Ronald "Ronnie" Hoffman
April 2, 1943 – January 10, 2021
Ronald Hoffman, whose family business, Hoffman Furniture, has thrived in downtown Mobile for a century, died at home on January 10 after a long illness. The Mobile native was 77 years old.
Known to all as Ronnie, the tall, easy-going businessman was the third generation to run the Hoffman store, a block-long establishment on Dauphin Street, originally general mercantile, founded by Ronnie’s grandparents, Morris and Mary Hoffman, Romanian Jewish immigrants who arrived in Mobile in the early 1900s. The first-generation Hoffmans not only operated the store but also resided above it, raising their four children, including Lewis “Lewie” Hoffman, Ronnie’s dad.
Ronnie, who grew up in Midtown Mobile, often reminisced about visiting his grandparents when he was a boy, with sister Sandybeck, their parents Lewie and Freda, and extended family over the store for big Sabbath dinners. After Morris died in 1956, Lewie was in charge, and after Lewie’s passing in 1971, Ronnie, at 27, took over.
For the next fifty years the genial boss saw the business through the ups and downs of Dauphin Street as a shopping venue, additional stores in Prichard and Saraland, and computerization of the office. Inspired by the past, he kept visible the antique cash register, adding machine, and Morris’s rocking chair. The business was more than a financial enterprise. “The store,” said Michael Hoffman, Ronnie’s son, a fourth-generation employee, “was his life.”
It also provided a window on the hometown he loved, from lunches on the Causeway with his Uncle Charley, the Mobile attorney Charles Hoffman, to watching Mardi Gras parades with cousin Becky Hoffman, to summer reunions with sister Sandybeck, her sons Richard, Eric and Lewis and other family at Gulf Shores. He was a quiet, empathetic man who helped others without fanfare, said son Michael. Committed to his Judaism, he was a lifelong member of Ahavas Chesed Synagogue.
And Ronnie relished dancing. Many evenings he’d join friends at the Azalea dance club in Mobile, or drive to venues from Pensacola to Biloxi to fox-trot, swing dance, and cha-cha. A night owl, as Michael described him, Ronnie would drive round-trip to New Orleans for a dance.
Words used by family, friends, and employees to describe Ronnie included “loyal,” “a sweet soul,” “the best boss I ever had,” “great sense of humor, and a lot of fun,” and “committed to family.” The phrase most often used, though, spoke to his character, and dignity: “He was kind.”
He is survived by his son, Michael Hoffman, and daughter, Denny Elisabeth Logan, both of Mobile, sister Sandybeck Lease, of Atlanta, step-sister Lynne Davis, of Houston, nephews, cousins, and extended family.
Graveside services will be held in Ahavas Chesed Cemetery, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, 2 pm. Masks are required, and social distancing will be observed.
Donations to Mitchell Cancer Institute. Condolences may be offered at www.radneyfuneralhome-mobile.com.
- Lewis "Lewie" Hoffman, Father (deceased)
- Freda Kamil Hoffman, Mother (deceased)
- Michael Hoffman, Son
- Denny Elisabeth Logan, Daughter
- Sandybeck Lease, Sister
- Lynne Davis, Step-sister
- Survivors also includenephews, cousins, and extended family.
Thursday, January 14, 2021