Peter Hoffman, 71, Durham, N.C.

Published 9:38 am Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Peter Michael Hoffman, of Durham, N.C., passed into another life at age 71 on June 9, 2011. He lived a full life volunteering at the Piedmont Wild Life Center, tap dancing, writing music and poetry, welding iron garden trellis’, creating stained glass, ceramics, mixed media sculptures and wooden garden pergolas. He is survived by his loving wife, Suzanne; daughter and son-in- law, Tatyana and Ben Blankenship; and two grandchildren, Bailey, age 14, and Hannah, 9 years old, all of Durham and at his side as he slipped into the next life surrounded by family, friends and Dr. Brooks.


He was born on March 11, 1940, in Albert Lea, to Marcella (Nerud) Zahratka and Pete F. Hoffman. He was the third oldest of 12 children living on Newton Street and leaves behind 11 brothers and sisters, spouses and 70 nieces and nephews. His brothers and sisters are: Jim (Eiko) Hoffman, of Victoria; Christine (Andy) Polis, of Brooklyn Center; Robert (Christy) Hoffman, of New London; Deacon Gary Hoffman (Jacqui) Hoffman, of Chanhassen; Tom (Doris) Hoffman, of Novato, Calif.; Kathy (Bob) Oothoudt, of Albert Lea; Mark (Linda) Hoffman, of Albert Lea; Richard (Marcia) Hoffman, of Albert Lea; Matt (Sue) Hoffman, of Mahtomedi; Cindy (Dave) Martens, of Fairmont; and Mary Hoffman, of Albert Lea. He is preceded in death by his parents, Marcy and Pete Sr. Hoffman, and a niece Christine Hoffman.

Peter’s full life is summed up with his written message on his back yard fire pit, “Sit back, relax and put your feet to the fire.” He was good with language, speaking Russian for the Army and later teaching Russian history in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. In 1971 he returned to Albert Lea, married Suzanne, and became a father to Tatyana in 1972. He opened My Brother’s Woodcarving Shop, becoming a prolific woodcarver while also working at Boyd and Jack’s Super Valu grocery store. Eventually he worked as accomputer programmer in the corporate office of Eden Prairie.

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He and his wife joined the Peace Corps in 1998 teaching ESL in Piastow, Poland. Together they traveled Europe going through Latvia, Russia, Norway, Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, England, Scotland and Iceland. Their daughter, husband and grandson came to visit them in Poland, which resulted in many Polish friends coming to visit and making regular phone calls to the states since 2000. After the Peace Corps, Peter and his wife lived with their daughter’s family in Denver and enjoyed it so much they decided to follow them when Ben accepted a job in Durham.

Peter will be remembered for the humor he put into his art and the many friends he made while tap dancing. He belonged to the Durham Art Guild, Chapel Hill’s Seymour Center’s Footnotes Tap Ensemble and the Piedmont Wildlife Center. He had the full life to, “Sit back, relax and put your feet to the fire”.