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Gen David Bechtold Hoff
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Birth: Aug. 31, 1932
Death: Feb. 27, 2008

MADISON - Brig. Gen. David B. Hoff, retired, died Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008, in Madison surrounded by his family. He was born Aug. 31, 1932, the son of Oscar Frederick and Elsie Marie (Bechtold) Hoff.
He started working at age 6 selling newspapers, and later worked in tobacco barns and a canning factory. He graduated from West Salem High School in 1949, where he played on the baseball, basketball and football teams, was a cheerleader, played the tuba and sang in the school choir. He graduated with high honors from the UW-Madison School of Business with a degree in accounting in 1953. While in school he joined the Air Force R.O.T.C., and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Kappa Psi, Phi Eta Sigma, Beta Gamma Sigma, and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. He belonged to the Entertainers' Guild, was a member of the Haresfoot Club for four years and was elected to serve as its business manager after he graduated. He was one of about 30 undergraduates throughout the U.S. to be awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship for graduate study in 1953. In 1954 he received a commission as second lieutenant in the Air Force, and completed his pilot training in 1956. He served a tour of active duty from 1955 to 1958 in Texas, Florida and Furstenfeldbruck AFB in Germany, where he trained German air force pilots. Hoff played on the "Fursty" basketball team, traveling around Europe and winning the Mutual Defense Alliance Pact championship in 1957. In 1958, he returned to Madison and joined the Wisconsin Air National Guard (WI ANG) as a pilot, serving until 1989 when he retired as air commander of Truax Air Base and wing commander of the 128th Tactical Fighter Wing. He was responsible for leading the 128th TFW back into the jet age following its near deactivation and the removal of its jets in the 1970s, leading with the motto "dedicated to excellence." He graduated from the USAF Air War College in 1975, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1978. General Hoff worked regularly with members of Congress in the WI ANG congressional liaison program, which he initiated. He received Sen. William Proxmire's Reverse Golden Fleece Award in 1984 and the Reader's Digest Hero Award in 1985 for personally purchasing and expediting the installment of safety clips that prevented the disconnection of pressurized hoses attached to the gravity suits of A-10 pilots. He retired with more than 6,000 hours flying time, including 1,000 hours flying the A-10 Thunderbolt II. He then served as deputy executive director of the National Guard Association of the United States from 1992 to 1993 in Washington, D.C.; and in 1994, General Hoff was inducted into the WI ANG Hall of Fame. He said the best thing he did in life was being in the WI ANG. General Hoff was a charter member of West Side Memorial Post 151 of the American Legion. In 2006 he gave the last of his many Memorial Day speeches at Sunset Memory Gardens in Madison. He was a chartered life underwriter, and formed Hoff and Lem, Inc., in 1963. In addition, he belonged to many professional organizations and associations. In 1989, at the age of 56, he graduated cum laude from UW-Madison Law School, having served as associate editor of the Law Review, and was a member of the Order of the Coif. He practiced law through 2005 with the same enthusiasm and dedication that he devoted to all of his pursuits. His volunteer involvement included chairman of the Madison Chamber of Commerce Industrial Development Committee, mayoral appointment to the City of Madison Economic Development Committee, chairing the Citizens' Advisory Committee on the Dane County Regional Airport Expansion, membership in the City of Madison Industrial Land Bank Board and the City of Madison Industrial Development Commission, and serving as technical adviser to the Dane County Noise Abatement Committee. He also served as treasurer to the South Side Coalition of the Elderly. He attended Divine Savior United Methodist Church, and was a past member of Christ Presbyterian Church. General Hoff had a beautiful baritone voice and sang his entire life. He played the ukulele, banjo and guitar. He loved music, from opera to Johnny Cash and the Goose Island Ramblers. He was a member of Nakoma Golf Club for 50 years. He played city league basketball and coached girls high school softball. His fastpitch softball pitching career spanned seven decades, winning the City of Madison championship in 1972 and the National Air Guard tournaments in 1976-78. Proud of his Norwegian heritage, he enjoyed the annual Hoff reunions in Stoughton and Pigeon Falls. He had a wonderful sense of humor, and valued it in others. Hoff encouraged and supported his children and grandchildren in academics, athletics, music, theater and other interests.
General Hoff is survived by his wife, Patricia; brothers, Oscar and Ralph; sister, Carla, and brother-in-law, Reynolds Tomter; sister-in-law Dolores Hoff; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Dr. William and Barbara Hass; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Dr. Louis and Ruth Shifrin; daughters, Dr. Frederica (Andrew) Schuster and Kristine (Robert) Schriesheim; son, Seth; and grandchildren, Karen, Eric, David and Rebecca Schriesheim, and Heidi, Joseph and Adrienne Schuster; many cousins, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; his aunt and uncle, Becky and Whit Huff; sisters, Dorothea Tomter and Fredrika Fremstad; brother, Richard; sister-in-law, Ruth Hoff; and brothers-in-law, Norman Harrington and Thurman Fremstad.
A memorial service with military honors will be held in Madison on Friday, May 23, 2008. Contact Cress Funeral Home at 608-238-3434, or for details.
Cards may be sent to P.O. Box 44324, Madison, WI 53744.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to The Association for Families, 1919 E. Grange Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53707, (provides support for ANG members and their families); University of Wisconsin Foundation, David B. Hoff Scholarship, PO Box 78807, Milwaukee, WI 53278; or Massachusetts General Hospital ALS Clinical Research, c/o Jocelyn Hoey, MGH Development, 165 Cambridge St., Boston, MA 02114.
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth.
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings,
Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind swept heights with easy grace,
Where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
- John Gillespie Magee Jr.

Created by: James Seidelman
Record added: Mar 07, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 25127479
Gen David Bechtold Hoff
Added by: James Seidelman
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 Added: Mar. 7, 2008

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