Mark Hoffman, CEG Correspondent, Dies at 50 After Six-Month Battle With Cancer

Wed June 16, 2004 - Northeast Edition

Mark L. Hoffman, 50, of Lititz, PA, who had worked for Construction Equipment Guide as a correspondent, died Wednesday, June 2 at the Esse Flory Hospice Center, after a six-month battle with cancer.

Born in Troy, NY, he spent most of his formative years in suburban Philadelphia, graduating from Plymouth- Whitemarsh High School and receiving a journalism degree from Penn State University. While a student at Penn State, he was a contributor to “The People’s Almanac,” a best-selling book by David Wallechinsky and Irving Wallace. He served an internship in the Communications Department of the Office of the Governor, U.S. Virgin Islands.

While employed as a reporter for the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, he received two statewide awards for Excellence in Journalism. During his time in Wilkes-Barre, PA, he covered a wide variety of historically significant events, including the Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1981 and the 1980 Presidential election.

For many years he held public relations and communications positions at the American Trucking Association, the American Stock Exchange in New York City and at various healthcare organizations such as Bloomsburg Hospital, Scranton State General Hospital, Lutheran Welfare Service of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Hazleton, and Lutheran Social Services of South Central Pennsylvania in York.

While employed at Bloomsburg Hospital, he was instrumental in helping create and develop “The Nightingale Award,” a statewide nursing excellence recognition program.

While living in Hazleton, he was a correspondent with the Hazleton Standard-Speaker.

Relocating to Lititz in 1997, he held positions as director of book promotions for The Morehouse Group, Linglestown, PA, and as a newsletter editor for Progressive Business Publications, Malvern. For the past two years, he coordinated publicity for Gilead Enterprises, Ephrata, a faith-based healthcare consulting firm.

Returning to his career passion of freelance writing, Mark contributed to many national publications, including Good Housekeeping, Reader’s Digest, Girl’s Life, The Lutheran, Auctioneer, Guideposts for Kids, Modern Drummer, Construction Equipment Guide, Eastern Pennsylvania Business Journal, and wrote a regular column on the leading Web site titled “Livin’ Large.”

At the time of his death, he was a correspondent and feature writer for the Lifestyle Department of the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal, contributing many articles for “Business Monday” and being remembered for Lifestyle feature articles, which included the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, the Eshelman’s missionary work in Albania, the important role of school janitors, the cloistered Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary and the inspirational story of ovarian cancer survivors.

He was a member of Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church, Rothsville, PA, where he served on the Music and Worship Committee and its Worship Team.

He served as a board member of the Brookfield Estates Homeowners Association and was a volunteer for Schreiber Pediatric Rehab Center of Lancaster County special events.

Mark made a difference in the lives of so many people. He is remembered for his creative mind and wit. He brought families together, made people laugh and feel good about themselves; and, he had the unique ability to make simple moments very special. Reflections and advice on life from his cancer journal are:

• Don’t waste any of your precious time left on this planet doing things you don’t like.

• Don’t wait for the post-wake ritual to say good things about people around you … do it now!

• Pick your soulmate well. That is the key. Love your way through the disease to death … just love your way through it.

• Remember to laugh.

He enjoyed folk, country and Christian music, reading, art, dancing, antiquing, camping, nature walks, yard sales, birdwatching, coupon clipping, the Phillies and especially cherished spending time at the beach and ocean.

Preceded in death by parents Joseph and Clare Hoffman, he is survived by wife Susan Halechko Hoffman and faithful beagle Molly. Also surviving are stepmother, Janet P. Hoffman, Hershey, PA; two children from a previous marriage; brothers Michael, Norristown, PA; Andrew, Hershey, PA; sisters Susan Hoffman, Plymouth, MA; Karen Hoffman Moyer, Lansdale, PA; aunt Marion Babyak, Troy, NY; and several nieces and nephews.

A memorial service was held Saturday, June 12, at Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church, 36 Church Street, Rothsville, PA 17543.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church Music Fund; Hospice of Lancaster County, 685 Good Drive, Lancaster, PA 17604; or Schreiber Pediatric Rehab Center, 625 Community Way, Lancaster, PA 17603.