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Remembering Harold Hoffman (1931-2011)

Reverence is not too strong a word to describe what I felt for Harold Hoffman.

I met Harold, his wife Rhoda, and his sister-in-law Darlene several years ago when they visited our fasting clinic looking for some help for various health challenges.

During their stay of approximately three weeks, it was they who helped me. From day one, the feeling that I had was that they were a family of givers, on the lookout for ways to encourage and support, never in an attention-drawing way, but quietly, with grace, just looking to be of service. Their compassion, generosity, and genuineness were palpable.

When Harold's and Rhoda's oldest son Mitch, then an Assistant Crown Attorney working in rural Ontario, came for a visit to see his parents and aunt, I was caught off guard but not overly surprised when Mitch knocked on my office door and quietly asked to cover his family's stay at the clinic. After, when I told Harold what Mitch had done, Harold's gaze drifted to the floor. He was unable to speak for a moment, and I knew that his soul overflowed with love and pride for his son. They knew that Mitch knew that they didn't need help with their stay - it was the gesture, the showing of love and respect for his parents and aunt that made that moment what it was.

So I knew that I would never forget the Hoffman family. And it brought me happiness and fulfillment to stay in touch with them over the years.

During Harold's funeral service, Mitch mentioned that his dad knew a million jokes, always looking to get others to chuckle. Mitch then corrected himself and said that in thinking things through, the total was probably more like one hundred thousand, as Harold liked to tell each of his jokes ten times.

For the record, I would respectfully argue that Harold knew about two hundred thousand jokes, as I don't recall hearing the same one more than five times. His delivery was always outstanding, even on the fourth and fifth rounds of the same joke.

Beyond the funny stories, whenever we e-mailed or spoke on the phone to catch up, I would hear about all three of his sons, and always his granddaughter EmmaLee. Even over the phone, he sparkled whenever he spoke about EmmaLee.

When his youngest son David came to visit me one summer from California, Harold and Rhoda made the drive in from Montreal to spend time with David. I'll never forget the experience of seeing Harold and Rhoda embrace their grown youngest child. The way they hugged and held him left no doubt about their feelings for him. Coming from an old school Korean upbringing, I had never seen a father or mother show that kind of affection for their child; it was startling, so much so that I actually remember ceasing to breathe for a few seconds, unable to divert my eyes from father and mother hugging their son.

So first and foremost, I remember Harold Hoffman as a man who lived for his family. It was abundantly clear that he loved them as much as one can love another, and he knew how to show his love.

Not the type of person who sought public recognition or a certain social status, Harold made an honest living running a bridal shop, working diligently with Rhoda (a registered nurse) to provide for their family and give their sons all of the support and guidance that they could use as they looked to find their destinies.

Beyond taking care of his family, Harold was a champion for natural living and natural health care. He was a founding member of the Canadian Health Association, as well as a longtime member of the National Health Association in the States. He was a true role model for healthy living and always had time to share what he knew with those who asked him for advice.

To see his wife of fifty-one years, three sons, granddaughter, and a group of relatives and friends mourn his passing, I was comforted in knowing that Harold must have been aware of how much he was adored and respected, especially by his family. It brought me grief to imagine the depths of their feelings of loss, but it gave me joy to see the fruits of all that he gave of himself.

My dear friend Harold: I trust that your goodness will reverberate forever. I will never forget you.

***

From The Montreal Gazette

HOFFMAN, Harold
1931 - 2011

Passed away peacefully surrounded by family and friends. Cherished husband of Rhoda, and loving father of Mitchell, Shawn and David. Beloved grandfather of EmmaLee. Funeral Services will take place in the Outremont Chapel of the Mount Royal Funeral Complex (1297 Chemin de la Foret, Outremont (514 279 6540) on Tuesday, August 23 at 11 a.m. Private Shiva will follow at the family residence from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. through Thursday, August 25 inclusive. Harold was devoted to both his family and friends, as well as social justice issues. He maintained his great and unique sense of humour to the very end. Donations in his memory may be made to the Palliative Care Unit of the Montreal General Hospital, 1650 Cedar Ave., Montreal H3A 3B4. Heartfelt thanks to a most incredible team of caregivers. (PCU)

 
 

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Comments

Sending Love to You and The Family of Harold Hoffman. Dr. Kim you are a great person. I've never met you in person but feel your heart to be of compassion and truth. When you share your life with us it is important to know that those you do not know, except through email, are sending you and those you love loving support. We are sending you love and support from the area of Las Vegas, NV. Some call it sin city, I call it home. Love and honor. Vivi

My condolences to the family of Harold Hoffman and to you, Dr. Kim. Harold must have been an outstanding man.

Your writing in memory of Harold not only expresses the regards you had for him but touches all of us; the readers who have never met Harold yet feel his beautiful presence through your commemoration.

Blessings.

Dr. Kim, I am a new comer to your website, but my heart goes out to you for the lsoe of a wonderful friend. Your compassion was very touching. My heart goes out To Harold's family. I know how great the loss of a loved one can be. I lost my baby brother 2 years ago and I still miss him today. He was a wonderful brother as I am sure Harold was a wonderful father and husband. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I think you are a kind and compassionate person and I have learned some wonderful things from yur website. I have severe RA and I battle with it everyday and I refuse to take the hard drugs they want to put me own such as Humaria, Embrel etc. I have learned a few tings from you that is helping. Thank you for all the wonderful things you do. Bless yu Dr. Kim. Janet from Milton Florida

Beautiful writing - We are sorry for your loss Dr. Kim and our hearts go out to Harold's family. May he rest in peace.

Its a great pleasure to read your article on Shri.Harold Hoffman.What a Wonderful and Love filled soul he is and all of his family.Thank you for strengthening us all by this great example personality.With Love to You and The Family of Harold Hoffman. May his soul rest in peace and Happiness. Magesh - India

Chinese philosopher Lin Yu-tang : The secret of contentment is knowing how to enjoy what you have, and to be able to lose all desire for things beyond your reach.

I think we all have a little voice inside us that will guide us ... if we shut out all the noise and clutter from our lives and listen to that voice, it will tell us the right thing to do.- Christopher Reeve

Life is not about finding the right person, but creating the right relationship, it's not how we care in the beginning, but how much we care till ending.

I am sure Harold Hoffman's soul must have transmigrated to a higher level striving to make more people happy, compassionate and passionate for the family just like him. Such people really save the world as otherwise most of the wealthiest also have some grievances with their first families and let it seep into their daily lives.The negativity they pass onto others is also dangerous.I think one doesn't have to wish to have a lovable family / son-one just has to be the lovable one. But yes- true love always must be expressed just like in this case which is especially difficult for men. Many are lost their own futures and forget to show what they actually feel.We must not forget who brought us here in the first place and continue their legacy of goodwill.

I just want to say that your tribute to him was beautiful in it's honesty and directness. It showed your great admiration for him. He sounded like a wonderful human being. That his family loved him so much, and that you held him in high esteem are testaments to his love and affection for his fellow human beings.

Thank you so much, Dr. Kim, for that touching and heartfelt essay on love, life, friendship and family--all the things that should but are not always at the top of our priorities. You gave the Hoffman family the gift of your professional expertise and genuine warmth and caring in life. And posthumously, you have given them the gift of your literary testament to a great man and a wonderful family. As one of your many readers, I feel honored to have read this story about a man who lived a good life to the fullest, who cared about others and who taught his children to do likewise. LECHAIM!

Thank you, Dr. Kim, for sharing such a beautiful memory of this lovely man. He is an inspiration to us all - and so are you. May he rest in peace. Bess

Dr. Kim,

Thank you Dr. Kim for taking the time to encourage others with your daily messages. I am moved by your expression of the loss of your friend Mr. Hoffman, and the love he and his family shared. As a result of your message, I am committed to looking for ways to help and encourage others.