Dr. Charles Hoffer, a well known name in any music appreciation class across the country, died peacefully on Monday, May 3 at the age of 87 after battling an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer.
Born in Lansing, Michigan in 1929, Hoffer earned his undergraduate degree in Music Education at Michigan State, a master’s in Music Literature from the Eastman School of Music, and his Ph.D. in Music and Higher Education at Michigan State. He spent 14 years teaching public schools in New York, Michigan and Missouri. Dr. Hoffer then moved on to become a faculty member of Indiana University. Finally, in 1984, he arrived at the University of Florida. He served as head of Music Education from 1984 to 1996. After 29 years of service to UF’s School of Music, he retired with his wife, Mimi.
“Charles’ professional achievements were a model for all faculty members to aspire to,” said Dr. Kevin Orr, director of the School of Music. “He was gentle, kind and well known in the world of music education.”
Upon review, his dedication to music is beyond what someone could imagine. Dr. Hoffer wrote 45 textbooks plus revisions that became the standard in music classes worldwide. Ancillary active listening guides became a standard in music classes at universities by Hoffer’s doing. A full list of Dr. Hoffer’s professional achievements can be found on his Wikipedia page and obituary.
Dr. Bill Bauer, director of the online master’s program of Music Education at UF, associate professor, and area head of music education, had known about Hoffer for years before he finally met him. Beginning to teach at the college level, Bauer used Hoffer’s Introduction to Music Education book.
“Dr. Hoffer influenced my thinking about the preparation of music teachers and what music education should be,” Bauer said.
Six years ago, Bauer came to UF and worked closely with Hoffer to launch the online master’s program.
“It was like being around a legend,” Bauer said. “And once you met him, he was the nicest person in addition to all of his professional accomplishments.”
They would meet for breakfast at Perkins to discuss revisions for the program and the class Hoffer taught, even after retiring as a professor on campus.
Dr. Russell Robinson, professor emeritus of Music Education at UF, worked under Hoffer for 12 years, then became his boss for another 18.
“He is an icon of our profession,” said Robinson. “Mention Charles Hoffer and everybody respects him. We worked together over 30 years and we never had a cross word.”
In his eulogy, Robinson reverently spoke of Hoffer. He described him as a:
“Gentleman's gentleman, and a model of collegiality for all. Universities are constantly in a state of change, and not always desirable ones. Charles was my close colleague through all of those changes, but more importantly, Charles and I were close friends through real life and personal highs and lows.”
A ceremony was held for Hoffer at Holy Faith Catholic Church from 7-8 p.m. on Monday, May 8. A funeral mass was then held the next day at 9:30 a.m. Hoffer is survived by his wife, Mimi, his sister, two children, six grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. He is already missed by many, and has set precedents in the world of Music Education that will be difficult to eclipse.