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HOFFMAN, Helmut (Hal) Bernhart

July 21, 1934 –Elmwood, Manitoba
May 6, 2018 – Calgary, Alberta

Helmut (Hal) Bernhart Hoffman passed away peacefully on the morning of May 6, 2018 at Rockyview Hospital in Calgary, AB at the age of 83 years.

Hal was born in Elmwood, MB to Wilhelm and Helena Hoffman (nee Heinrichs). One of nine siblings, Hal grew up on the family farm near Halbstadt, MB and later near Dominion City. As a boy, he received his early schooling at a German school, but farm duties prevented him from completing high school. As a young man, Hal worked on the farm in the summers and did railway maintenance during the winter.

With the intent of becoming a farmer, Hal trained as a mechanic, thinking this a useful skill on the farm. His training took him to Calgary where, by chance at a local dance hall, he met his life long love, Marie, whom he married in Winnipeg in 1960.

Hal’s studies sparked a keen enthusiasm for learning and a desire to impart his skills to others. While working full time to support his family, Hal went to night school to earn his high school diploma with the goal of becoming a mechanics instructor. In 1964, Hal and Marie moved the family west so Hal could to take a teaching position at the Lethbridge Community College (LCC). Early in his tenure at LCC, Hal furthered his own education, obtaining a bachelors degree and later, a masters degree, in vocational education from the University of Alberta. Hal was popular with his students and a respected member of the LCC faculty and he eventually served as the faculty union president. After his retirement in 1991, Hal and Marie travelled the world and hosted visiting couples in their home through the Lethbridge Chapter of the Friendship Force creating many happy memories and friendships.

Hal will always been remembered for what he gave back to his family and his community. Hal volunteered countless hours of his time and put his skills to good use through the Rotary Club, Lethbridge City Police Commission and the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. True to his farming roots, every spring and summer, Hal, along with Marie, expertly tended a large backyard garden which sustained their family and brought them much joy. To the delight of his children, Hal transformed the garden into an ice rink in the winters. Hal was a resourceful and talented metalworker who crafted items for his home, friends and his church. His appreciation for music was cultivated through singing in both the Good Shepherd Church Choir and the Men’s German Chorus, the latter of which gave Hal the great pleasure to use his German.

Hal will also be remembered for his passion for politics which led him in 1972 to run as a candidate in the federal election for the New Democratic Party. He was a frequent and articulate contributor of letters to the editor in the local Lethbridge paper on political issues of the day. Mostly, Hal will be remembered by his family as a loving father, grandfather and husband who offered unfailing support and guidance to his wife, children and grandchildren. He was immensely proud of the accomplishments of his children and his three granddaughters, Maddison, Kristen and Zoey.

Left to mourn Hal are his son Rob Hoffman and his wife Ivy of Calgary; daughter Susan Duncan and her husband Darren; daughter Judi Hoffman and her husband John Wall; granddaughters Zoey of Vancouver, and Maddison and Kristen of Calgary; and siblings, Albert Hoffman (Lena) of Altona, Anita Braun of Altona, Rudy Hoffman (Karlene) of Winnipeg, Harold Hoffman (Marge) of Mississauga, Irene Braun (John) of Winnipeg, Dennis Hoffman (Jeanine) of Winnipeg, and Marvin Hoffman of Thailand. Also surviving him are his in-laws, Betty MacGillivray of Stanley, NB, Bill Moss (Donna) of Cross Creek, NB, and Rosemary Ingraham of Arrowwood, AB; and by many nieces, nephews and good friends. Hal was predeceased by his wife Marie in 2016 after fifty-five years of marriage; brother Irwin Hoffman; brother-in-laws Gordon Ingraham, John MacGillivray, and Jake Braun.

Funeral Services will be held at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY (Fish Creek, 14441 Bannister Road S.E., Calgary, AB) on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. Reception to follow at the funeral home. Cremation has taken place. Condolences may be forwarded through If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Arthritis Society, #300, 1301 – 8th Street S.W., Calgary, AB T2R 1B7 Telephone: (403) 228-2571 or 1 (800) 321-1433. or to Lutheran World Relief, PO Box 17061 Baltimore, MD 21298-9832 USA Telephone: 1 (800) 597.5972. The family sincerely thanks the dedicated staff of Millrise Place for their compassionate care during Hal’s time there.

In living memory of Hal Hoffman, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Fish Creek, 14441 Bannister Road S.E., Calgary, AB, T2X 3J3, Telephone: 403-256-9575.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Karen Hoffman

    Brad and I extend our deepest sympathies on the passing of Uncle Hal. Brad will forever cherish many good memories he has of time spent with Uncle Hal and valuable lessons he learned from him. I enjoyed the many visits we had with him over the years. May his memory live on your hearts.

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  2. Al and I send our deepest condolences on the passing of your father. May cherished memories of your dad help ease your grief and bring you comfort.

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  3. Betty MacGillivray

    Sincere condolence to all of Hal’s family. Many fond memories were nurtured over the years through time spent in Lethbridge, Calgary and New Brunswick. May he Rest In Peace from a life well lived. Sendings my love.

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  4. Our condolences to you all, I will always remember dad and uncle Hal playing crib, good memories, take care… sincerely Dave & Irene, Tracy & Draper & Nixon & Amber… Uncle Albert & Lena Hoffman… thinking of you all…

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  5. Alison McGrath

    To Susan and family
    I am so sorry for the loss of your father. What an amazing man he sounded like. Something special about his generation. I lost my amazing Dad in January and while my grief won’t be exactly the same as yours,my heart knows your pain. Thank goodness we both had great love of our Dads. Much love, Alison, Logan and Austin

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  6. So sorry to hear of Uncle Hal’s passing. Many fond memories of both Uncle Hal. Visits here in Winnipeg and Lethbridge. He had a quite unique sense of humor. Take care…..George and Shelley….Jeff and Sandie

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  7. Geoff & Ann Bradshaw

    Our condolences to the Hoffman family in the passing of Hal. We first got to know Hal, and his wife Marie, when they joined the Friendship Force of Lethbridge on its first exchange to Australia in 1996, and for several years on other exchanges and activities with the club. They were both good members and friends. Hal would approach with a special grin and you knew to expect another Hoffman joke or a wise remark. He was a good man.

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  8. I am so sorry to hear of Hal’s passing. I had the pleasure of being taught by him and later working with him at Lethbridge College. His memory will live on.

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  9. Please accept our deepest condolences in the death of Hal. I am proud to have been his brother for 82 years. I am very sorry that due to mobility problems we will be unable to attend the funeral.
    Karlene and Rudy

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  10. Elaine Duckworth Motyl

    My sympathies go to Hal’s family.
    I have very fond memories of good times with Hal, and my cousin Marie, when my late husband Ed and I visited them during our trips “out west”. We were especially pleased when they came to visit with us here in Asheville, NC. We spent most of our evenings having fun playing games and learning they both played to win. I’m very grateful that, in spite if the many miles between us, I have these these memories and more of our times together.

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