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TEMPE, ARIZONA — Warren Wayne Hoffer, 78, died Nov. 6 of complications from myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myelogenous leukemia.
He was born in Madison, Wisconsin, on Aug. 17, 1936, the first child of Alfred and Malvine Hoffer.
Hoffer served in the U.S. Army, and was a soloist with The Army Chorus, “Pershing’s Own,” in Washington, D.C., from 1960-63. He performed for top-ranking military officers, for visiting prime ministers and dignitaries, and at the White House for President John F. Kennedy.
Following his military service, he returned to Wisconsin, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He then accepted a teaching position at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and taught there for nine years.
Hoffer was a frequent featured soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by composer Lukas Foss, and with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Hoffer also premiered many new vocal works as a member of the Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, which performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
He joined the music faculty of Arizona State University in 1972, and rose to full professor during his tenure. He also continued performing with orchestras and at music festivals across the country, focusing on oratorio and song recitals. After a sabbatical in England in 1981, he presented six recitals of British vocal music, and developed a website for English song. He retired in 2003 after 31 years of teaching at ASU.
Through his students, family and friends, Hoffer leaves a rich legacy of music-making. His presence was felt as far as Maine, which he loved and visited numerous times.
He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Mary Pendleton; children, Michael Hoffer, Julie Hoffer and Jonathan Hoffer and wife, Rachel; former wife, Sheila Hoffer; sister, Karen Conter and husband, Michael; brother, Thomas Hoffer and wife, Katie; grandchildren, Ilana, Talia, Alexis, Dylan and Kaylee; nieces, Beth Johnson and husband Tom, Carolyn Conter-Arias and husband, Max, and Tiffany Mitchener and husband, Kevin; and great-nephews, Malcolm, Tyler, Joshua and Daniel.
A memorial service was held Nov. 11 at the ASU Kerr Cultural Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. A further, informal celebration of Hoffer’s life and humor will be held on Jan. 10, 2015.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the ASU’s Music Therapy program. (Checks should be made payable to “ASU Foundation,” with the notation “Warren Hoffer” in the memo line, and sent to ASU School of Music, Attn: Lori Pollock, P.O. Box 870405, Tempe, AZ 85287-0405.)