"Wm. Hoffman,the oldest businessman in Defiance, veteran furniture dealer and manufacturer of Northwestern Ohio and one of the most prominent and respected citizens of Defiance county, died at 11:45 o'clock, Friday night, Oct. 22, 1920, at his home on Perry Street. Death was due to the weakness of advanced age and followed an illness of but a few hours. He visited his place of business in the morning as was his usual custom and seemed to be in his usual good health. About 6 o'clock Friday evening,he became ill and peacefully passed away a few hours thereafter.
Mr. Hoffman was 90 years old and has been identified with business, social activity and progress in Defiance since 1859. He has witnessed the town grow from a small village to its present proportions, and during this time, had remained one of the leading figures about the town, visiting his business daily and taking interest in all things pertaining to Defiance and surrounding territory.
News of his death comes as a great shock to all who knew him. Business men who have been associated with him for the past fifty or more years sorrowfully received the announcement of his death. He had lived an honorable and useful life and was a man of high standing in business and religious circles. He is what the world is pleased to style a self-made man. His boyhood was full of the struggles and privations which contributed much to his making. He never forgot the stern lessons of industry and economy to which he applied himself in youth. He disliked ostentation and debt.
History of His Life
Mr. Hoffman was born in Wurtemberg, Germany, Feb. 15, 1830. He received his early education in the public schools of Germany and learned the cabinet trade in Stuttgart. In 1854 he emigrated to the United States, being on the voyage on the Atlantic sixty days, arriving in New York, July 20, 1854.
Mr. Hoffman's residence in Defiance dates from 1859 when with Mr. C. Geiger as a partner, they entered the furniture business under the firm name of Hoffman & Geiger, doing a wholesale and retail business on Perry street. The site has since been sold to the Defiance Machine Works.
|Defiance Democrat, April 2, 1870|
In 1871 they purchased the lot on the corners of Clinton and Fort Sts. and in 1873, built thereon the brick block for a salesroom, at that time the finest in town. In 1883, the firm dissolved partnership, Mr. Hoffman retaining the retail business, which for a number of years has been managed by his son, Edward.
|Defiance City Directory, 1920|
Mr. Hoffman was married in 1856 at Edgerton, Ohio to Katherine Koerner, who preceded him in death four years ago. Six children were born to them. They are Mrs. Henry Seither, Katherine (deceased) Mrs. Wm. Martin, Chas. C. Hoffman, Edward W. Hoffman, and Miss Gertrude Hoffman. Besides the children, Mr. Hoffman is survived by five grandchildren, Clinton and Leonard Seither, Ransom Hoffman, Ruth Scott and Richard Martin, also nine great grandchildren.
Mr. Hoffman in politics was a Republican, and was a member of the German Methodist church, serving on the Board of Trustees since 1860.
Funeral services were held this afternoon at 2 o'clock from his late residence, Rev. Henry Maag, his pastor, officiated. Interment was made in Riverside cemetery."