James Laurence "Jim" Hoffman, 96, of Ford City, passed away peacefully early August 3, 2020, at Good Samaritan Hospice, Cabot, with his daughter at his side.
Born in Youngstown, OH, on May 9, 1924, he was the fifth of six children to Edward and Elizabeth (Straka) Hoffman, and was the last living sibling, Mr, Hoffman was a 1942 graduate of Struthers High School, and, rather than being drafted, signed up for the Navy in World War II. He was a Fireman 1st Class, serving in the South Pacific near the Admiralty Islands. He was patrolling the harbor when the U.S.S. Mt. Hood exploded.
Upon returning home, he attended what was then Youngstown State College (now YSU) for engineering.
He met his future wife, Elva Jean Burdette, on a blind date while she was visiting relatives in Struthers, and married her on October 6, 1951. When his in-laws needed help at their business, Burdette Lumber, they moved to Ford City, and resided here ever since. After his in-laws' passing, he and his wife owned and operated Burdette Lumber until 1992. People often called him "Mr. Burdette", even long after the business closed, but he always took it in stride.
He was a member of the Ford Memorial Methodist Church, but spent many years attending the First Presbyterian Church, where his daughter was the organist and choir director. He was a member of the choir in both of these churches.
In his younger years, he enjoyed playing cards in a couples club and woodworking. He and his wife always decorated for Christmas. Jim was proud of winning the Ford City Christmas Decorating Contest for "Candy Cane Lane" in the 1960s, having made all the wooden canes, arch, and sign himself. He was often seen riding his bike around town for errands, and to and from the lumberyard. He traded his bicycle in for an electric wheelchair in his later years, and enjoyed riding on Rails-to-Trails with it. His favorite team to watch was the Pittsburgh Steelers, with the Pirates being a close second.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, who passed just five days short of their 63rd anniversary; his siblings, Tom, Lillian, Ed, Bill, and Bob, as well as their spouses; and three nephews.
He is survived by his daughter, Ada Jean, who lovingly was his full time caregiver for the last several years; five nephews; five nieces; and some special cousins on his wife's side.
Friends will be welcomed from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m., Wednesday, in the Welch Funeral Home, 1032 Fourth Ave., Ford City, where funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, with Rev. Brenda Summerhill Schall officiating. Interment will follow in Lawn Haven Burial Estates. As per state mandate regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, no more than 25 people will be permitted inside the funeral home at a time, and a mask or face covering is required. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Ford City Hose Company No. 1, 1000 Fourth Ave., Ford City, PA 16226, or the Ford City Library, 1136 Fourth Ave., Ford City, PA 16226. To send condolences and share memories, please visit www.welchfh.com.
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