him to make music happen and to give that gift to the congregation and the community.”
Memorial services are pending.