Max N. Hoffman
Max Norman Hoffman, MD, died Tuesday, April 21, 2020 at his retirement home in Huntsville, Alabama. He died of congestive heart failure with complications from pneumonia. He was 94.
Max was born November 1, 1925, in Clay County, Indiana, to Leonard and Dixie Hoffman. He was the youngest of three sons. They grew up on the family farm 2 miles south of Cory, Indiana. Max graduated from Cory High School as valedictorian in 1943.
When Max turned 18, his older brothers were serving in World War II. As the youngest son, he had an automatic farm deferment. In today's terms, he was an "essential worker" at home. But out of a sense of duty, and against his father's wishes, Max enlisted in the Navy. He served the last 2 years of the war in the South Pacific on the USS Skagit (AKA-105). He piloted a 50-foot Higgins landing craft, an accomplishment of which he was proud his entire life. The Skagit was the first US ship to enter Tokyo Bay after the surrender and was the fifth ship down from the USS Missouri when the formal surrender document was signed by the US and Japan on September 2, 1945.
When his military service ended in 1946, Max returned to Clay County. One day at a church ice cream social he met Helen Roeschlein. He asked Helen if he could take her home, and her father said yes. Max and Helen were married on June 10, 1948.
Using the GI Bill, and with Helen working to support them, he graduated from Indiana Central College (now University of Indianapolis) in 1950 and Indiana University School of Medicine in 1954. He and Helen moved to Springfield, Ohio, where Max completed his internship at City Hospital.
One year later in June 1955 Max moved his small family to Covington, Indiana, and began his life's work as a small-town doctor. His first office was above the Ben Franklin 5 & 10 cent store. In 1959 he built a small cement block and brick office at 416 Union Street next to the granary and down the street from the town jail.
Hoffman was a general practitioner. He did everything: delivered babies, performed surgeries, and made house calls - sometimes with the help of the town's snowplow - and saw thousands of patients in the little brick office on Union Street. Among his many professional affiliations, he was active in the Fountain-Warren County Medical Society and Board of Public Health, the Indiana State Medical Association and the American Medical Association. He was Chief of Staff at both Lakeview and St. Elizabeth Hospitals in nearby Danville, Illinois.
Max was an avid traveler, fisherman, mushroom hunter, and gardener. He loved spending time with his family, playing golf with his friends, Covington High School sports, the Chicago White Sox, and any good outdoor project.
Max loved Covington and his contributions are too numerous to list. He was particularly committed to creating opportunities for Covington kids. He helped create the Citizens' Scholarship Foundation, the Trojan Athletic Complex and the Western Indiana Community Foundation. He and Helen established the Hoffman-Aesculapian Scholarship and Hoffman-Trojan Scholarship for graduates of Covington High School.
Max served on the Fountain Trust Company Board of Directors for over 50 years. He and Helen were lifelong members of Bethel Lutheran Church in Danville. In 1985 Indiana Governor Evan Bayh named Max a Sagamore of the Wabash, an award reserved for Indiana residents who have rendered distinguished service to the state.
Max retired from general practice in 1993 after 38 years. He and Helen stayed in Covington until 2013 when they left their home of 58 years and moved to Huntsville, Alabama, to live near their daughter and her family. Two years later when he turned 90, a Facebook post marking the occasion resulted in over 100 cards and 164 Facebook messages from former patients and friends. By then he had been retired for 22 years.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers. Max is survived by his wife of 71 years and 316 days, Helen; his daughter Gail Hoffman Perna (Sam) and son Mark Hoffman; grandchildren Spencer Williams (Jennifer), Laura Williams Jossey and Hannah Hoffman; three great-grandchildren, Ella Jossey, Stark and Minette Lee Williams; sister-in-law Dorothy Hoffman, and 7 nieces.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, final arrangements were delayed for months. The funeral was held on July 11, 2020, at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Huntsville. Max will rest in peace in the church columbarium until it is safe for his family to take him home to Indiana. He will ultimately be laid to rest in Covington's Mount Hope Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers and cards, the family requests donations be made to the Western Indiana Community Foundation's Hoffman-Aesculapian Scholarship Fund or Hoffman-Trojan Scholarship Fund. The Foundation is located at 135 S. Stringtown Road, P.O. Box 175, Covington, IN 47932, phone (765) 793-0702, website wicf-inc.org.
Published on July 20, 2020