Oxford Native dies at 71 from COVID-19


Photo provided by the family

Roger Dale Hoffman, farmer and graduate of Talawanda High School.

By Simon Levy

Roger Dale Hoffman, 71, died Feb. 12, at Advent Orlando Hospital, Orlando, Florida, with his daughter Amy Combs and his best friend of more than 60 years, Mike Everett, at his bedside.

A native of Ohio, Hoffman resided in Franklin, Kentucky, and Orange City, Florida. The family said death resulted from complications of COVID-19.

Hoffman earned his high school diploma from Talawanda High School, where he played football with Everett. Following graduation, Hoffman stayed in Ohio, like generations of family before him, to go into farming, learning the trade from his father.

Wanting to create something of his own, Hoffman and his young family moved to Kentucky while he was in his early 20s to forge his own agricultural legacy with a new farm. Aside from a brief stint in cattle farming, Hoffman was a grain farmer for his entire career, his daughter said. By the time he retired at 49, a goal he had been working toward for a while, he owned three farms in the Bluegrass State.

“His whole life he said he was going to retire at 49 and when I was a little girl, I thought that (age) was old … but now I think that’s crazy,” said Combs, of Bowling Green, Kentucky. “He worked really, really hard and was kind of a math whiz and very frugal. He knew how much money he needed to move on, how much property he needed to live the way he wanted to live.”

Hoffman always loved traveling and seeing the country, with some of his favorite places being the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and Mount Nebo State Park in Arkansas, Combs said. Post-retirement, Hoffman spent lots of time on the road exploring this passion, and he was able to make it to all 48 states in the contiguous United States.

When it came to the things he loved, Hoffman didn’t hesitate to share them with those he loved. Combs said she remembers the annual summer road trips he would take the family on immediately after he had planted his crops. They would last right until his children had to go back to school.

“We would have a pig roast every Fourth of July … We would have literally 100 people at the house,” Combs said. “The day after or two days after the pig roast, we would get in a camper or a tent depending, early on it was a tent and then a camper, with no itinerary.”

Combs said her father had a strong faith, reading the Bible daily and making sure to attend church every Sunday. He even made sure to find a service to attend with his family on the long road trips, she said.

“He was a tremendous Christian,” Everett said. “With what he read in the Bible and his beliefs; Roger went by that.”

Those who knew him said he also had a strong belief in the importance of friendship. His friends have countless fishing stories and travel memories, and tales of his knack for practical jokes.

An example of one of Hoffman’s practical jokes was the time Hoffman and Everett booked a nice campsite for one of their road trips. Before arrival, they decided to prank Everett’s wife, Linda. They pulled up to what was essentially a camper junkyard, and pretended it was their campsite. After keeping his cool for a little while, they recall Hoffman erupting in laughter before they got back on the road and drove to the actual campsite.

“I don’t want to forget these memories, and I don’t know how to describe a friendship like that,” Everett said. “You try to Google the definition of ‘friend,’ you will never find one that would live up to him.”

In addition to his daughter, Hoffman is survived by his father, Elmer Hoffman, of Hamilton;  a brother, Albert Hoffman, of Phoenix, Arizona; four grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews, and great nieces and great nephews. He also is survived by those his family called his honorary children: Michelle Ruf, Michael Everett, Marcus Everett, Jason Parsons, and their children.

Hoffman was predeceased by his mother, Fern Kuykendoll Hoffman, and his son Adam Neal Hoffman.

Funeral services were held Feb. 21, at Ogle and Paul R. Young Funeral Home in Oxford. A “Celebration of Roger’s Life” was held afterward in the Collinsville Elementary School Cafeteria, where Hoffman attended grade school.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Adam Hoffman Scholarship Fund or College Heights Foundation, Adam Hoffman Scholarship Fund, Roger Hoffman Memorial, 1703 Chestnut St., Bowling Green, KY 42101.