William John Hoffman, 91, lovingly nicknamed "Wild Bill", passed away peacefully in his sleep on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Lakeview where he called home and raised his family.
Born May 19, 1930, in French Camp, Calif., Bill grew up on a small dairy farm near Lodi which instilled in him the love of farming. In 1944 his family moved to Elk Grove, Calif. When he started high school, it was no surprise he entered the Ag Program. He loved family life, farming, cattle, playing football, competing in track and field and attending the Lutheran Church every Sunday.
After graduating from Elk Grove High School in 1948, he worked on a local farm and attended the University of California, Davis, where he met "the most beautiful Jean Black" - the love of his life. They married in 1950 at the Lutheran Church in Elk Grove. As a young married couple, they discovered they loved working together when Bill got a job working on a dairy farm in Tracy. Jean loved those beautiful Guernsey cows. They welcomed their first son, John, in 1951.
Change was in the air as the family moved back to Elk Grove in 1953. Here he had his own small dairy farm and worked for other farmers too. The same year their family grew with the birth of their second son, James. They welcomed their third child, a daughter, Ann, in 1956. Two years later, they moved to New Pine Creek, and in 1960 to Westside, where they owned Hilltop Dairy, delivering fresh milk in glass bottles. Bill loved the dairy farm life even though it was hard work.
The Hoffmans operated Hilltop Dairy from 1960-1972. They sold the dairy and purchased the Roy Peterson Ranch, later adding the Bolton Ranch to become The Hoffman Ranch, over 500 acres of livestock, yearly wheat and alfalfa.
Both Bill and Jean wanted a big family, so their family grew when they adopted Douglas in 1969, Lisa in 1972 and Laura in 1976. By this time, the three older kids had flown the coop. Life on the Hoffman Ranch kept everyone busy. Most days, you would catch Bill doing chores with his dog close at his heels and loving every minute. Many times, he would reflect saying "We all worked on the Ranch". He cherished having the family all work together. As he shared his stories, he would smile that big boyish grin that will be missed by so many.
Bill's life was not without tragedy. In 1982, his son Jim died unexpectantly. Jim was married to Crystal Kennedy whom the family loved as a daughter and remains a cherished sister. In 1991, Bill lost his beloved wife, Jean, to cancer. The family was devastated and lost, but life on the ranch must go on. Bill took one day at a time and leaned on faith, family and friends for comfort.
Bill found new happiness when he married Barbara Marshall and welcomed her six grown kids to the family with an open heart. Together they continued farming the Hoffman Ranch until selling in 2000, a difficult decision as farming had been his entire life. He didn't give up the lifestyle entirely though. They moved to Madeline, Calif. to farm Barbara's 200-acre dry land ranch with cattle and rye hay until 2002. After selling the Madeline ranch, they moved back to Lakeview in 2003. Four years later, Barbara passed away, yet he continued to be blessed through the "kids" and grandkids. Sadly, two years later he also lost his oldest son, John.
Bill lived the remainder of his life enjoying retirement, traveling and hugging all his grands and great-grands. He was a charmer chatting up the ladies and kept active riding his bike to the local gym and Senior Center. His hobbies included putting together model kits, rummaging at garage sales and reading.
Bill led a full life and did what he loved most Ð ranching. He was a family man who stood 6 feet tall with a solid frame that never withered with age. Some said he was a big teddy bear, a giant of a man and surprisingly soft spoken. He was gentle with a kind soul. He was a man of God who never lost his faith. He will always be fondly remembered as "Dad", "Daddy Boy", "Gramps", "Great Gramps", "Shorty" and "Wild Bill" truly missed by all that knew him.
He was preceded in death by: parents, Emanuel Hoffman and Helen Stirm Hoffman; brother, Eugene Hoffman; and sister, Viola Need.
Bill is survived by: son and daughter-in-law, Doug and Juanita Hoffman of Beaverton; daughters and sons-in-law, Ann and Ken Vallier of Sacramento, Calif. and Lisa and David Hammonds of Lakeview; daughter, Laura Hoffman of Los Angeles, Calif.; daughter-in-law and husband, Crystal Hoffman Langbehn and Russ Langbehn of Lakeview; brother and sister-in-law, Leroy and Coleen Hoffman of Portland; 13 grandkids, 10 great-grandchildren; and many other relatives.
A private service will be held on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021.
In lieu of flowers, please consider sending a donation on his behalf to Westside Cemetery, 92022 Dog Lake Lane, Lakeview, OR 97630.
If you would like to share your memories of "Wild Bill", please visit www.desertrosefuneralchapel.com or We Love Lake County Facebook page.