Thomas E.'s Story

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Thomas Edgar Hoffman passed away peacefully at home on Thursday, February 2, at age 90. He was born on April 14, 1926, in Ashland, Ohio, to Ruth (Semler) Hoffman and Herbert O Hoffman. He had one sister, Maxine Hoffman Scobey.
He is survived by his wife of over 60 years, Jill (Thompson) Hoffman, their daughter, Betsy (Hoffman) Hundahl, and two grandsons, William and Hansen Hundahl, all of Marblehead. Two nieces, Janet Scobey of Centerville, Ohio, and Karen (Scobey) Mastruserio of Tryon, N.C., also survive him.
Growing up at school, Mr. Hoffman played football, basketball and baseball and participated on the track and field team. He graduated from Ashland High School with honors. He won a Bausch & Lomb scholarship enabling him to enroll in the University of Rochester Engineering School.
During WWII Thomas was trained as an Army Air Corps Cadet and received an honorable discharge in 1945.
He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Rochester with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1950. He played varsity football all four years and served as Captain his senior year. Thomas learned to ski at University. He co-founded the UR Outing Club and was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity. He earned a Tau Beta Pi Scholarship for graduate school, and chose to attend MIT. While at MIT, he earned a M.S. in 1951 and the little known professional Mechanical Engineer degree in 1954 (then given only by MIT and Caltech). He was a high scorer on the MIT Rugby team and learned to sail on the Charles River. He was a member of Sigma Xi.
Thomas met his future bride while working in the Dynamics Analysis and Control Lab in 1955 and settled in Marblehead, Mass., in 1956.
In 1957, Thomas was hired by Arthur D. Little as a staff engineer and group leader of the mechanical design group, where he worked until 1986. While there, he worked on projects such as cryogenics, optics, hydraulics, electro mechanical systems, scientific instrumentation and missile and satellite projects. From 1964 to 1978, Thomas was the Chief Engineer for Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass. While there he was instrumental in the building of the Multiple Mirror Telescope outside of Tucson, Ariz. In 1977, he received a group achievement award from NASA. In 1986, Thomas established Hoffman Design and Development and worked for himself as a consulting engineer for many years.
He enjoyed skiing at Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire and sailing in the waters off the North Shore. He was a member of the Eastern Yacht Club, The Dolphin Yacht Club and a charter member of the New England Ski Museum.
A celebration of his life will be held this coming summer with close family. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the N.E. Ski Museum (http://newenglandskimuseum.org/donate/).
Arrangements by Eustis and Cornell of Marblehead. Please visit the online guestbook at www.eustisandcornellfuneralhome.com.
Published on  February 9, 2017
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