August 22, 1941 – August 19, 2016
The world became a much duller place last week, when Sandy Hoffman was found dead at his home in Missouri Flats. He had been in poor health for many months and was just a few days short of his 76th birthday.
After the death of his much loved wife, Stephanie, in 2010, he had continued to live in their Missouri Flats cabin with their cats, Fergus and Shorty.
Sandy, who rarely used his legal name of Robert Ralph, found his way to Central City in the early 1960’s before being drafted. He returned to Central after he was discharged from the army.
Sandy grew up in a military family sometimes living in the south and could easily slide into a slow southern drawl whenever it suited.
He quickly became a true Central City-ite, starring in many roles including hippy, gunslinger, horse-shoer, biker, storyteller and generous and helpful neighbor. He also claimed to be a rancher who raised free-range rabbits.
Those who were lucky enough to call him a friend remember full-moon festivals at the Flats and many hours spent shooting the breeze and trading stories; whether at his home or the old Red Bandana saloon, the Gold Coin, Glory Hole, Silver Slipper, 59’er, Gilded Garter or Toll Gate. Sandy gleefully recounted tales of how he had spent more than one night in jail for rowdy behavior; and was very proud of having been arrested three times in one day in Central. He very much loved to wrangle with the judge he fondly called “Maximum Fred.”
Extremely well read, he was a quick draw with his wit and super fast with a comeback. His column on etiquette was a regular feature in The Little Kingdom Come, where he easily held the record for the number of appearances as the gunslinger centerfold – or maybe his record appearances only came in a distant second to Stephanie’s.
One of the founding members of the Central City Press Club, Hoffman routinely began each meeting in the Gold Coin the way such gatherings were started in the early years of Central City history – by firing a six-shooter at the ceiling to get the crowd’s attention.
Skinny as a toothpick. Sharp as a tack. His smile was wicked and his eyes still twinkled right up to the end. Sandy is survived by his twin sister, a niece and many, many friends. He died from natural causes and a whole heck of a lot of lonesomeness for Stephanie.
Please join his friends at Dostal Alley on Saturday, September 10th at 2 p.m. to hoist a drink in his honor.