The Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame Association
Richard E. Hoffman Ph. D. Inducted 2005 - Class of 1964
Entered Woodward, freshman, fall of 1960, retired Woodward, teacher, June 2003. It would be so simple to sum up the Woodward career of Dick Hoffman by emphasizing the length of his career as a student and teacher at Woodward. And forty-three years at Woodward is, indeed, an achievement worth noting. However, it's the richness of the years in between, that is the real achievement.
Dick was raised in the Galena Street neighborhood of North Toledo. It was like the main street of a small town. While attending Riverside Grade School, Dick favorite haunts were the Galena Street Library and Edith’s Sweet Shoppe.
Dick began his career at Woodward as a Freshman in the Class of 1964 in the fall of 1960. Many of the friends he met at Woodward are friends nearly thirty-seven years later. Lester Schultz and Dennis Thayer were from the Galena Street neighborhood. Thom Jacob was a fellow band member. Don Reinbolt, Phil Kaufman, Gene Collins, George Gusses, Judy Youngman, and Ilga Baumanis were
members of the Woodward Chapter of the National Forensics League, a speech and debate society. Besides band and the speech department, Dick was also a member of the National Honor Society. Chuck Sawyer was a senior that Dick admired. In his freshman Saga Chuck wrote, "I hope to see you here someday." on the Honor Society page. And Dick fulfilled that challenge. Dick was also a member of JCL (Latin Chili), Aequatatis, Student Council, and appeared on-stage in many Extravs.
As a Woodward student, band director Sam Szor and English teachers Thelma White, Eileen Hudgins, Sarah Feldstein, and Marie Williamson were his favorites. He credits Mr. Szor with making band fun for a less than stellar trombone player who once rammed his mouthpiece into a goal post and spent the rest of the game spitting blood and the English teachers for providing great preparation for his career.
Dick earned a Bachelor’s of Education degree from the University of Toledo, two Master's degrees, and his Ph.D. in English from Bowling Green State University in 1989. Always modest about his achievements, Dick has never been known as "Dr. Hoffman", but the Hall of Fame Committee is proud to share his accomplishments tonight. Dick taught English for one year at Northwood Local Schools before returning to Woodward as a teacher in 1969. During his thirty-four year teaching career at Woodward, he taught literature and composition, speech and debate, advised clubs and graduating classes, served as TFT Building Rep and as a Building Committee member, was Chainman of the English Department for over twenty years, served as Intern Consultant for Toledo Public Schools, served on activity, athletic, curriculum, and textbook committees, directed many Extravs including "Oliver", "Carnival", and "Gypsy". In his spare time, he taught Communications Classes at UT and General Studies Writing at BGSU and was twice appointed a Martha Holden Jennings Scholar.
Dave McMurray was Aequatatis advisor when Dick was a student. Dick remembers that the Aequatatis would hold parties at the Macomber Lodge at Pearson Park. "Dave impressed me as a student to do everything with class and has influenced much of my life including my career and raising a family." Sue Dahlmeyer became Dick's best friend at Woodward. Thirty-seven years later, Dick still describes Sue, his wife of thirty-seven years, as his best friend. He also says that at least three of the "Macomber Lodge romances" from those Aequatatis days have blossomed into thirty-five year + marriages.
Dick and Sue have two children, Lawel and Jay who both followed Dick and Sue into careers in education. Laurel and her husband James Chuke live in Westlake, Ohio where she teaches fourth grade. Jay and his wife Laura Dachenhaus live Danville, Kentucky, where Jay coaches women's soccer at Center College. Dick and Sue have two grandchildren, Olivia and Landon Clarke.
When informed of his induction into the Hall of Fame, Dick "felt proud, nostalgic, and assured the Committee that no one is more grateful for this honor." At his retirement luncheon, a video was shown of Dick performing a "rap" that he wrote and performed for his students. He rapped about the past and the present at Woodward and used the current interests of students to deliver a message of high standards, hard work, and pride in yourself and your community. From Mayor Shinn to rappin' in the 21st century, Dick Hoffman is WHS at its best!