Tombstone Tuesday–William G. Hoffer, Ora, Gretchen

Ora M, William G, & Gretchen Hoffer, Willshire Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2019 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of William G. Hoffer, his wife Ora M. (Morehead), and daughter Gretchen Hoffer, located in section 3, row 11, Willshire Cemetery, Willshire, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Ora M.

William G.


The Hoffers were a prominent Willshire family during the first half of the 20th century.

Among his many accomplishments and activities, William G. Hoffer was the editor and publisher of the Willshire Herald until nearly the time of his death in 1949. The Willshire Herald was the predecessor to today’s The Photo Star. Hoffer was also Willshire’s postmaster for about 22 years, having that position until about the time of his death.

I published William’s full obituary last week, as it was published in the 1949 Willshire Herald: William G. Hoffer Obituary, 1949.

His wife Ora played piano at church and gave piano lessons for many years. She died 6 January 1959. Her obituary, from The Lima News, Thursday, January 8, 1959:

VAN WERT – Mrs. Ora M. Hoffer, 87, 417 S. Washington, Van Wert, died at noon Tuesday after an illness of several years. She had suffered a broken hip three weeks ago in a fall.

A daughter of Robert E. and Sarah M. (Allen) Morehead, she was born June 24, 1871, at Romney, W. Va.

Mrs. Hoffer, a resident of Willshire for about 50 years, was the widow of William G. Hoffer, whom she married December 19, 1893.

Mr. Hoffer, who died in 1949, served for 22 years as postmaster at Willshire. He was a former editor and publisher of The Willshire Herald and assisted in founding the Van Wert Times and Wapakoneta Daily News.

Mrs. Hoffer, a piano teacher of two generations, was a member of the Willshire Methodist Church and served for years as church pianist. She was a charter member of the Pythian Sisters and was a member of Bethlehem chapter No. 25, Order of Eastern Star, Willshire.

Surviving are a daughter, Miss Gretchan Hoffer of this city, who is associated with the Starr Commonwealth; a brother, R. M. Morehead of Fresno, Calif. and a sister, Mrs. Blanche M. Hall of Lyons, Kansas. A son, George, is deceased.

Rites will be held at 2 p.m. Friday in the Cowan and Son Funeral Home, Dr. Paul D. Chiles, pastor of the First Methodist Church, and Rev. William D. Powers, pastor of the Willshire Methodist Church, to officiate. Burial will be in the Willshire Cemetery.

Friends may call at the funeral home. The family requests no flowers and friends may contribute to Starr Commonwealth.

Their daughter Gretchen Hoffer died a few years later, on 14 June 1964 in Van Wert. Her obituary:

Van Wert—Miss Gretchen Hoffer, 64, associated with Starr-Commonwealth at Albion, Mich., was pronounced dead on arrival at 3 p.m. Sunday in Van Wert County Hospital. Death was attributed to a heart condition.

Miss Hoffer, a former resident of Willshire and Wapakoneta, was stricken while attending memorial services for Gordon Langley at the local Starr-Commonwealth school for boys.

Two physicians, also attending the memorial services, attempted to revive the stricken woman through mouth to mouth resuscitation and by massaging the heart. Their efforts proved futile.

She was a daughter of William and Ora Hoffer.

Miss Hoffer was a social worker for Starr Commonwealth. She was a former manager of the Van Wert Aid to the Aged and had been associated with the Methodist Children’s Home in Worthington and the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Home in Xenia.

Services will be Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. in Cowan and Son Funeral Home. Rev. Dr. Paul D. Chiles will officiate, and burial will be in Willshire Cemetery. Friends may call at the funeral home. [1]


[1] The Lima News, Lima, Ohio, 16 Jun 1964, p.2, Gretchen Hoffer; digital image by subscription,, viewed 7 May 2019.




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