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Helmut "George" Hoffmann, 91

Helmut "George" Hoffmann, 91

Helmut "George" Hoffmann died on Sunday, April 20, 2014, at the Elizabeth House in Flat Rock, NC, at the age of 91.

Born in Breslau, Germany in 1922, Helmut served his country's Air Force in WWII from 1940 until his capture by Allied Forces in Tunisia in 1943. He was a prisoner of war in San Francisco until 1946 when he returned to his devastated homeland. He married his lifelong sweetheart Ella Mader in October of 1947, and completed studies at the University of Heidelberg while working as Coordinator of Public Relations and Special Events with the American Forces in Heidelberg.

In 1951, he and his wife migrated to Toronto, Canada, where Helmut began his long association with the Massey Ferguson Corporation, starting out with a night job in the machine shop and working his way up, through diligent study and business acumen, to his eventual position of Comptroller of the North American Service Division (1976). He balanced additional translating/journalism jobs, consulting work, moving his family to Des Moines IA and Racine WI, acquiring US citizenship, raising 2 children, and maintaining family ties in Europe.

Upon his retirement in 1984, Helmut and Ella moved to Hendersonville to explore and enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery. He cultivated many special friendships during these years, particularly with bridge mates. Helmut lived with gentle dignity and thoughtful respect for each person he met, and found that all the challenges, struggles, risks and successes made his a "life worth living."

He was preceded in death by his wife Ella, his daughter Kathleen, parents Franz and Hedwig Hoffmann, siblings Gerhard, Rudi, and Anni. He is survived and will be sadly missed by his son Robert "Peter" (and Sandra) Hoffman of Duluth, Minn.; grandchildren Brian Johnson of Milwaukee, Wisc., Julie Sheriff of Racine, Wisc., Dylan Christensen of Racine Wisc., Samuel and Benjamin Hoffman of Duluth, Minn.; great-grandchildren Gavin and Ava Sheriff of Racine, Wisc.; sisters Heidi and Elizabeth in Germany, nieces Renate Leimgruber, Angelika Melzer, and numerous other relatives and friends across Europe, Canada, and the USA.

The family extends heartfelt thanks for the compassionate care provided by Four Seasons Hospice, first in the home setting and then at the Elizabeth House.

A graveside service will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, April 25, 2014, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

An online register book is available for family and friends by visiting

Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors is in charge of arrangements.