John Richard Hofmann, Jr.
John Richard Hofmann, Jr., our “Jack,” died April 3, 2021, at his home in Belvedere, California. He was 98. His death came just over a year after that of his beloved wife, Molly Macdonough Hofmann, to whom he had been married for 66 years. He spent much of the last year, since Molly’s death, retelling stories of their many adventures. She was the love of his life and their years together were full and blessed with friends, golf, tennis, lunching, dominoes, travel, Clear Lake, children and grandchildren.
Dad was extremely well respected as a father, friend and mentor. His sage advice was sought out frequently, and his soft, loving nature was comforting to many. He had a wonderful sense of humor that exhibited itself even during his last days, as the trials of aging weighed on him. Who could forget that “I’ve-got-something-unexpected-to-say-so-listen-up” kind of look, exhibited by the raising of his eyebrows and the tilt of his head?
One might remember him as the man who could balance a martini on his knee, could talk to cows in their own language with exquisite precision and could play a mean game of dominoes. He was a man who loved to explore, to take a drive down a random country road, to tell stories about his life, and who remembered every single detail of our family history until the very end!
Jack was born in Oakland, California, on June 24, 1922, to John Richard Hofmann and Esther Starkweather Hofmann. His brother, Burt, and Jack both attended University High School. Jack was active with the varsity crew and student politics. He participated in the Oakland Boy Scouts, attaining the rank of Eagle Scout, and spent summers working at the High Sierra Dimond O Camp in Yosemite.
He attended the University of California at Berkeley from 1940-1943, graduating in Economics. He was a member of the varsity crew and was a commanding officer of the ROTC. During World War II, he served with the Coast Artillery anti-aircraft defenses for Pearl Harbor. He was discharged as a captain in 1946. He then received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1949.
Jack joined Pillsbury, Madison and Sutro in 1949, became a partner in 1959, and practiced for 46 years, specializing in corporate, insurance and securities law. He was a pioneer in the formation and representation of large group malpractice-insurance companies, some of which are now the largest physician and dentist-owned professional liability-insurance companies in the USA.
Jack was very active in civic and community service activities. He served as City Attorney for the city of Belvedere from 1957-1959, during which time he was a principal participant in the successful effort to preserve Richardson Bay. He was on the board of directors of Catholic Social Services of Marin County, the Belvedere Tennis Club, the Big C Society at UC Berkeley and was a member of the Marin County Aviation Commission. He also served on the Marin County Civil Grand Jury.
Jack was a longtime member of the Pacific-Union Club and an Old Guard member of the Bohemian Club. He was an avid skier for more than 65 years, retiring his skis in his early 80’s. At age 50, he took up running, solo and with friends and family, and wherever his travels may have taken him. He even ran the Bay to Breakers through his 70’s!
Dad found value in the uniqueness of each person he encountered. He had friends and admirers of all ages. He was attentive and warm, and led with grace and dignity. A real class act! It is a testament to him to note that at nearly 99 years old, with so many of his friends having left us already, there are countless more still here feeling the loss of this great man. He was loved by many and his passing leaves a giant hole in our hearts. We are comforted to know he is resting peacefully now with our mother.
He is survived by his children, John Richard Hofmann III (Trip) of California, Gretchen Hofmann of Colorado, and Joan M. Hofmann of Idaho; five grandchildren, Whitney Will of Washington, Joseph Hack of Colorado, Emily Alexander of Idaho, Olivia Alexander of California and Jackson Alexander of California; and one cherished great-grandson, Ewan Elijah Keith of Washington. He is preceded in death by his wife, parents and brother, his daughter Sarah Worthington Hofmann, and granddaughter Eva Denali Will.
Throughout his life Jack was guided by his devotion to his Catholic faith. A service will be celebrated in his memory at 2 PM on Saturday, July 17, 2021 at St. Hilary’s Catholic Church in Tiburon, California.
Memorial contributions may be made to Catholic Charities of San Francisco or St. Hilary’s Church.