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December 8, 1933 - August 11, 2021
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Irma Marie Hofmann
was born in Yampa, Colorado on December 8th, 1933 and passed away on August 11th, 2021 in Montrose Colorado at the age of 87.
Irma was a political activist, feminist, gadfly, teacher and part-time college instructor. She was a amazing mother of seven, grandmother of 14 and a great-grandmother of five. She evolved into an activist who fought for: women rights, the ERA, women’s education, and against spousal abuse. She received a certificate from the Southern Poverty Law Center for her fight against hatred and intolerance. She was passionately involved with the Colorado Democrats and Women’s Resource Center and dedicated much of her life to such causes. She loved researching her genealogy and published a book about her family’s heritage. She had the patience and caring to adapt and be a special part of the lives of her diverse group of children and their families.
She was born in Yampa, Colorado in 1933; the youngest child of James C. Wilson and Sarah Gertrude (Gertie) Bratton. She started school at five (1st grade) in a one room schoolhouse near the junction of Piceance Creek and the White River. She rode double on a pony the 2 to 3 miles to the school every day. After the 1939 school year, her family moved for a while to Grand Valley and then at Christmas time, moved to Grand Junction. She went to Catholic school until the 6th grade and then in 1944 her father was transferred to Glenwood Springs by the D&RGRR. That is where she graduated high school, enjoyed swimming at the local hot springs and learned to ski. At 12, she started her first job at The Morning Reminder working for 6 years after school and during the summer. She ran a mimeograph, worked in the print shop and eventually wrote some of the news.
Irma went to Western State College in 1951. As a freshman she was an editor of The Curecanti and member of the gymnastics club. She took summer jobs as a legal stenographer and a children’s recreation director at the Hotel Colorado. She skied at a Rozman Hill outside of Crested Butte as part of a college class and enjoyed skiing the rest of her life. In 1954, with 3 years of college, she taught school in Burns Hole where she lived in a teacherage on the Colorado River. It was so remote one had to travel 50 miles to buy a cup of coffee. In 1955-56 she taught at Montrose Junior High. It was in Montrose where she met Bill Hofmann and they were married in 1956 and soon after purchased a ranch home for their family. For the next 20 years they were sheep ranchers and raised 7 children. Irma was always involved in the community and her children’s education, and traveled for countless athletic and academic events. In 1977 she went back to Western State earning a B.A. in English in 1978. She lived and student taught in Aspen enjoying a full ski season and bringing her back to the Roaring Fork Valley where she skied in her teens.
Irma, with her family, moved to Durango, Colorado in 1979 and she spent almost 30 years there in a community she treasured. This became her lengthiest home. She substitute taught in the Durango school system, was a part time Fort Lewis College instructor, worked in a print shop and started her own business. She was deeply involved with improving her community, was an integral part of the local Democrats and was honored numerous times for her efforts. She was deeply involved in the women’s safe house and resource center. She rarely missed the weekly lunch with “the ladies” which was a like a modern-day Junto Club.
Her final years were spent back in Montrose, Colorado as a guidepost for her family and to be close to the Reinhold Cabin on Horsefly Mesa where she could sit and enjoy both her family and her solitude. While her home was always in Western Colorado, she was well-traveled. She went to New Jersey, New Mexico, Kansas, Tennessee, California, Massachusetts, Washington D.C. and all over Colorado to take care of her children and grandchildren. She had a trip to China in 1981, which was influenced by her love of The Good Earth. She had two more solo trips in the 1990s traveling to Turkey and Egypt. She traveled with her children to almost every state in the United States, several times to Mexico and several cruises. She loved to raft down the Green and Colorado rivers and took any opportunity to visit locations that were part of her family heritage.
Irma enjoyed reading and attending Shakespeare plays and loved to read all types of books and newspapers that were an enormous part of her life. She loved being with her children and their families, writing letters to the editor, old movies, and collecting treasures. She loved animals and they were a big part of her entire life: from Snowball and Andy as a child, to Tom Cat, Salty, and Sage at the end. There were dozens of dogs and cats in-between and hundreds of bum lambs that survived because of her. She took in strays and pets from her children when in need, and a border collie always turned her head.
Her loving, dedication and astuteness helped make her family kind, thoughtful and functional to the end of her days. She made the world, especially Colorado, a better place to live. She taught her family to never stop growing and always try to become better human beings. She was an extremely beautiful person who is cherished by many and will be deeply missed.
Irma is survived by 6 of her children: Maureen (Ken) Holman, Paul (Maureen) Hofmann, Kathleen (David) Peterson, Chris Hofmann, David Hofmann, and Carol (Michael) Carroll; grandchildren, Blaine (Cody Solders) Holman, Stephanie (Matt) Holman-Wiggs, Solomon (Elizabeth Hubbs) Herrera, Claudio Keith Herrera, Sarah Herrera, James Hofmann, Maggie Hofmann, Daniel Peterson, John Peterson, Mary (Robert Fish) Peterson, Kyle (Kayla Frugé) Hofmann, Monica Carroll, and Molly Carroll; great-grandchildren, Maria Herrera, Kate Herrera, Brooke Herrera and William Herrera; and son-in-law Ralph Jones. Irma would have liked to have mentioned, her sister’s children who were an important part of her life especially after Margaret’s death: nephews, Mike, Steve, Rick, Frank, and Joe Nieslanik: nieces, Cindy Swartzendruber, Bert Nieslanik and Mary McPhee. There are also other nieces, nephews, cousins and family members that are too numerous to include.
Irma was preceded in death by her parents, Sarah Gertrude (Bratton) and James C. Wilson; sisters Margaret Nieslanik and Mary Ann Wilson; brother James R. Wilson; ex-husband William Hofmann; her loving daughter Ann Jones; granddaughter Hannah Hofmann; great-granddaughter Eliana Herrera.
Her family would like to thank everyone that has given time and support in any manner towards making their transition easier and less painful. A family memorial will be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers, please donate to The Women’s Resource Center of Durango – http://wrcdurango.org/