Blogging Prompts, Hoffmann Line, Obituaries, Sentimental Sunday, Swing

Sentimental Sunday -Grandma Hoffmann

Grandma Velma Marie (Swing) Hoffmann died nine years ago today at the age of ninety. Even after nearly a decade, she continues to play a role in the lives of those of us who knew her, sometimes quite literally, as on one Thanksgiving when, reaching to pull rolls out of the oven in preparation for sitting down at the dining room table spread with her dishes, I could inexplicably detect her scent.

One of Grandma’s books I inherited was her copy of the 1928 pioneer novel A Lantern in Her Hand. I can’t count the number of times I read this book while growing up (and afterward) but I remember most clearly seeing Grandma’s old copy sitting on the end table in the living room. This book and the story of Abbie Deal became entwined through the years with my thoughts about Grandma, but it was actually Abbie’s husband Will Deal who, before his untimely death, had told his wife that if he were to be taken from her, he would “go on with her, remembering…”


Beloved mother and grandmother, Velma M. Hoffmann was born Feb. 19, 1917, at Francesville, Ind. She died July 3, 2007, at Boise.

Velma was the daughter of Albert Carl and Lena (Hunkler) Swing, the second of three children. At the age of 2, she and her family moved to Elmwood, Ill., to live on her grandparents’ farm, then later moved to a farm south of the town of Wing, Ill., and then to a house in Wing. In the mid-1930s, Velma and her family moved to Forrest, Ill., where Velma attended high school. She graduated from Forrest Township High School as valedictorian of her senior class in 1933, at the age of 16. It was about this time that Velma met her future husband, Joseph Hoffmann of Fairbury, Ill., at a family gathering.

In February, 1934, Velma began working at the Corn Hog Assn. in Peoria, Ill., and in 1935, took her first trip to Idaho, along with her brother, future husband and several friends, all in a Model A Ford.

She married Joseph Hoffmann on March 12, 1938, at Peoria. She continued working for the Corn Hog Assn., then later worked at the Rock Island Arsenal where she was employed until 1940 when she and Joe moved to Idaho. They first lived in an 18-foot trailer parked below Canyon Hill, then moved to Boise where she worked for the Selective Service. In May 1942, they moved to Portland, Ore., where Joe worked in the shipyards as a welder. Their first daughter, Linda, was born in Portland. They returned to Idaho in 1943, first to a farm in Kuna and then to a farm outside Caldwell. At this time, their son Jay was born. In 1947, they moved into a house on Canyon Hill in Caldwell and while living here, Velma’s third and fourth children, daughters, Paula and Carla were born.

Velma assisted her husband in his business, Hoffman Sheet Metal, until Joe’s death in 1983. She was active in PTA in the Caldwell School District while her children were attending school there. Velma’s primary occupation was mother and homemaker, which were to her the most important and valuable jobs any person could have. The most important thing in her life was her family and her happiest times were when all her family joined together for holidays and special occasions. She was always a lover of children and of animals and in particular cherished the companionship of her last loving pet, a Siamese cat named Sam.

She was a member of the Grace Lutheran Church in Caldwell and greatly valued her membership in the church choir there.

She is survived by three daughters and their husbands, Linda and Ted Montgomery of Caldwell, Paula and Jim Johnson of Boise and Carla and Bill Oestreich of Eagle; a daughter-in-law, Nancy Hoffmann of Caldwell; four grandchildren, Matt Montgomery and wife Cheryl of Palmyra, VA, Mike Hoffmann and wife Erika of Redondo Beach, CA, Megan Montgomery of Waynesboro, VA and Cindy (Hoffmann) Crabtree and husband Aaron of Eagle and three great-grandchildren, Will, Leo and Owen Crabtree of Eagle.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Joe, her son, Jay, a brother and a sister.
The family would like to express their appreciation to the staff at Alterra and Ashley Manor for their kindness and their care. They would like to thank the members of St. Luke’s Hospice for all their support. In addition, they appreciate beyond measure, the continuing visits and ministries of Pastor Philip Bohlken of Grace Lutheran Church. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, July 9, at Grace Lutheran Church, 2700 S. Kimball, Caldwell. Friends may call Sunday from 1-4 p.m. at Flahiff Funeral Chapel, Caldwell.

Perhaps the most fitting words to describe Velma and her life are those of the Roman philosopher, Marcus Aurelius: “To live happily is an inward power of the soul.”

Blogging Prompts, Fairbury, Hoffmann Line, Obituaries, Research, Slagel, Sunday's Obituary, Swing

Sunday’s Obituary – A Grandma by Any Other Name

Lena and Albert Swing

Last night Mom and I were discussing family names, and how when she was a child she was grateful that she hadn’t been named after either of her grandmothers because she found their names very old-fashioned.

Lena Agnes Hunkler was born 22 December 1892 in Washington, Illinois (hit by the recent devastating tornado). At 20 years of age she married Albert Carl Swing, and they had three children. After living mainly in Illinois and Indiana, they eventually moved to Texas for Lena’s health. Lena died in Harlingen, Texas, on 13 June 1964 and was buried in Restlawn Cemetery in LaFeria. Apparently this newspaper needed to hire a new editor.

Mrs. Lena Swing

Forrest (PNS)–Mrs. Lena Swing, 71, died at 5 a.m. Saturday in Harlingen, Tex.

The Cox Funeral Home is in charge of services, which will be at 2 p.m. Monday in Harlingen. She was the former Lena Hunkler, and was born Dec. 22, 1892, in Washington, Ill. She married Albert Swing June 18, 1913, in Washington. Surviving are her husband; one son, Roy, Harlingen; two daughters, Mrs. Marilyn DuRuary [sic], Harlingen, and Mrs. Thelma Hoffman [sic], Boise, Idaho [sic]; two sisters, Hilda of Missouri [sic], and Bertha of Texas, and a brother, John Hunkler, who lives near Peoria. She and her husband operated the Swing Transfer Co. in Forrest. They left here 18 years ago to move to Texas.

Emma Alice Slagel was born 5 March 1880 in Fairbury, Illinois. She married Paul Hoffmann on 7 December 1902 in Fairbury, and she gave birth to 10 children. Paul died in a tragic railroad accident four days after their youngest child, Clyde’s, seventh birthday. Emma remained in Fairbury, dying on Christmas Day 1961. She is buried in Fairbury’s Graceland Cemetery.

Services for Emma Hoffman Thursday

Mrs. Emma Hoffman, 81, died at her home, 505 S Fourth, at 11:45 a.m. Monday. She had been ill three years.

Her funeral will be at the Cook Funeral Home at 2 p.m. Thursday, Rev. Peter Schaffer officiating. Burial will be in Graceland Cemetery.

Visitation begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.

She was born in Fairbury, March 5, 1880, the daughter of Sam and Mary Demler Slagel. She was married to Paul Hoffman in 1902. He passed away in 1933. She lived on a farm south of Fairbury until moving to town in 1943.

Surviving are three daughters, Mrs. Marie Kilgus, Fairbury; Mrs. Alice Himelick, Kokomo, Ind.; Miss Leona Hoffman, at home; five sons, Joe, Caldwell, Idaho; Sam, Paul, Clyde and Ralph, all of Fairbury; one brother, Dan Slagel, Fairbury; 36 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, a son and a daughter.

She was a member of the Apostolic Church Fairbury.

The family suggests that any tangible expressions of sympathy be in the form of donations to the Cancer Society.

I actually like both “Lena” and “Emma,” but then I tend to like the old-fashioned names best.  Well, usually.  My own grandmothers take the cake in the old-fashioned name department, even if Blanche and Velma were the sweetest grandmas ever.

Blanche Wilson Confirmation Photo, 1926
Velma Swing Graduation Photo, 1933
Blogging Prompts, Friday Funny, Hoffmann Line, Swing

Friday Funny – Grandma’s Pants

 

Velma Swing Wearing Roy’s Pants

This photo is one of many shared with me by Grandma Hoffmann. Luckily I had Grandma’s word for it that this was actually a picture of her, wearing her older brother, Roy’s, pants. I don’t know if there was a particular occasion for this cross-dressing, or if Grandma regularly wore Uncle Roy’s hand-me-downs, but it’s pretty entertaining. I also like the pump there in the corner.

This picture always reminds me of a funny story Grandma once told during a family interview.  Eventually I’ll finish transcribing the interview, but this particular anecdote involves Grandma, storytelling, and a slop bucket. When about three years old, Grandma was talking to her family and walking backward while doing so. She stumbled up against a big bucket in the kitchen where they put scraps and dish water for the hogs, and poor Grandma sat right down in the bucket.  “And everybody laughed at me.  It wasn’t a bit funny.” Though relaying the story all those years later, Grandma was able to laugh.

It reminds me of another NOT FUNNY experience someone else had that involved falling into water accidentally. And also being dressed in someone else’s clothes….