Guy Hoffman

Posted: Sunday, January 29, 2006

Haines resident Guy Wesley Hoffman, 57, died Jan. 17 of a heart attack while skiing back from an ice-skating outing at Chilkoot Lake with friends.

He was born May 10, 1948 in Casper, Wyo. He hunted rabbits on the outskirts of Casper and played clarinet for the Casper Symphony while in high school. During the Vietnam era, he joined the Navy and was recruited into the Admiral's Dance Band to play the saxophone.

On returning home, he married Deana Brainard. The pair played in orchestras that toured the Plains, earning money to help pay their way through college. They moved to Haines in 1974. He worked on local projects, including clearing the road into Chilkat State Park. The couple opened Rainbow General Store, a gourmet coffee shop and deli that moved to Main Street as Whole Hog Enterprises.

After crewing on local fishing boats, Hoffman bought a setnet site at Clark's Point in the mid-1980s. For 11 of his 15 years there, he fished with his son Daymond. He built his own home, raised pigs and chickens, gardened, fished for subsistence and sport, and mushed.

His unfinished home was a gathering place for friends. He was a dancer, an actor in plays, sponsored a jazz program on KHNS, organized the annual state fair horseshoe tournament, and started a curling team. He led skiing and biking trips into the Canadian wilderness and the Lower 48, ventured north and south for music festivals, and traveled through Europe and Mexico. He tried kite-fishing for king salmon, made his own pasta and bicycled to the border on a racing bike. He was known as a musician in local bands, host of days-long birthday parties and a wood-turner who made birch bowls. Friends and family said he "was most content at home, raising tulips or keeping vigil on Rainbow Glacier that he watched for calving from his front porch."

He was preceded in death by his father, Charles Hoffman, and his sister, Nora Van Burgh.

He is survived by his mother, Wilma Hoffman; his brother, Don Hoffman; his sister, Charlene Ross, all of Casper, Wyo.; his sister, Marilyn Osse, of Kansas; his daughter, Bengta Hoffman, of Salt Lake City; his son, Daymond Hoffman, of Haines; his nephew, Dana Van Burgh, of Haines; numerous nephews and nieces in the Lower 48; and a large circle of friends.

A memorial service was held Jan. 21 at the Chilkat Center in Haines. Neighbor Tim June presided over the remembrance. Hoffman was buried in his front yard, near his tulip bed, under a birch tree. In lieu of flowers, family members ask that donations be made to an ice-rink fund at the bank in Haines.

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