CANON CITY — John (Hans) Alexander Hofmann, 85, DIED peacefully in his sleep on Sept. 8, 2012, surrounded by family.
Born March 12, 1927 in Sutz-Lattrigen Switzerland to Albert and Lina Rothenbuhler Hofmann, John attended primary school until 1942. From 1943 to 1944 he was a forestry apprentice in Apples, Switzerland. He then served as a Corporal in the Swiss Army in 1945 in mountain rescue and survival training.
He attended trade school for cabinet-makers and wood in-lay work from 1946 to 1949 in Biel and Berne Switzerland.
John immigrated to America in 1949 aboard the ocean liner, the R.M.S. Queen Elizabeth, in search of relatives in New York and Chicago. He apprenticed as a cabinetmaker in Chicago.
He held a dual citizenship of Switzerland and the U. S. since 1955. He was a linguist in English, German and French.
Johnenlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1954 and served at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, mustering out with an honorable discharge as airman first class in 1958. John received several commendations as the Air Force Woodworking Instructor.
He met Mary Laura Gladin of Fountain at the Snowjets Ski Club and they were married May 26, 1957, in Albuquerque, N.M.
In 1960 they moved to Hartsel and operated the Holiday Inn Hartsel Hotel until their move to Cañon City in 1962. After taking a course in architecture, John began his trade as a master stonemason and construction contractor. His artistry in stone includes fireplaces, forest service signs, houses, storefronts and many buildings across Colorado and the U.S. His restoration work in Cañon City includes the Raynold’s Bank, Robison and Gibson Mansions. John did stonework on many area homes including the historic Adkisson homestead of Dr. Marc Sindler and the stone addition on the home of Gene Farish in Monte Vista.
From 1974 to 1977, he constructed the stonework and fireplaces on Malcomb Forbes› Blanca Trinchera Ranch near Ft. Garland. He worked for Western Waterproofing in 1988 to restore the stonework on the Governor’s Mansion and St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Denver.
In 1982, he worked as masonry foreman for Bruce-Anderson Co. on the barracks complex at Laughlin Air Base in Del Rio, Texas. In 1984, he worked as the superintendent for Roth & Radcliffe Co. on a flight simulator building for F-16 jet fighters at Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix, Ariz.. He was foreman and assistant superintendent on rebuilding the barrack’s complex at Davis Monthan Air Base in Tucson.
In 1997, he restored churches and buildings in Monte Vista and the Windsor Hotel in Del Norte.
From 1995 to 1999, John worked for Sherman R. Smoot Company as the foreman to replace marble panels on the capitol and senate buildings in Columbus, Ohio.
For John›s outstanding masonry work, he received the 1999 Craftsmanship Award from The Builders Exchange of Central Ohio.
In 2001, he began a several-year restoration project on the historic Temple of Aaron Synagogue in Trinidad, Colo. His stone masonry and historic restoration work has been featured in numerous magazines and newspaper articles in the U.S and Switzerland.
His last restoration projects were to restore gravestones in the Greenwood Cemetery in Cañon City and, in 2011 at the age of 84, to rebuild a stone fireplace at the historic Canda home in Westcliffe, Colo.
John was an expert skier and mountaineer, climbing the Matterhorn in Switzerland and using his skills as a volunteer for the Colorado Civil Air Patrol on numerous rescue missions. He enjoyed bowling, gardening, fishing and hunting, beekeeping, making wine and traveling to Switzerland with friends and family.
He was a member of The United Presbyterian Church, Florence Elks Lodge where he served as PER, Grand District Deputy Exalted Ruler and State Chaplain for Colorado; the Masonic Lodge as a past Master of Mt Moriah #15 and a 32nd degree Mason and member of the Shriners, Kalyvairs and Flivvers.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Albert Hofmann in 1947 and Lina Hofmann in 1990; and sisters, Verena Uttinger and Martha Ruegsegger.
He is survived by brothers, Albert, Fritz and Ernst Hofmann of Sutz-Lattrigen; sister, Klara Ruf of Murgenthal; and many nieces and nephews in Switzerland.
Also surviving are his wife of 55 years, Mary L. Hofmann, and children, Robert (Natasha) Hofmann, Frank Hofmann, Susi (Thomas) Ley, Sylvia (Stephan) Calhoun, Hans Rudi (Wendy) Hofmann, Sandy (Bob) Lubarski and Heidi Longnecker; many grand children and great-grand children.
An open house celebration will be held in John’s honor from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, at 319 N. 19th Street, Cañon City, with a memorial service at 2 p.m. in the backyard gardens.
John’s last wish was to be cremated.