David J Hoff, Class of 1943

David grew up on North 15th Street.  He and his brother Stephen worked as boys for his father, Harry Hoff.  Harry had come back from WWI and France with no plans for work.  While staying at the YMCA, he trained himself on patterns at Wayne Works.  He also worked at the Round house at the Pennsylvania Railroad at Richmond.  In 1924 Harry purchased interest in Lanning and Company on Fort Wayne Avenue and by 1930 was sole partner with Lanning.

In 1933 Harry began Hoff Sheet Metal Co, which became Hoff Sheet Metal Works in 1938.  It was located at 411 N 8th.

David tells of wanting a car while in high school and he and his brother purchasing the bones of one.  It had no engine, no wheels – just basically the frame.  His father agreed to the boys rebuilding the car but told them they would have to do it themselves.  A friend of Harry’s had a junk yard and the boy’s worked out an arrangement that allowed them to remove the needed parts from junked autos in exchange for a pile of like parts for the owner.

The car had to sit while David went to WWII.  In January of 1943, he received a draft notice.  He had taken the Aviation Cadet Exam and had passed.  He also finished his classes at RHS by February to report for basic Air Force Training to Miami Beach, Florida.

In April he was shipped to Charleston South Carolina an in May shipped to New York City to take further training at NYC College.  He was engaged to Delores Crosley and came back on a three-day pass on Christmas Day in 1943 to get married.  He and Delores returned to New York City and she later followed him to Pittsburgh where he was transferred to Carnegie Tech for further training.

On D Day, David, along with many other cadets were sent as ground troops to Europe.  He was transferred to the 95th Infantry.  He writes that at 19 ½ he didn’t even shave yet and to shout commands, his voice would break.  He took officer training despite his young looks and voice and left for Virginia and Fort Belvoir in October of 1944.

In January 1945, he left New York Harbor as part of a specialize unit the 799th, to go to LaHarve France where the 160 man unit arrived in February.  He found himself walking the same streets his father had seen in WWI.

He was sent from France to Manila in July of 1945.  The war was over and he became part of the Engineers Group in September.  He was idle for a time but during this time was sick with malaria, dengue fever and dysentery.

He arrived back in Indiana at Camp Aterbury in February of 1946.

Back in Richmond, David and his brother Stephen worked for his father, Harry at Hoff Sheet Metal Works, which had expanded to include air conditions and metal fabrications for heavy metal roofing.

From 1946 to 1954, the brothers worked with their dad who was often mistaken as another brother.  In ’54, Hoffco was established by Stephen and David became General Manager as father Harry retired.

The business grew to encompass several building on the North side with 390,000 sq ft of space occupied. In 1970, Hoff Sheet Metal was sold and became Wayne Sheet Metal.

David joined brother Stephen in the expanding Hoffco.  The business also expanded to other sites in the US, doing business world wide.

Brother Stephen died in the 1980’s, as did David’s wife Delores in 1984.

David remarried in 1986 to his present wife, Lillian. The business was sold in 1996 and continues today worldwide. While under the guidance of the Hoff men, it distinguished itself with 65 patents. David also was the father of two children, Susan Bell and Barry Hoff, both of Arizona.






























  380 Hub Etchison Parkway, Richmond, IN 47374

 (765) 973-3338