Donald Hoffer

Donald L. Hoffer, who spent nearly 14 years as superintendent of beaches for the Town of Falmouth, died December 13. He was 84.

He was the husband of Patricia A. (Jordan) Hoffer for 58 years.

After being hired as the town’s assistant beach superintendent in August 2000, Mr. Hoffer was named beach superintendent in February 2003, remaining in that position until the last day of 2016.

“For 16 years, my summers have been very busy,” he said during an interview the month before his retirement. “You work six or seven days a week, and you don’t have that much time for yourself.”

Mr. Hoffer was born in Boston, the son of Leo and Elizabeth (Hassis) Hoffer. After graduating from the United States Coast Guard Academy in 1959, he attended the University of Michigan, where he earned a master’s degree in naval architecture and marine and mechanical engineering in 1965.

He worked for the next 22 years with the Coast Guard, holding numerous positions including construction project officer for Hamilton Class high endurance cutters, director of the New England region’s engineering division and director of the Coast Guard’s support facility in Boston. His service afloat was on the cutters Eagle, McCulloch and Coos Bay and the icebreakers Eastwind and Edisto. He retired as a captain in 1987 after three years as USCG deputy chief of engineering in Washington, DC.

In September 1986 he accepted a job as assistant general manager for the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard & Nantucket Steamship Authority.

He and his wife bought a lot on Captain Davis Lane during an excursion to Cape Cod when they were visiting Boston for the Christmas holidays. “Things were quiet,” he said, and it was winter and there was nothing going on, but “I’d like to say that within fifteen minutes I bought that land.” The couple built their house on the property in 1978.

When the post of assistant general manager was eliminated at the Steamship Authority, Mr. Hoffer became special projects director until that position was eliminated in 1989.

He worked for the next decade at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography. There, he served as port engineer aboard Endeavor, the university research vessel.

He spent eight years on the Falmouth Beach Committee prior to being hired as the town’s assistant beach superintendent. Despite coming into the job with an extensive résumé, Mr. Hoffer said there was “no comparison” between his past jobs and his role as beach superintendent. He recalled busying himself with different projects during the off-season, while his summers were spent overseeing a staff of about 80 lifeguards and other seasonal employees posted each year across the town’s 10 beaches.

“I made it a point to know all of the kids,” he said. “I wanted to know where they were going to school and so on. I always thought that it was important as a supervisor to get out there.”

In addition to his interactions with staff, Mr. Hoffer prepared the beach department’s budget for each fiscal year among his many other responsibilities.

After his retirement from the beach department, Mr. Hoffer returned to fill in for acting beach superintendent Bruce G. Mogardo when he was out on medical leave. He remained employed in a part-time capacity as a beach consultant until 2019.

Mr. Hoffer served as a Town Meeting member for Precinct Four. A longtime member of the Rotary Club of Falmouth, he received the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow Award in 2018.

He belonged to St. Anthony’s Church in East Falmouth, serving as a lector, a Eucharistic minister and as an active volunteer in the St. Vincent de Paul community outreach. Mr. Hoffer received the Marian Medal in recognition of his dedicated service to the parish.

For recreation he enjoyed golfing and fishing.

In addition to his wife, he leaves his children, Donald L. Hoffer Jr. and his wife, Karen Hoffer, of Manteo, North Carolina, Douglas J. Hoffer and his wife, Andrea Hoffer, of Pepperell, and Stefanie F. Hoffer of East Falmouth; five grandchildren, Bradley Hoffer, Katherine Hoffer, Megan Hoffer, Alison Hoffer and Caroline Hoffer; two great-grandchildren, Bryce Hoffer and Laurel Hoffer; and extended family.

Visitation will be today, from 4 to 7 PM at Chapman Funerals & Cremations, 475 Main Street in Falmouth.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated tomorrow at 10 AM at St. Anthony’s Church, 167 East Falmouth Highway.

Burial will follow at St. Anthony’s Cemetery in East Falmouth.

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