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George and Viola Hoffman’s tale was a love story to the end.
The couple passed away within hours of one another Friday at Nazareth Home in Louisville.
“It was always George and Vi,” Dixie Hibbs, former Bardstown mayor who served with George on city council for several years and considered him a mentor, said after learning the news of the couple’s passing.
“As a person in this community, he had so many areas he contributed to,” Hibbs said. “The contributions he made to this community have been an investment to the future of this community.”
Hibbs said George’s wife of seven decades played an important role in her husband’s influence.
“He would not have been able to do as much as he did without the support of Vi.”
The Hoffmans moved to Bardstown in 1954. In a February article in The Kentucky Standard, George said he clearly remembered the day he was turned down for a loan at Wilson & Muir Bank.
He needed the money to buy beer.
The young entrepreneur was a beer distributor who had just gotten his license and was starting his business when he and his wife sold their home in Louisville and moved to Bardstown.
“Jack Muir was the president of the bank at the time, and I went in and asked for a loan. He knew me, and I knew him, but he said, ‘I can’t loan you any money.’”
“I didn’t have anything!”
But a bank teller knew George, and after learning he had been turned down for the loan, interceded on his behalf and convinced the bank that day to loan him the money. He was never refused another.
George retired as a director of the bank about a year ago, at the age of 92.
Almost as soon as he arrived in Bardstown, Hoffman became president of the Jaycees. Over the years, he was also a member of the Optimist Club, chairman of the board of Bethlehem High School, chairman of the board of Flaget Memorial Hospital and a longtime Bardstown City Council member.
Although his civic involvement was significant, it is perhaps as a sponsor of local sports programs that Hoffman is best remembered.
“I think, at one time, I had nine softball teams,” he said. “I enjoyed it more than anything else.”
And he didn’t just support them with his money, but also with his time and enthusiasm.
“I have a memory, as a kid, if one of his teams was in a championship game, we would be in the car, going to New Haven or New Hope or Bardstown High,” to watch the girls play, his youngest daughter, Ginna Schroeder told the Standard in February. “He would be so excited.”