Cover photo for Rodney Lee Hoffman's Obituary
Rodney Lee Hoffman Profile Photo

Rodney Lee Hoffman

June 20, 1941 — May 16, 2024


HOFFMAN, RODNEY LEE – June 20, 1941 - May 16, 2024    

Born in York, Pennsylvania (raised in Dover), Rodney Lee Hoffman led a purposeful life filled with family, friends, humor, music and a lifelong love of learning. The top two priorities for Rodney throughout his high school years were playing the trumpet and making his classmates laugh. He triumphantly excelled at both. After graduating from high school, Rodney joined the United States Air Force and served in the Air Force for eight years in many diverse assignments throughout the world including in Vietnam and Rome, Italy. 

It was in the Air Force where Rodney met and married Mary Ellen (nee Elliott) with whom he shared 43 years of marriage before Mary Ellen’s passing in 2009. They were the adoring parents of one son, Elliott, who was the light of their lives and a source of immense pride.

Lightning struck twice for Rodney with Jane Finger whom he met at the Fairhope Unitarian Fellowship and to whom he was married for the last 13 wonderful years of his life.

Following his military service, Rodney received his Bachelor’s Degree from Southeast Missouri State University, where he graduated Suma Cume Laude, and a Master’s Degree in American Studies from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

He began his career teaching junior high school English in Whitehall, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. His keen listening skills, calm demeanor and kind heart assisted him in bringing out the best in his students. Through this leadership, Rodney was later the Founder and Director of the Gifted Students Program at Whitehall City Schools where he nurtured hundreds to reach their highest potential.

Although his career in education was satisfying, nothing compared to the pleasure of playing jazz trumpet for 45 years in various groups from Dixieland to jazz combos to numerous big bands. He was also regularly sought after to play in weddings and other important life moments for friends and colleagues, and he generously shared his musical passion and talent. His son Elliott was honored to have Rodney play at his wedding.

He always carried a special place in his heart for Drum and Bugle Corps throughout his entire life.  As a child in Pennsylvania, Rodney was an active member of the York White Roses Drum and Bugle Corps.  Decades later, he and Mary Ellen were delightedly proud parent volunteers of the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps in Ohio, where his son Elliott carried on his talent and tradition. 

After retiring to Fairhope, Alabama in 2002, Rodney was able to lean more fully into his musical interests playing with numerous nationally recognized groups including the Bob Schultz Band, the Baldwin Pops, and the Mobile Big Band.

Having to give up playing in ensembles due to a hearing loss, Rodney became more engaged in the Fairhope community becoming an elementary school reading tutor and an active member of the Fairhope Unitarian Fellowship serving in many roles, including as President of the Fellowship.

In addition to his loving wife, Jane, he is survived by his son, Elliott, daughter-in-law, Andrea, and cherished granddaughter, Lucille Ellen Hoffman (Cleveland, Ohio). Also surviving him are members of Jane’s family a/k/a Rodney’s “bonus family” with whom he shared many years of happiness.   Jane’s daughter, Mary Morgan and her husband, Phillip and their children Palmer and Lewis; Jane’s sons South, Henry and Palmer and Palmer’s wife Alina and his daughter Ashley.

He is further survived by nephew, John Hoffman (Tricia Magee) and niece, Amy Dickinson, and her daughter Carey (nee Dickinson), son-in-law Dan, and grandchildren Aiden and Morgan Kenny.

He is predeceased by parents Robert Hoffman and Ruth Hoffman (nee Quickel), brother Robert Hoffman (Sara), and nieces Valerie Hoffman and Elizabeth Hoffman.

Above all, Rodney will be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, son and mentor. 

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 15 at the Fairhope Unitarian Fellowship (1150 Fairhope Avenue, Fairhope, AL 36532). At the family’s request, in lieu of flowers, donations to Fairhope Unitarian Fellowship or Prodisee Pantry are appreciated.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Rodney Lee Hoffman, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Memorial Service

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

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