The Storyteller’s Story
“So, recently, with the losses in my family, I’ve been analyzing (i.e. overthinking) my place in life regarding family passed and family living. I was very fortunate to experience, as a young child, my great-grandmother Mae Salter‘s kitchen. She would sit me up on her countertop and I would watch while she made her famous popcorn balls. As the years passed, she departed, along with all my grandparents on both sides. I have so many good memories of them all! Time kept moving (”Tempus Fugit“), and before long, I lost my Dad, my Mom, and my older sister. That was all a LOT of my living history! So, with all that being said, and regarding my children and grandchildren, I now find myself in that “pole position”, logically next to depart Planet Earth, still holding onto my golden ticket. Times are so much different now ... families are spread out ... activities and work fill our schedules. Reach out to your parents/grandparents, and great-grands, aunts and uncles if you are so fortunate. They have a lot of family history to pass on to you! I just want my kids and grandkids to know I’m not planning on going anywhere soon, but if I do, I hope you’ll know how much I cared for each and every one of you! I’m hoping over the next few years, you’ll ask when Kim is going to take my iPhone away from me! LOL Love you! – August 24, 2020 by Paul Hoffman
Paul Wade Hoffman was born in Sterling, Kansas on August 10, 1952. He was the only and favorite son of Dean and Ruth Hoffman. He grew up in Alden, Kansas and his family moved to Lyons, Kansas when he was in high school. Paul considered all three communities, Alden, Lyons and Sterling, his home.
His parents were high school sweethearts, and he learned to love by witnessing their love daily. His mother, Ruth, passed away in June of this year. His father passed in 2013.
Paul also had two sisters. His sister, Francene Mendoza, was six years older than him. Francene passed away in July of this year. His other sister, Tere Camilletti, was four years younger than him. Being the boy in the family (and the middle child), he felt it was not only his right but his duty to torment his sisters during his childhood, and as he has always done with everything in his life, he tormented them to the best of his ability. He survived his childhood by simply being the fastest runner.
Paul joined the Navy in 1970. His three-year stint in the Navy was the only time he ever lived outside Rice County, Kansas. He went to work for Northern Gas Products in 1973 and joined the Kansas Air National Guard in 1983 where he earned his 20-year military retirement. Also, during this time, he became known as the best photographer in Rice County, Kansas. His love for stories came to life in his photography.
In 2001, he began working for the City of Sterling and stayed there until Kansas Ethanol decided to tempt him with learning new processes. Paul loved to learn. He also loved that he was getting a chance to become a professional distiller.
In 2008, he joined Kansas Ethanol and joked he would never retire from the job he loved. Family was the most important part of Paul’s life, and his Kansas Ethanol family gave him great joy. He loved being the oldest guy working there, and he also loved when his “peers” would call him old. He would whip out his little notebook and write down the harassing comments, saying, “Someday I’m going to own this company.”
Some of his best friends, to this day, work for Kansas Ethanol.
In the prime of his life, Paul married his wife, Kim, on October 17, 1997. He called her his partner in crime, his best friend, and together they just fit. Their anniversary date is noted here for posterity, because neither one of them could ever remember it.
Paul had three children and Kim had two children, and they loved and laughed and learned how to make a blended family work. While they both agreed that five kids were aplenty, they both had a sincere love for dogs. At one point in their life, they had two Jack Russells and two Airedales. When friends would ask if they had four dog houses outside, they would both smile and say they only had one doghouse, and they happened to live in it, too.
As years passed, they continued to pamper their pooches, throwing another Airedale, Hopper’s Catfish Cooper, and two Italian Greyhounds, Olive and Piper into the mix. They lost their beloved Cooper in 2019. Olive and Piper continue their reign of the doghouse.
Paul loved all his children and all his grandchildren with all his might. His oldest daughter, Hannah Nesbitt (married to Dan), has followed in her dad’s footsteps. She, too, is a language nerd at heart. Hannah introduced Paul’s first granddaughter to the family, Kamy. And because that wasn’t enough, she followed up with three additional granddaughters: Kenzy, Krosby, and Kruze.
Paul’s only and favorite son, Drew, also followed in his dad’s footsteps, straight into the Navy. Drew introduced the first grandson to the family, Brody. Drew married his wife, Danyel, and instantly Paul had two more grandchildren, Addison and Colt.
Paige Moore (married to Matt) resembles her father in so many ways. If you look at Paige in the eyes, you will see her father. When it comes to making people laugh, Paige has the same knack as her dad—jokesters at heart and hearts full of love and laughter. Paige added the most recent member to Paul’s wonderful, crazy family, Tucker. With all the women in the family, Paul was elated with the addition of more testosterone.
Alyssa Calbert (married to Jared) followed a path in photography, just like her dad. Together Paul and Alyssa would geek out on camera settings and lighting, while Kim would just offer up the easier autofocus option. Alyssa learned how to love and laugh from her dad and she married someone just like him.
Katelyn Johnson was Paul’s favorite forever daughter. Paul learned many things from Katelyn, like the simplicity of celebrating Christmas through the eyes of a child and writing birthday wish lists. Paul adored Katelyn and everything she brought to his life.
Beyond his family and his work, Paul was a life-long collector of things that held meaning to him. His love for history and his love for family intertwined. His love for Corona (beer, that is) was one he shared with his family, his friends, and his dog, Cooper.
While Paul may be gone from Planet Earth, his story continues through the words and sentiments of his family and the people who knew and loved him best.
As we end this chapter, the final thought comes from Paul’s file called “Life”.
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, “WOO HOO! What a ride!"
What a ride, Paul Hoffman. What a ride!
Funeral services will be live streamed at 10:00 A.M., Saturday, December 19, 2020 on Birzer Funeral Home’s FaceBook Page. Please use the attached link to view https://fb.me/e/FNcKUsp3 Memorials may be given to the University of Kansas St. Francis COVID ICU Unit in care of Birzer Funeral Home, Sterling.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13