John T. Hofmann
Educator, Organist and Music Scholar
December 1, 1934 to September 29, 2018
John was born and raised in Western New York, son of the late John T. Hofmann, Sr., and Florence (Baumann) Hofmann; step-son of the late Elsa (Daum) Hofmann.
While attending Buffalo Public Schools, early on he acquired a talent for piano, which eventually led him to his life’s work and career as an organist and composer. His passion for music composition began while in grade school at P.S. 78, where John wrote the school’s anthem which is still in use today. Classically trained, John was well known and highly respected among the WNY music community.
After completing high school, he attended Oberlin Conservatory of Music and in 1956 earned his undergraduate degree. It was at Oberlin that he met his former wife, Carol Barrett, with whom he had two children.
He then went on to serve his country, volunteering for the Army and becoming a Chaplain’s Assistant playing organ for the troops, which continued throughout his tour of duty in Germany.
Upon completing his military obligation, John enrolled at the University of Michigan where he obtained his Masters of Music. He then went on to complete his doctorate (PhD) at Eastman School of Music under David Craighead, writing his dissertation on the career of renowned Belgian composer Flor Peeters, and in 1978 published a book on the composer’s life and works.
Professor Hofmann began teaching Music Theory and Organ Performance at SUNY Fredonia in 1960, where he remained until full retirement in 1996. During this time, John also served as Organist and Choir Director at Trinity Episcopal Church, a post he held for over 30 years, traveling twice weekly year round from Fredonia to Buffalo to direct the choir and play the organ he so loved. Also during his tenure at Trinity, he escorted the choir to Europe where the chorus gave several highly acclaimed performances.
John was also a past Dean of the Buffalo Chapter, American Guild of Organists. He served as Program Director for the organization’s national convention in 1970.
After several years in retirement, he and wife Susan made the decision to forego the snowbird life and moved permanently to south Florida. In Ft Lauderdale, John would on occasion serve as guest organist at All Saints Episcopal Church, where he had become a member.
John is survived by his wife of 32 years, Susan (Martin) Hofmann; son Paul (Mary Chris) Hofmann, and daughter Lynn (Brian) Hofmann Waterfield; sisters Eleanor Molnar, and Elisa Sartini, and brother Karl (Haley) Hofmann; brother-in-law Ron Martin; grandchildren Ryan Ottney, Megan Waterfield, Jason Waterfield and Sarah Hofmann; nephews Tim Molnar and Robert Sartini and niece Holly (Michael) Ginnick. He also leaves behind cousins and many life long friends.
Flowers gratefully declined. A Memorial Service in John’s honor will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Sat. December 22, at St. Josephs University Church in Buffalo.
Remembrances in John’s honor may be made to: UNYTS, 110 Broadway, Buffalo, NY 14203 Attn: Maureen, or Buffalo Chapter AGO, c/o Roger Dahl, 1205 Youngs Rd., Apt D, Williamsville, NY 14221.