We are saddened to announce the sudden passing of Maurice Dean Hoffman on Thursday January 4th, 2024.
He was born on August 17th, 1926, in Overbrook Kansas, one of fifteen children born along with a twin sister Doris, to Benjamin & Grace (Bragg) Hoffman.
Maurice was a true war hero whose military career took him all over the world. He joined the Navy as a 17-year-old serving in WWII and participating in three atomic bomb tests. He changed branches to the Army for his services in the Korean War and did two tours in Vietnam.
He loved talking to anyone who would listen about his military history and had dozens of stories to share. In 1951, he was a Drill Sargeant and taught basic training at Fort Eustis where he was known as “Little Caesar” and put some famous people through during his time: Sandy Sadler, a three-time world champion boxer; Vern Law, who won a Cy Young award while pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates and MLB icon, Willie Mays.
He was proud of his awards and medals, pins and patches that included American Campaign 1944- 1946 WWII, Asiatic Pacific Campaign 1944-1946 WWII, Army Occupation Japan/Germany 1945 WWII, World War II Victory 1945, National Defense 1950-1956, Army Good Conduct 1955- 1976, Vietnam Service 1965-1969, Bronze Star 1966 Vietnam (pinned on him by General Westmorland) and Army Commendation 1969 Vietnam a pin for the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Citation 1969 and a Blue Patch is for Usaeur Germany 1955-1957. Please go here to read his story from the article done on him by the CityView Magazine. HERE
In 1961 when he was serving in Naples Italy, he met his future wife Elena (Antonacci) Hoffman and had two daughters.
After almost 30 years of service, he retired from the military in Des Moines then worked for the City of Des Moines Public Works for 13 years before retiring for good.
In his spare time, Maurice liked to spend time with his cat or travel to visit relatives and friends. He loved to garden and was always proud of his eggplant and tomatoes and would can dozens of jars and give them away to his neighbors and friends.
He is survived by his daughters Grace Hoffman of Napa Valley, CA and Gianna Hoffman of Urbandale, IA and his last sibling, Donald Hoffman (age 95) in Tuscan AZ. Also surviving him are many nieces and nephews and their families.
He was proceeded in death by his wife Elena, his parents Ben & Grace, thirteen brothers and sisters, his son Robert (Bobby) Hoffman, his yellow cat of 20 years Kitty and recently his yellow cat of 16 years Whatto. He will be missed by many relatives, neighbors, and friends. His daughters would like to thank his VA Home Base Primary Care Team for all their support and help they gave Maurice since 2012 and the staff at 3801 Grand Retirement Campus for taking such good care of him the last three years of his life when he needed more assistance.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, Jan. 13th at the Merle Hay Funeral Home, 4400 Merle Hay Rd Des Moines, at 11 am. Visitation will be from 9:30 am until service time, burial will follow at Glendale Cemetery with Military Honors.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to the family.