Joseph Hoffert
February 17, 1921 - December 20, 2012

Joseph B. Hoffert of Winona passed away Friday, December 20 at Winona Hospital at the age of 91. He was born on a farm near Carleton, Nebraska on February 17, 1921 to Henry and Katie (Horner) Hoffert. Joe graduated from high school at the age of 16 and attended Kearney State Teachers College for a year. At seventeen he was teaching in a one room school house in rural Carleton. After 2 years at the school and a year at an elementary school in Bruning, Nebraska, Joe studied for two years at McPherson College in Kansas, where he met his future wife, Lois Metsker. Upon graduation in 1943, he entered the navy and was sent to officer’s candidate school at Notre Dame University. Upon receiving his commission as a “90 Day Wonder,” he married Lois in her home near Quinter, Kansas. They moved to Boston where Joe attended radar school at Harvard. He was assigned to a Destroyer Escort in the Pacific where he served until the end of the war.
Joe and Lois moved to Bird City, Kansas in 1946 where he continued his teaching career at the high school. After three years he was appointed as the school principal, a position he held until 1958. During the summers he earned two master’s degrees, in secondary school administration from Colorado State Teachers’ College and mathematics from the University of Wyoming. In 1958 Joe and Lois and their four children moved to Des Moines, Iowa where Joe began a 28 year career as a professor of mathematics at Drake University. He was faculty advisor to the mathematics fraternity Kappu Mu Epsilon, was active in Campus Ministries in Higher Education, and gained a reputation as teacher who could make difficult concepts understandable. He authored a textbook for use in teaching the mathematics of business.
After his retirement in 1986, Joe provided tutoring for young students gifted in mathematics and volunteered as a driver for the Iowa Blood Bank. He also found time to devote to his hobby, antique car restoration. His “legacy project,” the 1957 Oldsmobile that belonged to Lois’s parents, will forever be a family keepsake.
Joe kept Christ at the center of his life and served the Church of the Brethren at the local, district, and denominational levels. He was a wonderful husband, father, teacher, and friend, a man who set high personal standards and lived by them. Yet he could gracefully acknowledge the failings in others. He had a keen mind and a humble spirit and was a fine example of the term "Servant Leader." He lived live with a sense of gratitude, especially for the love which he shared with Lois. We loved him and we'll miss him greatly.
Joe is survived by his wife of 69 years, Lois, four children, Stan (Susan) of Wausau, Wisconsin, Gordon (Ulrike) of Winona, Patty (Michael) Facius of Minneapolis, and Tim (Nina) of Golden, Colorado, five grandchildren: Wesley, Paula, Rhonda (Barton), Jess, and Joe, his brother Amos Hoffert of Anita, Iowa and sister Lois McDaniel of Geneva, Nebraska. He was preceded in death by his sister, Ruth Dowdy, and his brothers John and Booker.
A funeral service will be held Friday, December 28, at 2:00 P.M. at the Lewiston Church of the Brethren. A viewing will take place from noon until 2:00 on that day. Interment will be at the Bethel Church of the Brethren cemetery near Carleton, Nebraska and will take place at a later date. Funeral services provided by Hoff Funeral and Cremation Services of Winona. Memorial gifts will benefit the Lewiston Church of the Brethren and Camp Pine Lake, Eldora, Iowa.
Please share a memory of Joseph at his on-line Guestbook and view his Tribute Video when it becomes available at