Gerald (Jerry) Erich Hofer, 54, of Beaver Dam died on Friday, February 3, 2017 at his home due to health problems. He was born May 29, 1962 in Beaver Dam, the youngest of four children and only son to SFC Gerald L. Hofer and Gertrud M. (Jaeger) Hofer.
A celebration of Jerry’s life will be held at a later date.
Jerry graduated from Beaver Dam High School in 1980 and took specialty classes complimenting his automotive degree from Moraine Park Technical College in Fond du Lac. He enjoyed working at John Deere for many years until his physical health abruptly changed. Jerry is survived by his sister Georgia Hofer-Nimtz of Beaver Dam, nieces Natasha Morton, and Nikita Norfleet from New Jersey, Niedra Norfleet from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Nicole Currie from Altanta, Georgia, their father Alton Norfleet from New Jersey, nephews Kyle Cayer, Zachery Cayer from West Virginia and Nicholas Cayer from Virginia, a step-daughter Stephanie Polchinski from Beaver Dam and brothers-in-law Michael Nimtz from Salt Lake, Utah, Ed Liebhardt from Utah, and John Bassette from Phoenix, Arizona, and extended relative and special friends in his life as well as their significant others and children.
Jerry was proceeded in death by his parents, his sisters Donna-Jean (Hofer) Liebhardt on April 4, 2014 and Carol-Ann (Hofer) Norfleet on June 27, 2014, a niece, Natalie Norfleet in July 1996, and his former spouse Lori (Fehling) Hofer on February 5, 2016.
When we lose someone, we not only lose the physical, but the creative, intellectual, emotional and spiritual aspects of that individual. Each person is made up of many unique pieces, like a beautiful mosaic. Where I may have seen Jerry as my impatient, sarcastic little brother who got irritated with me for not understanding mechanical concepts, others saw special qualities and interacted with him in their own unique way. The following are pieces of Jerry’s mosaic as told to me by those who knew him best.
He was a private person and had a unique insight and perspective on things and human nature that no one else could see. He was kind and accepting of others and had great compassion for those he loved. He was quick witted with an incredible sense of humor. He was an avid reader and was interested in local history and enjoyed talking and listening to the Great Generation having great respect for their life stories, and history. He was very creative in what he did, and ideas seemed to roll off of him like water over a waterfall. He would create amazing things with his gifted fingers. He reveled in always planning, not necessarily in completing a project, but in taking ideas and making them work, much like Johnny Cash’s song on reconstructing a car one part at a time. He had an affinity for working on classic and vintage cars, coming up with ideas and created complicated modifications that no one else had, such as transforming a 1938 Chevy Coup from stock into a roadster, modifying the body and frame, rewiring the entire car and designing the trunk to open sideways instead of up and down. He loved auto salvage yards, especially Kiel, where he would get ideas on giving life to old vintage cars and parts. He envisioned salvage yards as going to the mall to shop for treasures. He enjoyed tools, welding, and figuring out problems that would give him an opportunity to create. As a person living with disabilities it made him more sensitive to other’s needs. He was always coming up with ideas for handicapped accessibility equipment and would often fabricate his own to make it work more efficiently for him. He modified an old 1983 Suzuki motorcycle and made it handicapped accessible to suit his needs. He also enjoyed refinishing antique furniture and decorated his apartment with things he had collected and refinished. He enjoyed cooking and created interesting leftovers. As the youngest, he spent a lot of time with his German grandmother, Oma, and learned to cook German dishes. He loved gummie bears and German bakery and candy.
Jerry dealt with ongoing health problems resulting from an infection while being hospitalized for routine surgery. Despite the multiple surgeries, hospitalizations, pain and recovery he endured that led to many losses and disrupted his plans and mobility, he remained hopeful. He would rebound like the wind. He looked forward to many plans and dreams not yet realized such as cruising Old Hwy 66 in his 1938 Chevy Coup, vacationing with a friend in Arizona, restoring RVs and renting them out to vacationers, Sturgeon spearing on Lake Winnebago in Fond du Lac, going to his favorite auto selvage yard in Kiel, attending classic car shows and participating in them, going to auctions, estate sales, flea markets and swap meets in Iola and Jefferson andCedarberg to hunt for antiques and other treasures, going to Bingo at HoChunk in the Dells with a friend, especially on his birthday and New Years Eve, fishing at his favorite spots with friends and enjoying a meal together, modifying an old 1959 Ford E-100 Inglia he had recently picked up from Iowa, and eventually moving to Livingston TX and operating a Food truck and enjoying life in a warmer climate.
Despite health problems and physical disabilities he was still upbeat. He would reflect on his youth and the necessary changes he’s gone through to achieve healthy spiritual growth and lifestyle. He also remained a good friend of Bill W. and would have celebrated 23 years clean and sober in May. He contributes his initial sobriety to his cat Sam who gave him responsibility and reason to come home. He loved his companion felines Maggie and Oscar and credits them for his desire to go on.
We ask ourselves why some make it and others don’t, even after a good fight. Although we don’t have the answer, it’s those plans and dreams that represented hope, a purpose and a desire to go on, to live as good a quality of life as possible, with multiple support systems and people in our lives. Those fortunate to be in his circle of friends truly appreciated Jerry’s friendship. Thank you to those persons in his circle that have shared pieces of insight representing the beautiful mosaic of Jerry. A special thanks to the caring staff at the Beaver Dam Dialyses Clinic and those special friends that cared about Jerry. He will be with us in places we go, in the things we do and in our hearts. Your loving sister Georgia.
The Koepsell-Murray Funeral Home in Beaver Dam is caring for the family. To leave online condolences, or for directions and other information, please visit our website at www.KoepsellFH.com